China has shelved plans to force foreign and domestic computer manufacturers to install internet filtering technology in computers sold inside its borders.

IT News reports that the controversial Green Dam project, that cost the Chinese government $5.85 million to develop, has been ditched after it missed its deadline of 1st July when all new computers in China should have had Green Dam installed.

The Chinese government claimed it was being installed to stop access to porn on computers and protect children. China's industry and information technology minister Li Yizhong said manufacturers, internet users and organisations opposed to the plans had received the wrong message from his department and that installation was never planned to be compulsory.

Yizhong said that Green Dam would be installed in public places and schools, but would be ‘voluntary' for other users who can choose whether to install a software disk that they will receive when buying a new computer.

Tom Kelchner, research centre manager at Sunbelt Software, said: “Most observers assumed that Green Dam was to prevent Chinese internet users from seeing content critical of the government. The Chinese government already operates a ‘Great Firewall' to filter internet content (including politically sensitive sites) but it can be bypassed.

“Politics aside, there are serious problems with Green Dam: it has the capacity to monitor keystrokes; it logs the URLs of sites the user has attempted to reach; it uses unencrypted data transfer from clients to company servers.”