In another chapter of the story about how well Beijing is managing to manage Internet use in China, regulations issued yesterday require computers sold there to come with a program that blocks access to porn sites (no version is available for Linux or Macs so far). Though it’s targeted at porn — and, as a mother, I can imagine wanting this software myself one day — the concern is that “Green Dam” will be used for other sites also and may serve as a Trojan Horse for the authorities. At the moment, I have it on good authority that computers don’t have to come installed with this program. It can be shipped on a CD and the user can easily toss the CD into the circular file.
If Green Dam ends up being used for political sites, I have confidence that any one intrepid netizen will still be able to figure out how to circumvent it and the myriad other blocks the authorities put between him and information about Tibet, Taiwan and other “sensitive” issues, if he really wants to. The thing is, most are not so determined, and a highly complex and layered system of censorship ensures that no casual user will ever bump into such information by accident. Still, in this ongoing game of cat and mouse, I will always bet on the mice.
- Nina Hachigian
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