The U.S. government is stepping into the outrage over Green Dam - Youth Escort - China's government-mandated spyware PC makers install on every computer sold in the country.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing released a "concerned" statement:
The U.S. Government is concerned about Green Dam both in terms of its potential impact on trade and the serious technical issues raised by use of the software. ... The U.S. is concerned about actions that seek to restrict access to the Internet as well as restrictions on the internationally recognized right to freedom of expression.
OK, they're concerned. The manufacturers are 'urging reconsideration.' Maybe it's time for eveyone to stop "kowtowing," as former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz writes. He quotes James McGregor, author of a book on doing business in China, One Billion Customers,
"They should push for a commercial solution. If the government is purporting to be focused on blocking pornography, then the industry should work with the government to ensure that there is an open market for quality net-nanny products in China. If the government wants to require computer makers to install net-nanny software at the factory, then the computer makers should be free to choose which software they believe would be most effective without damaging the performance of the computers they sell.
Sounds reasonable, but this is an issue of time. The July 1 deadline is looming large. The time to have been developing these connections with the government was in the past. Industry can start such work in preparation for the next outrage. But there is something fundamentally wrong with the "information technology" industry taking part in the repression of information.
That needs to stop.