News reports Thursday quote a Malaysian government official saying that three ministries have been asked to study alternatives to Internet filtering. This follows earlier news reports that the Malaysian government had issued the equivalent of a request for proposals to build an Internet filtering system to censor Internet content like pornography.
The Malaysian proposal had drawn criticism and comparisons to China’s Internet filtering software project dubbed “Green Dam” which was put on hold hours before the requirement on computers to contain the software took effect July 1. Today, news reports quote China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, announcing that China will not require the Green Dam filtering software to be on all PCs sold in the country.
The following statement can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:
“We welcome the Malaysian government’s decision to sideline plans to implement an Internet filtering system. Such a broad attempt at censorship would have blocked the free flow of information and ideas on the Internet – a communication tool that has become an enabler of democracy and economic development.
“We are relieved that Malaysia appears to be reconsidering this plan, but we remain concerned over governmental attempts to limit freedom on the Internet in an attempt to maintain control over information.
“Internet filtering is a prior restraint on free speech and that restraint on the flow of ideas inhibits everything from democracy to economic development.
“China’s decision to block enforcement of Green Dam for PCs breaks what would have been a logjam on the free flow of information. It’s a wise move and a win for free speech, access to information and trade.”