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China Ditches Compulsory Green Dam Plans 76

scrubl writes "China has ditched plans to force foreign and domestic computer manufacturers to install internet filtering technology in computers sold inside its borders. The Chinese government paid $5.85m to develop the software called Green Dam and claimed it was being installed to stop access to porn on computers and protect children. China's industry and information technology minister Li Yizhong said that 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."
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China Ditches Compulsory Green Dam Plans

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  • wow that's expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:45AM (#29053217)
    That's awfully expensive to "develop" when they stole filtering code from an internet filter company, as reported on slashdot.
  • by sydneyfong ( 410107 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @04:08PM (#29056753) Homepage Journal

    It's not a change of policy.

    They just realized that the plan is not going to work. It's not going to work because of LEGAL problems, because the "GreenDam" software was basically a pirated copy of some already available commercial filtering software with some custom modifications.

    Imagine state sponsored mass copyright infringement -- do you think they can pull it off?

    And the software was so full of bugs that some local security professionals here in Hong Kong had the thing reverse engineered and found a few vulnerabilities within a few nights of hacking (in their personal time). I attended a seminar where they presented their results, and the quality of the software was pathetic to the point of disbelief. Imagine the botnet size when the vulnerabilities get exploited....

    Any sane person would have vetoed the project, at least in its current incarnation, even if he is hell bent on censoring everything available under the sun. It's just not feasible.

    So, it is not a change of policy, just that they finally got somebody actually with brains to pull back the project.

    Regarding "misunderstanding" mentioned in sibling posts -- I assure you, although sometimes people flame the Chinese government out of genuine misunderstandings, this one is definitely not one of those instances.

    I've read the original notice by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (the ministry which started the whole thing). It's here for those who can read Chinese, or have a good translator (human or otherwise) []

    It clearly, unambiguously, states that pre-installation by manufacturers is required. I'll translate the last sentence:

    " Tor those who do not preinstall after the deadline, those who are late in reporting (their progress) to authorities, those who falsify their reports or those who do not report, the Ministry will decree that they reissue the report or rectify their actions. "

    There is no misunderstanding. And those who don't believe me, find a translator.

    The GreenDam thing didn't really scream of censorship but rather incompetence. If you go past their kneejerk reactions and look at the whole thing closely, it was handled extremely incompetently. Rushed deadlines, crappy pirated software, uncoordinated plans, last minute changes, etc.

    And now the excuse is as lame as everything involved in this fiasco. "Misunderstanding" my ass.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford