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Computers in China to Have Pre-installed Internet Filter

T [PersonRank 2]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
13 years ago2,672 views

The Chinese government said Tuesday it plans have all new computers in the country pre-installed with filter software, in a bid to protect minors from "unhealthy information" from the Internet.

All computers produced or sold in China after July 1 are to be installed with this software, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Computers produced outside China are also subject to such requirement before they can be sold in the country.

The ministry's official notice says the "Green Dam-Youth Escort" software should be pre-loaded on the computer's hard drive or an accompanying CD-ROM, and as a backup file on the recovery partition and recovery CD-ROM.

The notice also said PC makers will be required to report to the ministry how many PCs they have shipped with the software.

The software will be provided free of charge for the first year, financed by the central budget, a report on the people.com.cn said.

A separate notice from the ministry said all primary and secondary schools were required to install the Green Dam software on connected computers by the end of last month.

A spokesman for one of the companies that developed the software said Tuesday in an interview that the software can automatically recognize pornographic pictures and block them online.

Zhang Chenmin, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, said the software comes as an application installation package in newly bought PCs and the users can choose to install or uninstall it. It can also be turned off once installed.

An online poll Tuesday by Sohu.com found that over 84 percent of respondents felt the move threatened their privacy, while nearly 75 percent thought it would be ineffective in preventing youths accessing pornography.

T [PersonRank 2]

13 years ago #

There are a few things that I could add:

first, the very crude internet filter called Green (or actually a homophone for "filter" in Chinese) Dam with a gui that looks like the shareware small companies make for about $10, has cost the taxpayers 40,000,000 RMB that is about 5 million USD. this has generated fury in many forums in china. is there anyone who has a good estimate how much money a software filter would need?

secondly, it's not only that PC's are being filtered, forums and the most popular IM platform in China, QQ, are also being filtered. The message:
================================
该用户发言已被绿坝软件自动屏蔽
================================
and
================================
该用户贴图已被绿坝软件自动屏蔽
================================
which respectively mean that the message, and the photo the user sent has been filtered by Green Dam. is starting to appear in such places

thirdly, the software is crude as to put the password's (which by default is 112233) MD5 as plain text in to the C:windowssystem32kwpwf.dll file. and it can be easily changed so that the password is changed to anyone likes. a hot post circulating on the web claims that this was found by a grade school student, which could be probable, since grade school students have evaded much more mature means(such as hard disk protection software). even a salt is not implemented. i thought such kind of primitive file hiding were only used by malware.

fourthly, the software does not support firefox, and of course does not support linux

fifthly, only one choice of internet filtering is provided, and of course it is not open source. no encouragement of competition

and last, the reception of the regulations and software was primarily critical. even main newspapers(like china youth newspaper) have editorials that are skeptical on the software. the netizens have responded with a great lot of satire and most discussion based on whether the software could be loopholed.

but i guess the holes will be patched up in a matter of weeks. they aren't hard to fix... although more loopholes will come up.

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