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Chinese Schools Ax Green Dam Censorship Software 53

Posted by timothy
from the ungrateful-whelps dept.
eldavojohn writes "China's controversial Green Dam Internet Filter died on new PCs a month ago, but it wasn't until recently that Chinese schools silently removed it. Claims that the software inhibited work in schools was cited as the reason by Reuters. 'We will remove all Green Dam software from computers in the school as it has strong conflicts with teaching software we need for normal work,' said one school, while another claimed, 'It had seriously influenced our normal work.'"
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Chinese Schools Ax Green Dam Censorship Software

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  • by Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @10:02AM (#29425791)
    We had a SonicWall filter and it blocked pretty much everything. Not saying it was SonicWall's fault as we had a highly incompetent system administrator, but it was very detrimental to doing even the simplest of tasks. So I know how these students and teachers feel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      We had a SonicWall filter and it blocked pretty much everything. Not saying it was SonicWall's fault as we had a highly incompetent system administrator, but it was very detrimental to doing even the simplest of tasks. So I know how these students and teachers feel.

      We've got a few clients who want things filtered, which means we've tried several different products to do that.

      We ran a Squid/Dan's Guardian proxy for a while... But I was the only person here who could do anything with it, which made my job harder.

      We set up gateways with built-in filters like the SonicWall, but I always felt their classifications were a little weird and arbitrary. Stuff got filtered that shouldn't have... Or got through that shouldn't have... And depending on how many users they had,

    • Youre right, its NOT SonicWall's fault, nor is it necessarily the admins fault. SonicWalls are just firewalls with filtering and VPN capabilities, they can be used for a number of tasks. It may not have been the admin's choice (and probably wasnt) to block all that stuff.
    • by wkurzius (1014229)

      I have similar issues in my classroom. I would rather they leave everything unblocked and let the teacher keep an eye on the students. If the teacher is paying attention and makes sure everyone is busy, then there shouldn't be any issue.

      Instead, I have to worry about nytimes.com or Google getting blocked, or getting accused of looking at porn when a certain string of characters appears in an encrypted site address.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Indeed. A GOOD internet filter should essentially mean that an honest user almost never notices it unless they attempt to go somewhere on accident. Our internet filter at work I've hit a blocked site maybe 3 times in 5 years of working there. That's not bad IMHO. We had an internet enabled filter on the computer at my high school too. This was 15 years ago before I actually had internet at home (or at least not consistently - I signed up for 1 month trials and canceled them again as often as I could :)

    • The school where my mother worked around ten years ago deployed a filter. One of the heuristics it used was that sites containing the letter x above a certain frequency were probably porn. This meant that any time I visited sites about UNIX, Linux, or XFree86, I got a big warning telling me off for looking at pornography on the school's network.
  • Ok, I'm curious now. Exactly what was the controversy about it? Whether it sucks or it blows? :P

    • Re:Controversial? (Score:5, Informative)

      by samcan (1349105) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @10:10AM (#29425899)

      The controversy was that the Chinese government was requiring this software (I believe developed by the Chinese government) to be installed on all new computers sold in China, including those sold by U.S. manufacturers.

      • by quatin (1589389)
        TFA says the Green Dam software was to be installed on all PUBLIC access computers in China. The United States filters public access computers already. Although there is not a national law that I am aware of, but pretty much every public library I've been to has an internet filter. Ever tried to look at porn on a public library computer?
        • by samcan (1349105)

          Here is the Austrialian news article linked to in the original Slashdot post: News article [news.com.au].

          CHINA plans to require that all personal computers sold in the country as of July 1 be shipped with software that blocks access to certain websites, a move that could give government censors unprecedented control over how Chinese users access the internet.

          While in practice that could mean essentially all Internet cafe users, in theory, it would have applied to everyone.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by quatin (1589389)
            Ok, the Australian article does state that, but if you read the article [itnews.com.au] linked through the slashdot submission we are currently discussing.

            Chinaâ(TM)s industry and information technology minister Li Yizhong said manufacturers, internet users and organisations opposed to the plans had received the wrong message from his department and that installation was never planned to be compulsory.

            He said Green Dam would be installed in public places and schools, but would be âoevoluntaryâ for ot
            • China's industry and information technology minister Li Yizhong said manufacturers, internet users and organisations opposed to the plans had received the wrong message from his department and that installation was never planned to be compulsory.

              I think they've backed down.

        • There actually is a federal law, if the library in question receives certain federal funds for Internet access or computers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children's_Internet_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org] Many states laws take this forced censorship even further.
    • Whether it sucks or it blows?

      Apparently, it sucks... and spits.

    • Ok, I'm curious now. Exactly what was the controversy about it? Whether it sucks or it blows? :P

      You only list two but I was fairly impressed with the number of dimensions of controversy this effort managed to accrue. You have (and this is by no means a complete list) accusations of copyright infringement and stealing code [slashdot.org], unencrypted transmission from every machine to the server [slashdot.org] and accusations that said vulnerabilities make way for a possible government botnet tool [slashdot.org]. And that's aside from obvious controversy of the citizen privacy violations and the Chinese government manipulating PC manufacturers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        And that's aside from obvious controversy of the citizen privacy violations and the Chinese government manipulating PC manufacturers.

        Controversy? Every government invades the privacy of the citizenry and exists to manipulate trade and other conditions. China has a long history of doing more than average in both areas.

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @10:35AM (#29426249) Journal

        Except that's not what controversy [wikipedia.org] means. Controversy means basically an unsettled and ongoing debate as to whether something is good or bad, black or white, etc, and usually neither side really has more than opinion to support their version. But anyway, the jury is still out on which of them is right.

        Exactly which of those aspects you've correctly linked to is still a controversy? Is the jury still out on whether vulnerabilities that could get your machine pwned are good or bad? Do we still have compelling arguments for both sides of the issue of whether private and sensitive user information should be encrypted when sent over the internet? Or what?

        It seems to me like nowadays "controversial" has become the euphemism for, basically, "I think it's bad, but I want to pretend to be nice and balanced, so I must find another word."

    • by blueZ3 (744446)

      Maybe it's like MegaMaid? IOW, a transformer!

  • "We will remove all Green Dam software from computers in the school as it has strong conflicts with teaching software we need for normal work," said one school while another claimed 'It had seriously influenced our normal work.'"

    Really means:

    "We (the teachers and staff) were no longer able to watch porn during recess and testing periods."

    -Oz
    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      All your porn are belong to us.

      --

      We do not repeat gossip, so listen carefully.

    • If so, they may have been lucky. In China, teachers can't watch porn in class. In Soviet Russia, porn watched teachers!
  • An increase in Chinese school teaching and administrative position availability. They are also on short supply for medical examiners.

    ----------
    Scuba Diving [youtube.com]
    • by blueZ3 (744446)

      The good news is that the Ministry of Health reports that organ banks have a surplus of "donated" organs!

  • Local authority ignores mandates from central government, pretty routine in China, I'd say (despite what you might think about a strong central government): environmental regulation, land use/ownership/compensation guideline, anti-corruption laws, earthquake compensation, labor law etc. China actually have quite a few progressive law on the book, but are usually rendered unenforceable when the very people who are in charge of enforcing them stands to profit (read: kick-back from industry) by ignoring them a

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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