Internet Censorship in China. Could the U.S. be Next?

As of July 1, the Chinese government is making it mandatory for computer manufacturers to equip PCs with sophisticated software that will filter out banned sites from the Internet. And it comes as no surprise that free speech advocates are up in arms.

In addition to blocking social media sites (check out our recent post on the topic) the rule bans pornography and Web sites that discuss a list of sensitive topics.

In less than a month, the top two computer manufacturers in the United States, Hewlett-Packard and Dell will be directly affected because they serve the Chinese market.  This is a red flag for me. If these two conglomerates are being forced to instate censorship it China, does their participation make it easier for the U.S. to roll-out a similar mandate?  Would this mean we couldn’t surf the Web and find information about 9/11?  That's a scary thought.

I can’t imagine Dell and HP have been quick to comply to the rule because the censorship software is said to be technically flawed. The faulty software is causing computers to crash and leaves them vulnerable to hackers.  Security is a huge concern in the U.S. and I hope it takes precedence over “unhealthy information” filters on the Internet.

What do you think?  Is PC censorship a possibility for the U.S.?  If Dell and HP abide by the new rules in China, does that change your opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Contributed by Jena Coletti.  Follow her @jmcoletti