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China says pre-installed web filter not "spyware" (06/10/09)

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government officials have denied a media report that claims the pre-installed Internet softwares to filter pornographic content was a kind of "spyware" to control users.

"The software is designed to filter pornography on the Internet and that's the only purpose of it," Liu Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office, was quoted by Wednesday's China Daily as saying.

Liu said the software was not advanced enough to act as spyware.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Tuesday the country would have all new computers produced or sold after July 1pre-installed with filter software packages, which could filter porn words and images to protect minors from "unhealthy" information.

"The nationwide move is purely to protect the youngsters from Internet pornography and violence. The software has proved to be effective in trials in schools," he said.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has invested 41.7 million yuan (6.1 million U.S. dollars) in the software.

Zhang Chenmin, general manager of the Zhengzhou based Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, which won the bid to develop the "Green Dam-Youth Escort" filtering software last year, said: "Our software is simply not capable of spying on Internet users, it is only a filter."

Zhang said he complained at the Beijing-office of the Wall Street Journal, which published the article that accused the government of using the filter to control Internet usage.

"The paper falsely claimed that our software can be used as spyware without having a clear understanding of the product," he said.

Simon Ye, an analyst from research firm Gartner, said users could choose to uninstall the software if they didn't like the software.


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