绿坝启示A BREACH IN CHINA’S GREEN DAM

中国决定推迟要求在该国销售的所有新电脑上预装网络过滤软件,可以说是一种退让的表现。北京似乎低估了其大举扩张互联网管治范围的企图在国内外引发的反弹。

理想状况下,北京应当将此次事件视为一次行政过失,而非失去颜面,并借此机会反思自己的策略。当然,这一切的假设前提是,中国确有全面加入现代信息经济的诚意。

中国此前决定,到昨日为止,所有个人电脑制造商都必须预装“绿坝-花季护航”——表面上是一种针对色情内容的过滤软件。显然,这已证明从操作角度不可能做到,但愿这项要求也已成为一个过于烫手的政治山芋。

“绿坝”项目有各种各样的问题。

首先,这似乎是一款粗糙的垃圾软件。它本应只过滤色情内容,但实际上似乎也拦截了无辜的旁观者,比如卡通人物加菲猫(Garfield)。更严重的是,消费者群体和电脑行业的批评人士指出,安装这款软件无异于为黑客打开大门。再者,由于北京似乎相信,本土电脑制造商和互联网企业更容易屈从于审查机关的意志,此事散发出强烈的保护主义气息,难怪要受到美国和欧盟的反对。

让我们明确一点。中国与任何别的国家一样,都有权采取行动,抵制它觉得冒犯了自身社会与文化习俗的内容。比如,许多国家对儿童色情内容实行了防范措施。但是,如果“绿坝”真的是为了保护儿童不受明显色情内容的毒害,那么市场上早就有众多网络过滤软件,它们不仅管用,而且经过实践验证。

相反,中国最近几周屏蔽了许多网站,包括在天安门镇压事件20周年前夕屏蔽Hotmail和Twitter网站。活动人士和研究人员称,“绿坝”会过滤“法轮功”之类的字眼。这是试图在现有的“大防火墙”之外,再构建一座巨大的网上大坝。

把政府支持的过滤软件延伸到千家万户的桌面上,这个主意有点过分,是一种令人发寒的社会与政治控制工具。若发挥到极端,这将是一种逆转Web 2.0革命(用户自制内容大幅增长,使用户变为既是消费者,又是制作者)的企图。这将窒息太多的内容,远远不止政治辩论和异议。

China’s decision to postpone its requirement that all new personal computers sold in the country be loaded with web-filtering software is something of a climbdown. Beijing appears to have underestimated the backlash, at home and abroad, against its attempt to extend significantly the reach of its policing of the internet.

It should, ideally, regard this episode as an administrative glitch rather than a loss of face and take the opportunity to rethink its strategy. Assuming, that is, China has every intention of fully joining the modern information economy.

China had ordered all PC makers to install Green Dam/Youth Escort, ostensibly a filter against pornography, by yesterday. This evidently proved logistically impossible and has hopefully become too hot a political potato.

There are all manner of problems with the Green Dam project.

For a start, it appears to be a crude piece of blunderbuss software. Supposed to filter out pornography, it seems to zap innocent bystanders too, such as the cartoon character Garfield. More seriously, critics among consumers and the computer industry say it helps open the door to hackers. In addition, because Beijing appears to believe local computer producers and internet companies are more easily bent to the censors’ will, there is a strong whiff of protectionism – rightly contested by the US and the European Union.

Let us be clear. China, or any other state, has the right to take action against content it feels offends against its social and cultural mores. Many countries have safeguards against, for example, child pornography. But if the object of Green Dam were really to shield children from all explicitly sexual content, then there is a widely available range of tested web-filtering software that works.

China, by contrast, in recent weeks blocked access to many websites, including Hotmail and Twitter, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Activists and researchers say Green Dam filters references to, say, the Falun Gong movement. It is an attempt to build a vast cyber dam alongside the existing Great Firewall.

The idea of government- sponsored filters on the desktop is a step too far, a chilling tool of social and political control. Taken to its extreme, it is an attempt to roll back the Web 2.0 revolution, the growth of user-generated content that turns users into producers as well as consumers. That would stifle a great deal more than political debate and dissent.

About Ling

Open Smile
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1 Response to 绿坝启示A BREACH IN CHINA’S GREEN DAM

  1. zhuming says:

    流氓软件是反人类的,结果没好下场,历史规律

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