According to a report in the Financial Times, Symantec's local office has announced that a program called Freegate, which allows users in China to access government-blocked Web sites, should be considered a Trojan horse.

Symantec's Norton AntiVirus product has consequently blacklisted the software, meaning that users of the antivirus software in China will not be able to download the program.

Freegate, created by Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT), is simply designed to bypass controls and there is currently no suggestion that it actually contains malicious or hidden functions that would normally be necessary to classify a program as a Trojan. However, DIT, which was founded in 2001 to provide low cost solutions for customized Internet service needs under challenging environments, states openly on its website the belief that "over-tightened security can limit legitimate Internet users. This becomes a more important issue for users in countries with strong Internet censorship."

In March 2004, in an interview in China Scope by a reporter from The Epoch Times, DIT CEO Bill Xia defined the company's goal: "Dynamic Internet is a technical system to break through China's Internet blockade…People in China cannot access any political forums or…new websites through the Internet . Dynamic Internet provides a variety of ways for China's Internet users to gain that freedom."

After a Symantec staffer in China was unable to provide the Financial Times with a reason why Norton Anti-Virus identified Freegate as a Trojan horse, criticism has been raised in some quarters that Symantec is choosing to help implement restrictions on the Internet usage in China at the behest of the government.

There are more than 68 million Internet surfers in China. The Freegate program, which is supposed to have as many as 200000 users, gives people access to banned Web sites by regularly changing proxy server IP addresses.


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