The Obama administration issued a rare call Monday for China to invalidate an order issued last week that requires all computers sold in the country to have Green Dam internet filtering software.
Although “their ostensible reason for this” was to “prevent minors from being exposed to pornography,” the software “has broader filtering implications,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.
“It can be used to filter out other websites, too,” he said. “We are talking about free expression.”
Officials from the State Department, the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce, based at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, met with government officials at the Chinese Ministry of Information, Technology and Industry, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce to express concerns about the new requirement.
“We are concerned about Green Dam in terms of its potential impact on trade, the free flow of information, and the serious technical issues raised by the software,” Mr. Kelly said.
“We believe there are other commercially available software programs which provide users with a wide range of choices for shielding minors from illicit or inappropriate internet contact –- content, which is the ostensible rationale for this,” he said. “We’ve also asked the Chinese to engage in a dialogue on how to address these concerns.”