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China wants Web filters placed on all PCs, to the chagrin of U.S. PC makers

China, Web, censorshipResistance is mounting to a controversial move by the Chinese government to require Internet filtering software be installed on every computer sold in the country starting next month. A letter sent by 19 tech and business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Semiconductor Industry Association, to China's minister of Industry and Information Technology criticizes the plan and urges the Chinese government to "reconsider implementing the requirements," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Called Green Dam-Youth Escort, the software would be used to censor pornography say officials, but others fear it will also be used to block Web sites with political content, according to the New York Times.

Despite a May 19 directive issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandating Green Dam be preinstalled on the hard drive of new computers or put on the CD with installation software that usually accompanies computers, tech companies are worried about setting a dangerous precedent that will create extra costs and leave them exposed to liability resulting from the Chinese government's use of the software, the Journal reports.

In addition to being burdensome for PC makers to preinstall, the BBC reports that there are also concerns that Green Wall makes it easier for hackers to break into computers via the Web.

Further complicating the matter, Santa Barbara, Calif., security software maker Solid Oak Software has said that Green Dam is actually a pirated version of Solid Oak's CyberSitter filtering software (a claim the Chinese developers deny), according to Betanews, Inc. Solid Oak, according to the Times, has sent letters to Hewlett-Packard and Dell demanding that the companies halt distribution of any computers with the Green Dam software.

Image ©iStockphoto.com/ muratsen

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