Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Report: China to require censorship software

Government to require all PCs sold in China to be shipped with software that blocks access to certain Web sites, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil

China's government plans to require all PCs sold in that country as of July 1 to be shipped with software that blocks certain Web sites, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The move, which is expected to give government censors heightened control over how China's citizens use the Internet, is intended to protect young people from "harmful" content such as pornography, according to the software's main developer.

The software, called "Green Dam-Youth Escort," would block access to banned Web sites by connecting to a regularly updated database of banned sites and block access to those addresses, according to the report. The requirement is aimed at "constructing a green, healthy, and harmonious Internet environment, and preventing harmful information on the Internet from influencing and poisoning young people," according to a May 19 Chinese government notice the newspaper cited.

The Chinese government has a reputation for restricting its citizens' access to the Internet.

Last week, on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, China reportedly blocked access to Web sites like Twitter, Yahoo's Flickr, YouTube, Microsoft Hotmail, Live.com, Wordpress, Blogger, and many other social-networking sites.

Internet censorship in China took center stage last year during the Beijing Olympic Games when it was revealed that the International Olympic Committee had cut a deal to let the Chinese government block international journalist' access to sensitive Web sites, despite promises of unrestricted access.