This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
week, China delayed an order to require Internet-filtering software in all new personal
computers. News of the delay turned a planned Internet boycott into an all-day
celebration at a restaurant in Beijing.
Artist and activist Ai Weiwei
organized the event. He had proposed a twenty-four hour Internet boycott on Wednesday
-- the day the plan was supposed to go into effect. He used online tools such
as Twitter to invite people to the restaurant.
AI WEIWEI: "It's just to let
people know what our attitude is towards this kind of censorship."
Last month, the government said all new
computers sold in China would have to have Internet-blocking software
installed. It said the program, called Green Dam Youth Escort, would protect
young Internet users from pornography.
But many critics say it could also block
access to sites containing politically sensitive information or follow users on
weeks, foreign officials and industry groups expressed opposition to the order.
They objected for political, commercial and technical reasons. Trade groups appealed
to Premier Wen Jiabao. Computer makers Dell and Hewlett-Packard said they might
go to the World Trade Organization.
many of those who celebrated the delay do not believe it will be permanent.
nearly three hundred million Internet users, more than any other country. It
also has some of the strongest Internet controls in the world.
But cybersecurity involves more than
just issues of free speech.
For example, American Defense Secretary
Robert Gates ordered the Defense Department last week to establish a Cyber
Command. Officials say a Cybercom is needed to defend the military's computer
networks. One successful attack last year infected thousands of computers.
department also says it wants to unify cyber defense, so that offense, defense
and intelligence all work together.
Charles Palmer is chairman and director of research for the
Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection at Dartmouth College. He says
cyberspace defense will become increasingly necessary for countries. If someone
can bring down a nation's computers, he says, then there is no reason to attack
May, President Obama announced a new cybersecurity office for the White House. He said the nation's computer networks will now be
treated as a "strategic national asset."
BARACK OBAMA: "Indeed, in
today's world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in
suicide vests, but from a few keystrokes on the computer, a weapon of mass
He said the United States does
not do enough to protect its computer networks. Hackers even got into the computer
system of his presidential campaign last year. But he also promised that his
plan will not include monitoring privately owned networks or Internet traffic. He
said it will protect personal privacy and civil liberties of Americans.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by
Brianna Blake, with reporting from Beijing by Alison
Klayman. I'm Steve Ember.