China’s authoritarian government has backed away from an order to load internet filtering software on every new computer after a major outcry by citizens used to the relative freedom of online life, reports the Associated Press. Legal challenges, petitions, and satirical cartoons had been part of a broad grassroots effort to scuttle the initiative since it was announced earlier this month. A Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official told AP on June 16 that Chinese computer users are not required to use or install the Green Dam Youth Escort software–though the software will still come pre-installed or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the mainland from July 1. Executives from the company that created the software had said earlier that it was possible to uninstall Green Dam, but it was not clear until now that the government’s new regulation would not penalize people who chose not to use it. The change marked a small victory for a burgeoning anti-censorship movement in China. Internet users in particular have expressed growing frustration with official efforts to monitor and restrict online content…

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