in the Washington Post today outlines how some senior U.S. officials are leaning on trade issues to pressure China on its recent mandate that all computers sold in that country must come pre-installed with Web-filtering software.
Computer experts that have examined the Chinese developed Web-filtering software have found a laundry list of problems
, from security holes to questions about the breadth of the filtering process. U.S. computer makers are rightly concerned about having to pre-install a piece of virtually unknown and untested software that could damage their product on every machine sold into China.
In letters to the Chinese government, both the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke linked China's mandate to install the web filtering software, known as "Green Dam," to U.S. trade policy.
USTR Kirk is quoted in the Post piece saying the Chinese demand "poses a serious barrier to trade."
We have long held the position
that there is an important role for Congress to play in ensuring that Internet freedom be fully incorporated into U.S. human rights and foreign policy and that it is a central focus of diplomacy, trade and foreign aid. However, there is considerable "policy incoherence" between the U.S.
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