Previously, I blogged about China seeking to require censorship software be preinstalled on computers sold in the country. But, the software was plagued both by technical problems and bad publicity from the civil liberties restrictions. Now, China has decided to postpone the mandatory preinstallation, but some computer makers are forging ahead anyway, reports USA Today.
Beijing’s decision this week to delay the requirement that the filtering software — known as Green Dam — be pre-installed or supplied on disk with all computers sold in China averted a possible trade clash with the United States and Europe. But the move by some makers to include the software anyway could re-ignite complaints by Chinese Web users. […]
Taiwan’s Acer— the world’s No. 3 PC maker —Sony and China’s Haier said they were shipping Green Dam on disks with computers for sale in China. China’s Lenovo, the No. 4 producer, said it would offer the software pre-installed or on disk. Taiwan’s Asus said it was preparing to supply Green Dam disks with PCs. Taiwanese laptop maker BenQ said the system was on the hard drives of its computers. […]
Hewlett-Packard, the world’s top PC manufacturer, said it was working with the U.S. government to get more information and declined to comment further. No. 2 Dell said it was not including Green Dam with its PCs.
Chinese authorities said the software is needed to shield children from violent and obscene material online. But experts who examined it said Green Dam also would block material the government deemed politically unacceptable. […]
Washington and the EU have complained that the Green Dam order, imposed abruptly in May, might violate China’s free-trade pledges because manufacturers got too little notice and no time to comment. Producers had little time to test the software, made by an obscure Chinese company, and industry groups warned it might cause security problems.