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Sony Censorship Government News

Sony Begins Shipping PCs With Green Dam In China 90

Posted by kdawson
from the thought-the-good-color-was-red dept.
Dotnaught writes "Sony is now shipping computers in China with Green Dam installed, in advance of the Chinese government's July 1 deadline. But the company is disclaiming responsibility for any damage caused by the Web filtering software. Documents posted by Hong Kong-based media studies professor Rebecca MacKinnon also suggest that the Chinese government is considering similar filtering requirements for mobile phones."
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Sony Begins Shipping PCs With Green Dam In China

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  • by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:12AM (#28526535)

    Or rather freaking out because they see what is happening in Iran and trying to set up a way to lock down any possible forms of dissent (even more than they already have).

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:19AM (#28526577)

      Then it would only be logical to demand that Sony be excluded from government contracts akin to Siemens and Nokia. Or are we scared to piss off the people that basically already own a good portion of the US trade market?

      • Yes, and yes.

      • Why is Sony in such a hurry?

        China has announced they are delaying their Internet filter [washingtonpost.com]. "Critics are likely to see the announcement, giving no fresh date for a launch, as a way for the government to escape quickly from the domestic and international controversy..."

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Don't you remember: Sony was the one that had a rootkit install on your computer when you play their CD's [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Copy_Protection]. They are just looking for a free lunch (So that they can look all nice and what not and sell their expensive crap). Point ~ Don't buy from soni, its expensive...

        • Let's see... huge market with a government that has a lot of say who does and who does not sell anything...

          I could see why a company would want to brownnose.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:15AM (#28526549)
    I wonder whether the US government will call for a bar on use of Sony within government.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by houstonbofh (602064)

      I wonder whether the US government will call for a bar on use of Sony within government.

      I called for that bar after the CD Rootkit... And then again after the Secure USB rootkit. Now this. I am almost afraid to see how they top it.

      • Because we know that no other company is going to bend to China's will to make a profit.

        /points to the army of companies bent over with drawers down.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797)

        I called for that bar after the CD Rootkit... And then again after the Secure USB rootkit. Now this. I am almost afraid to see how they top it.

        As a victim of XCP, I can't figure out two things:

        1. Why anyone would buy a product from a company that would deliberately include malware with their wares
        2. Why I get modded "flamebait" every time I bring up XCP?

        The "flamebait" mod doesn't annoy me, my karma is solid. It just puzzles me.

        • The "flamebait" mod doesn't annoy me, my karma is solid. It just puzzles me.

          That is the nice thing about a long history of good karma. The occasional Bizarre moderations are just amusing. :)

    • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster.manNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:13AM (#28527083)

      I'd say there's a crucial difference. In the case of Iran, the technology is an export of oppressive technologies to an oppressive regime. In China's case, Green Dam is an internal program (supposedly) developed by Chinese coders. Regardless of how oppressive the program is (very oppressive), Sony is not developing it.

      This doesn't make it alright or a good thing, but China would install this stuff on PCs either way. In the case of Iran, without foreign technology they would not have been able to filter internet transmissions.

      • by MrNaz (730548) *

        Personally I don't think it matters who developed it. It's just another item of crapware that ships on PCs. It comes off as soon as one reinstalls or changes the OS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gclef (96311)

        I'm quite curious if Sony has any liability here. The outcry has been pretty public, so it will be hard for Sony to say they were unaware of the claims of ownership by third parties. Does that make Sony's distribution of the software (presumably without permission of the people who had their code used in Green Dam) willful violation of copyright?

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:23AM (#28527227)

      At *most* Congress will hold some show hearings, make a big production out of berating the Sony CEO briefly (during which he will offer the traditional "We're just following the law" defense), let a few Senators fire off some brief criticism of Sony, then completely forget about the whole thing and go on with business as usual. Sony will be briefly embarrassed, then continue on without a single change or reform.

      Don't believe it? Just ask Jerry Yang if *HE* changed anything (or faced any real punishment) after getting this treatment [businessweek.com].

  • Rootkits (Score:5, Funny)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:19AM (#28526587)
    At least Sony have lots of experience in shipping products with rootkits in them already.
  • China (Score:2, Insightful)

    by matt328 (916281)
    Why do people still live there again? Seriously though, I wonder what the morale of people who live there is like? Do they all hate it but have nowhere else to go, or are they just culturally complacent with their rights being trampled on?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I can't claim credit for it as someone else on /. already said it, but who is to say that our western notions of freedom and democracy are right for the rest of the world?
      • Re:China (Score:4, Funny)

        by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:40AM (#28526735) Homepage

        Our notions of freedom and democracy are right for the rest of the world, because they are best for the individual people of this world.
        Whether they know it or not.

        Take North Korea for example. You probably know that the general population believe, that the outside world is a nightmare of poverty, war and starvation.
        Those who have managed to escape in desperation over the border into China, see the piles of rice sacks and fruit on the street and are like, "WTF! We've been F'ing lied to all our lives!"

        • Re:China (Score:4, Insightful)

          by m.ducharme (1082683) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:59AM (#28526905)

          While I'm inclined to agree with you, there is an inherent danger in your position. You can't "force" freedom and democracy on a people, it doesn't work well. And if they don't know that freedom and democracy are best for them, interfering in their country's internal politics amounts to forcing freedom on them. Also, though your North Korea example is probably fairly accurate, I would say that the Chinese probably have a more sophisticated view of their government and what it does (and what they're willing to tolerate). Neither country is anything like Iran, where the people are very ready to overthrow their government, so much so that it's not a matter of if, but when they'll finally do it.

          The West, and the US in particular, have difficulty seeing the distinctions between these kinds of nations, and tragedy has too often been the result of this short-sightedness. Take for example Afghanistan, where the US has overthrown the Taliban, and subsequently the Warlords have taken over and started most of the same repressive crap. Or Iraq immediately after the first Gulf war, when Iraqis, thinking they would have aid from the US, rose up against Saddam Hussein and were slaughtered by the thousands because the US stayed out of it. When it comes to achieving freedom for your people, timing is everything.

          • Agreed. Though I didn't say impose it upon people by force.

            In short I'm just saying that "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."

    • Re:China (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:25AM (#28526627)

      Actually, they really don't have anywhere to go. Ask a Chinese citizen how difficult (nearly impossible) for anyone but the uber rich to get a visa to travel to a "first world" country.

      Oh, and there is indeed a high degree of complacency about government control/meddling in their everyday lives. Mei ban fa.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Oh, and there is indeed a high degree of complacency about government control/meddling in their everyday lives. Mei ban fa.

        Sounds like the citizens of China are like the citizens in most other places. Remember only a small handful of people made much noise about the warrant-less wire-tapping, for example.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not sure about that. Chinese tourism (i.e. regular Chinese folks going abroad) is growing so rapidly they will soon eclipse the other major oubound-tourist countries, and they are already in fifth place when counting money spent on tourism abroad. I suspect the bigger trouble is finding countries that will give them visas. It's exceptionally difficult for nearly anyone to visit the US, and not just the Chinese.
    • Re:China (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:27AM (#28526637)

      Why do people still live there again?

      1) What country do you live in?
      2) would you be willing and able to take 1.3 billion refugees?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        How about we just air drop 1.3 billion guns?

        • by dangitman (862676)
          What makes you think they'd use them for liberation? And if history teaches us anything, after any revolution, you just get a new regime in charge.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      The blueprint of any society, good parts and bad, is in the minds of the people living in it.

    • by bconway (63464)

      Why do people still live there again? Seriously though, I wonder what the morale of people who live there is like? Do they all hate it but have nowhere else to go, or are they just culturally complacent with their rights being trampled on?

      We've been wondering the same thing about Americans for the past decade or so (DMCA, Patriot Act, etc). Are you planning your migration yet?

    • Overall the Chinese are more concerned with social order than personal freedom. Besides that, how many people would be willing to throw away everything they've worked for and start over again in another country just because of a bit of online censorship? A few, yes, but probably not many. If this happened in America you'd probably hear a bit of bitching and moaning, but I doubt you'd see more than 100,000 people emigrate because of it. And besides, as another poster noted, where would you go? Most countries
    • by BronsCon (927697)

      They're culturally complacent, just like we are here, in the US.

    • Why do people still live there again? Seriously though, I wonder what the morale of people who live there is like? Do they all hate it but have nowhere else to go, or are they just culturally complacent with their rights being trampled on?

      Despite the lack of free political expression, in some practical ways many Chinese people have more freedom than we have in America.

      As a mundane example....try working and saving money for several years, then try taking a year or two off to do something else. No matter how good your credit history is and how much money you have piled up in the bank, you are likely to have a hard time renting an apartment, because you're not following the pattern expected by the leasing companies. Then try getting a good p

    • by morcego (260031)

      Why do people still live there again? Seriously though, I wonder what the morale of people who live there is like? Do they all hate it but have nowhere else to go, or are they just culturally complacent with their rights being trampled on?

      You know, I ask myself the same kind of question whenever I read about the newest civil and/or privacy rights abuse by the USA government. Why do people still live in the USA ? I see three possible answers for this case (applied to either China or USA):

      1) They don't know a

    • Why do people still live there again? Seriously though, I wonder what the morale of people who live there is like? Do they all hate it but have nowhere else to go, or are they just culturally complacent with their rights being trampled on?

      I've thought about that several times for USA during the Bush years and all the abuse happening post 9/11. But then I realized: who the heck am I to tell someone else how to live their life? And I'd advise you do the same :)

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      Why do people still live there again?

      I imagine they ask the same question about us...

  • Anyone remember the rootkit fiasco?
  • That basically settles it for me - I won't buy a sony product until things like this stops.

    I had a sony-erricson phone a few years back, and now I am stuck with a Nokia 9300 (which I am [was] very happy with) and now I am going Android and no more sony, nokia and siemens...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It would make more sense for you to boycott anything make in China, rather than anything made by Sony.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That basically settles it for me - I won't buy a sony product until things like this stops.

      I had a sony-erricson phone a few years back, and now I am stuck with a Nokia 9300 (which I am [was] very happy with) and now I am going Android and no more sony, nokia and siemens...

      You'll be boycotting all PC manufacturers. They all assemble their products in Chinese factories and China is a market of over a billion people. They ALL will be selling PCs in China with this OS on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064)

      That basically settles it for me - I won't buy a sony product until things like this stops.

      What, the two other rootkits were not enough for you? And yes, the fact that they got away with them is probably the reason that this has them not at all worried.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Phew, thankfully I just bought a laptop recently and it wasn't a Sony.

      It was a Lenovo Thinkpad, they're only partially owned by the Chinease government. That makes it better, right?

    • by AVee (557523)

      That basically settles it for me - I won't buy a sony product until things like this stops.

      You seriously mean you where still buying stuff from Sony? They've bean in the bussiness and 'total control' for quite a while now...

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      That basically settles it for me - I won't buy a sony product until things like this stops. I had a sony-erricson phone a few years back, and now I am stuck with a Nokia 9300

      XCP settled it for me. I'll keep that five year old Trinitron until it burns out, but you can bet its replacement WON'T be a Sony.

  • Anonymouse Coward (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I live in China and just got a new Eeepc this morning. While I was shopping around most of the salespeople and shop owners made a point of saying that none of their computers had Green Dam installed.

    This is just another policy that some old fogey in the propaganda department or MIIT thinks is good for "the people" but it is absolutely impossible to implement. Hell, I had to shop around and eventually ended up ordering a XP version online because everyone local said they all just bought Linux versions and in

    • by netsharc (195805)

      Well I suppose only the Chinese Joe Six-Pack will fall under Big Brother's eyes, I wonder what the law says about uninstalling the program, if nothing, then uninstall away!

      If they do get serious about it, I'll bet a hacker will make the first "dud" program, it's probably only detectable through accessing a remote port, I'd make a quasi-VM, and let them spy in there!

  • Apple Computers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by n2art2 (945661) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:40AM (#28526733) Homepage
    So does that mean that Apple will no longer be able to sell computers to China? Maybe they can install Vista in dual boot, and install Green Dam in Vista, and then just never run Vista.

    This brings up a interesting situation though. Is there a version of Green Dam for every OS, or will China authorize different web filtering software on other OSes?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by houstonbofh (602064)
      Hmmm.... Can Green Dam run in Wine? :)
    • Could always use a version of Linux, even one that runs off a CD so you don't leave any traces on your computer.
    • by dark42 (1085797)

      Apple will probably just throw the CD in with the computer sale, they are not required to install it but to at least give the customer a CD. Sure, the software will be unusable in Mac OS X but that way they're compliant with the law.
      Actually I'm surprised Sony started installing it, not just diving the customer a CD.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, The Chinese government is well known for allowing people to gt by on the intent of their rules based on verbal loopholes of the law~

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:54AM (#28526857)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090630/ap_on_bi_ge/as_china_internet_4 [yahoo.com]

      14 mins ago

    BEIJING â" China's state media says the government will postpone enforcement of a new rule mandating all new computers be sold with a filtering software.

    The rule was to go into effect starting Wednesday, but the official Xinhua News Agency said in a brief report late Tuesday that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had decided to delay the plan. It did not say why or give any other details.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Sony : Please request install Green Dam on shop floor not factory floor. We lose face.
      China: Ok.
  • Rebecca MacKinnon also suggest that the Chinese government is considering similar filtering requirements for mobile phones.

    Looks like Sony's getting geared up [slashdot.org] for this too...

  • Is it required that you run it?
    Or simply a requirement that the system come with it
    pre-installed ?

  • I wonder if Sony machines will show up in other countries with green dam installed.

    Sony: "Well you see, we have this image that is just copied onto each machine..."

  • UltraSurf is a free software which enables users inside countries with heavy Internet censorship to visit any public web sites in the world safely and freely. Users in countries without internet censorship also use it to protect their internet privacy and security. With UltraSurf started, you can use web browsers (like IE, Firefox) the same as before, but all are under UltraSurf's protection now. Latest version UltraSurf 9.5 (.zip) -- include "Green Tsunami" to remove "Green Dam"
  • Sorry, but no. (Score:2, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745)

    You do not get to have your cake and eat it to.

    ". But the company is disclaiming responsibility for any damage caused by the Web filtering software. "

    For every person who is silenced, imprisoned and killed due to censorship from the content you ship, there is blood on your hands.

    This goes for Cisco, MS and , yes, our beloved Google.

    Contrary to the group thing, corporation do have more responsibility then making money. They are part of society, and as such have certian social contract and responsibilities li

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797)

      For every person who is silenced, imprisoned and killed due to censorship from the content you ship, there is blood on your hands.

      Why would a corporate mammon-worshiper care?

  • Censorship is such a fucked up concept.

  • FTA "Green Dam is supposed to prevent Internet users from encountering "unhealthy" content online, specifically pornography. But independent analysis of the software has found that it also blocks political content."

    In China people who view certain political content tend to die young, so the government is watching out for their best interests - it is a legitimate health issue!

  • into green dam, when they put debian on their disks. i say not support any manufacture that not alolow hardware to be run other os.

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

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