Starting next month all computers in China must ship with software to block certain websites, the Wall Street Journal reports. The government says the move is to block "harmful" content such as pornography from young web surfers, but it could also be used to filter politically sensitive material. The directive is forcing Western manufacturers to choose: aid censorship or lose one of the world's most lucrative markets.
The software, called Green Dam, acts similarly to a parental-control program and currently only blocks porn. But foreign companies think it could also transmit personal information, and unlike similar programs it gives little indication that sites are being blocked. Hewlett-Packard, the US company with the largest share of the Chinese market, said it was "evaluating the best way to approach this," echoing similar hedged sentiments from Dell and Lenovo.