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HP and Dell asked not to send China filter software

Solid Oak Software Inc. said it asked Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc., the world's two largest computer makers, to not ship Web-filtering software required by China, saying the code was stolen from its own product.

The company sent cease-and-desist letters to the manufacturers and asked them to respond by Wednesday, Jenna Di Pasquale, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara, California-based Solid Oak, said in an e-mail on June 16 in the U.S.

China has ordered that all computers sold in the country be shipped with “Green Dam-Youth Escort” software from July 1 as part of a program the government says is to block “vulgar Internet content,” namely pornography. The software can also be used to prevent access to Web sites of banned groups, such as the Falun Gong spiritual organization, said Isaac Mao, a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

“We have determined without a doubt that Green Dam is indeed pirated, and using 100 percent of our code,” di Pasquale said in the e-mail. Solid Oak makes CYBERsitter monitoring software.

Pamela Bonney, a spokeswoman for Palo Alto, California- based Hewlett-Packard, said by telephone Wednesday that the company received the letter from Solid Oak. David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said he didn't know if the computer maker received the letter.

Bryan Chang, chief executive officer of Jinhui Computer System Engineering Corp., which co-developed the software, could not be reached on his mobile-phone Wednesday for comment. Calls to his office were not answered.

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