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China Delays Rule on Internet Filtering Software


The Chinese government has postponed implementation of a controversial rule requiring all new personal computers sold in the country come with Internet filtering software.

China's official Xinhua news agency released a brief report Tuesday citing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The report provided no details on the reasons for the ministry's decision, which comes one day before the rule was to go into effect.

Chinese Internet users had called for a boycott of online activities on July 1 to express their opposition to the new rule.

Critics in China say the program, called Green Dam Youth Escort, could be used to spy on Internet users. They have also voiced concerns it could expose computers to security threats and be used to block sites China feels are politically offensive.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information has said the software is needed to protect children from pornographic and violent images. China says that use of the software will be voluntary, and that owners will be able to un-install the program.

There has also been international concern over the government's plan. The United States raised its concerns with Beijing about the software's impact during a recent meeting with Chinese officials.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the software may violate World Trade Organization rules. They say it also appears to have "broad-based censorship implications" and network security issues.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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