Time limits on public computers are normal. Time limits on private computers? Now that's definitely not the norm.
Sina News brings us a story about new personal computing rules at Hangzhou Normal University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. Basically, the university forces students to install monitoring software that limits their daily computer time to about five hours a day on regular school days and 12 hours a day on weekends.
The school is forcing students to install this kind of monitoring software on their personal computers. The goal of the whole exercise according to the school is to "promote healthy computer habits." Kind of draconian, no?
So far this only applies the school's science and engineering students. According to the school, of the 400 new freshmen in the science and engineering major, none have come to school with personal computers.
Student reaction has been very strong. Sina reporters interviewed a few students and their responses were along the same lines: "Does the school have this right to limit our personal freedoms?"
According to Teacher He at the university, the school has the permission of the students' parents, adding that students can avoid the intrusive software by not bringing their computers to the school.
He says that students who are caught removing the software will receive a notice the first time and have the software reinstalled. If a student is caught removing the software a second time, they are asked to send their computers back home.
The software, aptly named "Tu Eagles," does a lot more than limit computer time. It acts like a computerized v-Chip, blocking software, internet access and the like. However all of the major functions require an internet connection. To access anything that's not restricted, students need to enter a 12-digit code.
The school says that the monitoring software only limits the amount of time a student spends on their computer. Students can extend their time with faculty permission. Judging from the software's website, there's no Mac version, but sadly, most Chinese games don't have a Mac client.
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