Internet

Search Engine Software Lawsuit For China's 3721

According to a new lawsuit in Beijing, a Mr. Shi has accused Internet company 3721 of infringing upon his rights.

Mr. Shi claims that after he installed 3721's Network Real Name Software on his computer, not only was the existing Baidu software on his terminal deleted, but also he found that searches for information from other websites were being illegally monitored and shielded. Baidu is 3721's rival in the heated Chinese search engine industry.

He clams this is a violation of both his privacy and his right to voluntarily choose software. As a result, Shi brought lawsuits against 3721 at Beijing's No. 1 Secondary People's Court and asked for CNY1000 (about US$130) in compensation.

Mr. Shi said that he had downloaded Baidu's Search Partner to facilitate data searching and information browsing, however after several days, when browsing a website, he was directed to install the Network Real Name Software. After he followed the online instructions, he found that the previously-installed Search Partner software, Baidu's icon, and also the menu in the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser's address column had all been deleted. He said it was impossible to re-install Baidu's software, and he claims 3721's software illegally prevented him from doing so. In addition, Shi's lawsuit states that whenever he browsed any websites, the software was continually monitoring and screening his actions.

Shi's lawsuit maintains that 3721 seriously affected his legal access to Internet information and impinged upon his legal use of other relevant software. In addition, it is said that 3721 did not clearly state the functions and results of its software, infringing upon his right to a full disclaimer.

3721 has said that it has done its part to notify users of the potential problems as well as solutions related to the software. The company has no other comments.

In recent years, more Internet consumers are using China's emerging consumer protection laws to protect them from poor product manufacturing and delivery. Last year a consumer in Beijing successfully sued an online game company because the company caused the user's online game assets to disappear.

The 3721 case is currently underway.

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