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Web users resist China’s latest software

Scott Tong Sep 17, 2009
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Web users resist China’s latest software

Scott Tong Sep 17, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Internet and technology companies all know China tries to control the Internet. Well this summer, one of the government’s latest attempts to filter online content met industry resistance, public complaints, and now non-compliance. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: The filtering software is called Green Dam, but it leaks. The Chinese government requires Internet cafes to install it, but we visited three that never heard of Green Dam. Chinese Schools should also use it, but many are reportedly uninstalling the program; it crashes their computers and conflicts with other programs.

And Web users mock the filter for its crude anti-porn function. It blocks images with colors that look like human skin, like photos of pigs.

Frank Yu: The first strike was basically a very blunt and nonsophisticated way of approaching the Internet.

Internet gaming executive Frank Yu. He says it’s just a matter of time before the regulatory empire strikes back.

Yu: For people to say they can fight it is wishful thinking, as long as the government controls basically the pipes and the entry points. They actually have the ability, and also the legal rights, to do what they want about their Internet.

That’s the reality for American PC and Internet companies who come to China. Yu thinks they may eventually be asked to help the government track Chinese users’ identities.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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