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Censorship Your Rights Online

China Delays "Green Dam" Internet Filter 86

SailorSpork sends in a BBC report that "China is delaying a controversial plan requiring all new computers sold in the country to be equipped with an Internet filtering software, state media says. The filter, called Green Dam Youth Escort, was to have been required from Wednesday, but the ministry of industry said computer makers needed more time." The submitter adds: "Except of course for Sony, who as reported earlier lacked the moral fiber to hold off installing the spyware, which reportedly is ridden with security holes and uses stolen code. Sony actually managed to ship ahead of the schedule."
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China Delays "Green Dam" Internet Filter

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  • Dear Xiam: (Score:5, Funny)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:02PM (#28532043) Homepage Journal
    "Green Dam",
    Total sham.
    Real security:
    Green eggs and ham.
    Burma Shave
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:04PM (#28532083)
    Well, Sony finally manages to get SOMETHING out on time. Too bad God of War 3 wasn't requested by an evil totalitarian regime to oppress its people.
    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      No, the reason for the delay is that Sony probably fucked up and they have to un-fuck it up. I'd suggest they start searching for the same rootkit they installed on people's PCs a year or so ago...

    • by aaandre ( 526056 )

      Actually, it fits pretty well under Circus in "Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt."

    • Well, Sony finally manages to get SOMETHING out on time. Too bad God of War 3 wasn't requested by an evil totalitarian regime to oppress its people.

      Please don't give Sony Marketing any ideas... "God of War 3, Kim Jong-un Special Evil Regime Edition!"

      The sad part is, I'd probably buy it.
  • where are Sony Entertainment Industry Copyright lawyers? as obviously stolen code is in the green dam software, Sony should be responsible for providing it.

    A direct violation of Copyright.

    Where are Sony's Copyright lawers this time?

    • ...Except the software was sold in China, not in the USA. And who is going to sue them for copyright infringement and what judge is going to convict them when their own laws say that they have to have it in there? Its equivalent to someone 18 years old changing their citizenship to where drinking under 21 years old is allowed and the US cops come and arrest them. It doesn't work.
      • by kubitus ( 927806 )
        but US lawyers always sue, no matter where you sell, if they think they can get a buck out of it. So Sony can be asked to pay or their business in US will have to compensate for this!

        Globalized markets: The USA can sell everywhere.

        Why can I not buy everywhere?

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:08PM (#28532155) Journal

    The filter, called Green Dam Youth Escort

    Filters are censorship. But, if implemented correctly, they're one of the most innocuous forms of censorship. I was initially lead to believe that Green Dam Youth Escort [wikipedia.org] was community driven:

    In 2008, under instructions from political leaders, the MIIT implemented a "community-oriented green open Internet filtering software project" with the support of the Central Civilisation Office and the Ministry of Finance. Its aim was to build a "green, healthy network environment, to protect the healthy growth of young people".

    Trials commenced in Zhengzhou, Nanjing, Lanzhou, and Xi'an in October 2008 after the ministry negotiated with the software suppliers and 50 web portals to make the software publicly available without charge, and more than 2,000 installations took place. Trials rolled out to 10 more cities, including Chengdu, Shenyang, Harbin, and Qingdao. The ministry claimed that by December 2008, the software had been downloaded more than 100,000 times, and 3 million times since the end of March 2009. Five leading PC vendors in mainland China, Founder, Lenovo, Tongfang, Great Wall and HEDY, also participated in trial installations.

    Ok, no biggie. We've got Spamhaus, right? That's a community censorship project against something we don't want--spam! And I love it. But Green Dam Youth Escort seems to be passing the boundaries of what a "filter" does:

    According to the Epoch Times [theepochtimes.com], hackers in China had accessed the keyword library and administrative codes, revealing only 2,700 keywords relating to pornography, and over 6,500 politically sensitive keywords which included '4 June', 'Tibet' and 'Falun Gong'. Chinese users of the software have apparently found that it injects a DLL file into Internet Explorer that prohibits the usage of FreeGate, one of the programs commonly used to bypass the Golden Shield Project.

    Alright, swapping out a dynamically linked library is transcending a "filter" ... or any label we've invented so far. I must have missed the reports on that but that's pretty shocking to me. If I had to dub this anything it'd be 1984ware.

    • by mqduck ( 232646 )

      The Epoch Time is an unofficial mouthpiece for Falun Gong and is wildly sensationalist (at best). I've seen stories claiming that the Chinese Communist Party is harvesting organs from live Falun Gong members and one that said a Chinese General was advocating nuking the US.

    • by aaandre ( 526056 )

      You got me at "hackers in China."

      I expect the next generation of encrypted distributed or even steganography-based proxy software to come from the people who really really need it.

      Creativity thrives on restriction. Exciting times!

      The Chinese government is not the only one trying to censor the internet, you know. It's the first one implementing it on a such massive scale.

      Your own government is watching and learning.

      Have a nice day.

    • The distinction between pornography and political dissent is meaningless. Both corrupt the soul.

  • Green dam won't ship until it goes through a major change. Even the Chinese government would be embarrassed to relese such an unpopular piece of software. Even more so after it was discovered that a good chunk of the code was stolen
    • by 0racle ( 667029 )

      Even more so after it was discovered that a good chunk of the code was stolen

      Ah yes, China, that bastion of intellectual property rights. Also, Sony is already shipping it. China is delaying requiring it.

    • by gclef ( 96311 )

      As I mentioned in the Sony article, I'm really curious to know just how much copyright liability Sony (or anyone else) is exposed to by distributing software that's publicly known to be violating copyright. If Sony is aware that the company they're buying it from doesn't have the rights to distribute the software, and Sony then re-distributes it knowingly, can the owners of the copyright nail Sony for infringement also?

  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:09PM (#28532177)

    I've been Sony-Free since about 2004. I purchase no products, services, or media that allows Sony to profit.

    It's a pain in the ass since Sony owns patents and rights on a huge amount of computer hardware that people take for granted these days. However, I've made a game out of it, carefully researching all my purchases beforehand to make sure they don't contain any Sony parts or licenses.

    There are lots of reasons to boycott Sony. Why not join me over this one?

    • The hardest part about doing this would be Jeopardy.

      Can I still watch it, if I promise to skip the commercials? If I boycott the advertisers? (That's a pretty easy one, no HeadOn for me, thanks.)

      Would I be allowed to try out for the show?

    • I don't think anything I own is Sony-made, and it was never really a conscious choice.

    • by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:39PM (#28532707)

      I loathe Sony as much as the next informed geek, but I just limit it to not buying anything with a Sony name.

      Think of it this way...you're causing yourself much more trouble by doing all that research than you are causing Sony by not buying their crap. You're effectively letting Sony make your life more difficult. They don't deserve that.

      • Not going to deny myself a PS3, considering games are one area Sony CAN and does, from time to time, excell at. Its marketing, humility and consumer awareness they fail at. Most of the first (and second party for the pendants) party PS3 games are simply amazing and are experiences with no real analog on the Xbox360. Thats not to say Xbox doesnt have a great lineup, just different flavors.
        Fanboy repellant: I own all 3 consoles, and have comparable libraries for both Hi-def systems. My Wii game collection is

        • by Ma8thew ( 861741 )
          It's not really a boycott if you don't buy things because you think they are shit. That's just common sense.
        • I have a PS3 for games. I needed something because there isn't much happening in the gaming world on Linux and I sure wasn't going to buy an XBox.

          At the time I thought Microsoft's dominance of PC gaming would allow it to push into mobile gaming. Then along came the XBox and it seemed pretty clear if all that worked out no non-Microsoft OS would ever see a game again. So I bought my PS3 (and love the thing).

          Thank $diety for the iPhone. EA is writing mac games now in OpenGL. Microsoft has been shown the
    • I dislike Sony too and I try to stay clear of them as much as possible. However, when you compare the price of the Amazon Kindle to the Sony eReader ... It's really a great bargain (even though it's still 2-300 dollars). Sure still pricey, but it's a relatively new technology and you should expect to pay a little more.

      My brother owns a PS3 for gaming, because his MICROSOFT XBox360 gave him the RROD and he didn't want to mess around with multiple consoles - got it replaced with a PS3 a while back and has had

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vegeta99 ( 219501 )

        That's the point of a boycott. You avoid all the company's products, even if they're the best because they did something you don't like.

        • But at the same time, there are different divisions of the company. The music side is different from the gaming side. The cellphone side is different than the movie side. If you buy a product of theirs that is actually GOOD (the ebook reader comes with SD, not just their closed memory stick and support for open ebook formats - epub), you can vote with your wallet. If they make BAD products (ie rootkit music cds) and we don't buy those, they will be forced to make a change in that area. So while it doesn't h

          • But at the same time, there are different divisions of the company.

            And it is the responsibility of the company itself to ensure that these devisions stay in line.

            If you buy a product of theirs that is actually GOOD (the ebook reader comes with SD, not just their closed memory stick and support for open ebook formats - epub), you can vote with your wallet. If they make BAD products (ie rootkit music cds) and we don't buy those, they will be forced to make a change in that area.

            Erm, not really. The R&D for those bad products come from profits on the good products. You're basically telling Sony they can still occasionally release something terrible, and the worst they have to fear is that you won't buy that, you'll instead buy something else of theirs.

            • And it is the responsibility of the company itself to ensure that these devisions stay in line.

              Sony's problems, so far as I'm concerned, stem from the decision to enter media production and distribution, rather than sticking with their core competence of consumer electronics. As you say, that wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact the divisions are NOT staying in line. The media side has way too much control over the hardware side.

          • I think you're still missing the point. That's like only punching someone in the left hand because that's the one that stole your wallet.

    • Hear hear!

      I've been Sony free since around 2000, when the DMCA convinced me (a programmer) that Sony was actively attacking my beliefs. (Code is free speech, etc.)

      Not that any of their later debacles (CD rootkits, etc) made me like them much more.

      So yeah. I second that! Screw Sony, if you don't like what they're doing, vote with your wallet.

    • Like others I just boycott anything with a Sony name. This is particularly easy when it comes to consumer electronics because Sony products almost always use proprietary memory solutions which make the total cost (as opposed to the sticker price) of the product higher.

      If a movie has anything to do with Sony then I just always buy it used even if I have to wait for a while.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the only problem is Sony actually owns the rights to boycotting Sony.

    • But only when they are being loss leadered.

    • by aaandre ( 526056 )

      It would be great if you created a web page with a list of products/services to avoid.

      Although, who am I kidding, I'll probably keep using Sony Vegas.

    • by Samah ( 729132 )
      The shutdown of Lik-Sang [lik-sang.com] was the kicker for me. It put Sony on the "diaf list" along with Ubisoft and EA. Ubisoft for discontinuing Dark Messiah support, and EA for disbanding Origin.
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )
      I've been Sony-Free since about 1985. I did own a couple of early walkmen and other devices of the time and they all failed within 2 days to 2 weeks. And what utterly pissed me off is that they always refused to repair/replace them with lame excuse like 'dropped', which was just plain bullshit. I've been doing them great dispublicity with great local success ever since.
  • and involves underage hookers.
  • Green Dam
    Some small dams are made of wood
    Wet wood can turn green
    You could call the boards in this Green Dam 'Water Boards'
    Dick Cheney loves Water Boarding
    Coincidence? I think not

    I blame Dick Cheney for this fiasco.
  • Even if they mandate that the software somehow be made "uninstallable", determined people will hack around it or hack it out completely in no time anyway.
    • Right. I've read in previous articles that the Chinese pirate huge amounts of software, much more so than in other countries. Furthermore there are plenty of free OSes out there.
  • Anyone remember the CD rootkits?
  • as China sees fit and no amount of anything will move them from that position.

    So . . . .

  • Yeah, call it a crazy theory and call me cynical for thinking that Chinese government wants even more control over the citizens, but the exploit found allowed an attacker to remotely control any system running the software. My guess the coders need more time to "fix" that issue and implement another hole for the government to take even more control.
    • The problem with that idea is that it cuts both ways. Someone could create a virus that uses those back doors to do anything the like. Normally that would be steal people's information, display pop-up ads, harass people into buying fake anti-virus software, etc. But there's nothing preventing a virus from (for example) routing all internet traffic through a proxy (bypassing both Green Dam and the great firewall), playing a video about Tiananmen square, display information about the private lives of the g

      • Sounds alot like that movie Antitrust. Using a mass backdoor to show everyone the same thing, whether its a good or bad thing for the group implementing it.
  • You want to sell computers in China and CCP tells you need to put that on, you put that on.
    • Missing the point. No one has mandated it yet. Sony is just ahead of the curve.

      Maybe it'll be mandated, maybe not.

      • Like I was saying, you wanna sell in China, and CCP has not mandated it, then you don't have to. Is what I am sayin'.
    • Or you just don't sell computers in China. But, as has been mentioned, CCP said that they didn't need to put that on yet.

  • NOT installed (Score:2, Informative)

    According to all reports that I've read Sony did not install the program, merely placed the executable on the computer to meet the governments requirements. Sounds like a smart compromise to me.

  • I bet they still pre-installed all the shitty AOL components on them though...

    I'd rather have a communist dictatorship robbing me of my privacy tbh

  • "Ridden" (Score:4, Funny)

    by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @03:01PM (#28533021) Homepage

    So I'm thinking of starting a fund to raise money and get Slashdot a dictionary. Who's in?

    • by Chirs ( 87576 )

      That one is actually a bit subtle though. In the context, it should have been "riddled with security holes" however it would have been correct to say "security hole ridden". (The latter using the alternate definition of "afflicted or affected by the thing specified".)

  • They really should call it the Van Dam filter. Because really, this is like the Dim Muk to computing.
  • not sure i'd be pushing for my kids to have an escort... besides they're harder to find with craigslist now lol

  • "Green Dam is the alleged predecessor to a larger and more invasive firewall nicknamed, 'God Damn.'"

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta