with all computers sold in the country
BEIJING — China has issued a sweeping directive requiring all personal computers sold in the country to include sophisticated software that can filter out pornography and other “unhealthy information” from the Internet.
The software, which manufacturers must install on all new PC’s starting July 1, allows the government to update computers regularly with an ever-changing list of banned Web sites.
The rules, issued last month, ratchet up Internet restrictions already among the most stringent in the world. China regularly blocks Web sites that discuss the Dalai Lama, the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters, and the Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement. But free-speech advocates say they fear the new software could make it even more difficult for China’s 300 million Internet users to access uncensored news and information.
“This is a very bad thing,” said Charles Mok, chairman of the Internet Society, an advocacy group in Hong Kong. “It’s like downloading spyware onto your computer, but the government is the spy.”