China drops plans to force "Green Dam Youth Escort" software

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Beijing, Aug 13 (ANI): China's Industry and Information Technology Minister Li Yizhong has said that the "Green Dam Youth Escort" software would now be "voluntary", providing users an opportunity to decide if they want to install it or not.

"When users buy computers, they will be provided the software disk. It is up to the buyers to decide use it or not," The Telegraph quoted Yizhong, as saying.

Yizhong, however, added that China would still push ahead with the installation of Green Dam in schools and public internet cafes.

"We will install it in computers located in schools and internet cafis. We entirely respect customer's benefit and freedom. We will definitely not make installation compulsory for all computers on sale," he said.

Yizhong statement comes three months after China announced that all computers sold in the country after July 1 would be required to pre-install the Green Dam software, as a measure to protect children and combat pornography on the web.

The move was suspended indefinitely in June, following overwhelming pressure from Chinese internet users who feared that the software was a back-door attempt at tightening already strict censorship of the internet.

The Chinese users were joined by Foreign computer manufacturers, 22 international chambers of commerce and the US Government had wrote official letters asking the Chinese government to reconsider its "Green Dam" order, which was said to be impractical and anti-competitive.

Yizhong further said internet users and computer manufacturers had misunderstood the initial statement by his ministry, which according to him had failed to provide a detailed explanation of the issue and given the erroneous impression that installation was compulsory.

Yizhong also said that if other, better software became available on the market, China would consider it, promising to "solve the issue through market-based channels". (ANI)

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