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Sony Shipping PCs With Green Dam Software

June 30, 2009

ChannelWeb June 29, 2009

Sony appears to be the one of the first PC makers to start shipping
computers with the controversial preinstalled Green Dam Youth Escort
Internet filtering software mandated by China's government.

Last month, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)
issued an edict requiring all desktop and laptop makers to begin
manufacturing and shipping gear with the filtering software installed by
July 1.

A Chinese blogger posted a photo on Twitter of what appears to be a Sony
document titled "Sony Disclaimer Notice Concerning the Green Dam Youth
Escort Software" that came included with a Sony Vaio laptop discussing the
Green Dam software. Another blogger, Rebecca MacKinnon, based at the
University of Hong Kong, translated the document on her RCoversation blog.

In the document, Sony appears to disclaim any responsibility for damage the
Green Dam software may cause.

The Green Dam Youth Escort software mandate is said to be aimed at curbing
the accessibility of pornography, violence and other content to children,
the Chinese government has said. But reports indicate citizens have
expressed concern over the potential for further censorship. Since news of
the Green Dam Youth Escort requirement leaked several weeks ago, the
Internet filtering software plan has been ensnared in controversy. Critics
both inside and outside the country have said the software could also be
used to censor politically sensitive Web sites such as those dealing with
Tibet or the banned Falun Gong group.

Along with Sony, Taiwanese computer maker Acer has said it will comply with
the Green Dam software rules, which indicate that PCs must ship with the
software included, but that users have the option of whether to turn it on
or off.

Critics outside China, including the U.S. government and U.S.-based computer
manufacturers, have been getting involved in the debate. Last week, The Wall
Street Journal reported that a group of international business associations
had issued a letter to the Chinese premier asking that the Green Dam mandate
be lifted. The letter follows a complaint issued by the U.S. State
Department, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade
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