China plans to require personal computers sold there after July 1 to include software that blocks access to pornography and other “unhealthy” websites, according to various news reports. The following statement in response can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:
“This sweeping new requirement would give a regime that already has a sophisticated censorship system even more control over the Internet. Blocking access to pornography sounds like an acceptable goal, but the problem is that it’s all too easy to use the same technology to expand the censorship to block access to political speech, competitive business information or news sites that offer information that differs from what a regime is telling its citizens.
“In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu is famous for saying, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” China is a on a march to control the information its citizens can access online. This latest maneuver should come as no surprise. The last administration did not step in as China enacted measures to censor the Internet. Now China is trying to build censorship capabilities right into the hardware. We see signs the new administration would be concerned about this issue and it is time the United States makes this a greater priority as a trade issue.”
“China has made great progress toward becoming a prominent member of the world community. But the extent to which a country restricts Internet access and freedom becomes a measure of how open a regime is.”