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China wants parental control of all PCs

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The Chinese government is ordering all computer makers to include a version of parental control software with every machine sold within China.

From 1 July all PC makers must either pre-load porn-restricting software onto machines or include a CD.

The software goes by the slightly-pornographic name of "Green Dam-Youth Escort" and is provided by Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, helped by the Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy Co, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The paper said the main target of the software was pornographic content. PCs loaded with the software will check a list of banned sites from a list maintained by Jinhui. Of course this means that the government could add more political, rather than just porny, sites.

The Chinese government already runs higher-level censorship - the Great Firewall of China which blocks content it considers unsuitable. But this is avoidable by technical users.

Apart from the censorship issue, the update process would also create a tempting target for hackers. If a good proportion of China's PCs are all linking to one site for updates, then a malware creator could almost instantly create a vast botnet of compromised machines. ®

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