BEIJING -- China plans to require that all personal computers sold in the country as of July 1 be shipped with software that blocks access to certain Web sites, a move that could give government censors unprecedented control over how Chinese users access the Internet.
The government, which has told global PC makers of the requirement but has yet to announce it to the public, says the effort is aimed at protecting young people from "harmful" content. The primary target is pornography, says the main developer of the software, a company that has ties to China's security ministry and military.
So here's the question: will the Federal government and/or American businesses decide to go right ahead and take the profits available from censorship or not?
As a libertarian, I know it's their free choice, and I expect the argument that somebody in France or Germany or Korea will sell neutered computers if we don't.
I also know that expecting any sense of protecting individual liberty in large organizations--government or corporate--is a lost cause: after all, we pretty much all have televisions with the V-chip, now don't we?
Or (and this would be a lot more fun, now that I think about it), we could sell them the damn computers and then saturate the internet with freeware that is capable of eliminating their software filtering system....