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A: Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China

"Green Dam Youth Escort"

Screenshot of Green Dam Youth Escort

Screenshot of Green Dam Youth Escort

On May 19, 2009 the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China issued a directive that, as of July 1, 2009, Green Dam Youth Escort (simplified Chinese: 绿坝-花季护航) must be pre-installed on, or shipped on a compact disc with, all personal computers sold in the mainland of the People's Republic of China, including those imported from abroad.

Using the Golden Shield Project, sometimes called the "Great Firewall of China," China regularly restricted access to certain Internet sites and information that the government deemed sensitive.

"Critics fear this new software could be used by the government to enhance internet censorship. The Computer and Communications Industry Association said the development was 'very unfortunate'. Ed Black, CCIA president criticised the move as 'clearly an escalation of attempts to limit access and the freedom of the internet, [...with] economic and trade as well as cultural and social ramifications.' Black said the Chinese were attempting to 'not only control their own citizens' access to the internet but to force everybody into being complicit and participate in a level of censorship'.

"On 8 June, Microsoft said that appropriate parental control tools was 'an important societal consideration'. However, 'we agree with others in industry and around the world that important issues such as freedom of expression, privacy, system reliability and security need to be properly addressed.'

"A spokesman for the Foreign ministry said the software would filter out pornography or violence. "The Chinese government pushes forward the healthy development of the internet. But it lawfully manages the internet," he added.

"On 11 June, a BBC News article reported that potential faults in the software could lead to a large-scale disaster: The report included comments by Isaac Mao, who said that there were 'a series of software flaws', including the unencrypted communications between the software and the company's servers, which could allow hackers access to people's private data or place malicious script on machines on the network to "affect [a] large scale disaster' " (Wikipedia article on Green Dam Youth Escort, accessed 06-11-2009).

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