Looks like public opinion against the Green Dam Youth Escort software, including the non-stop foreign media coverage and the numerous internet petitions, has finally convinced the government that maybe it shouldn’t make the install mandatory. And good thing too:
BusinessWeek reports that a closer look at the Green Dam software is much more than a program to block web porn. Researchers found that the program will automatically shut down programs based on keystroke combinations of banned words.
This kill switch doesn’t just affect your web browser – test results have indicated that programs like Notepad have also involuntarily closed when certain terms (which we’re not about to use in this post) are typed in. The article goes on to explain that it also keeps a log which is currently kept on your computer but could easily be made accessible to the authorities in subsequent updates.
These findings come from the OpenNet, a joint university initiative that includes notables such as Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard. Their findings not only raise questions of the particularly intrusive policy adopted by MIIT (Ministry of Industry & Information Technology) but also the effect this software will have on the stability of your operating system.
This research, along with the patent infringements, has resulted in not only a withdrawal of the plan to have Green Dam Youth Escort pre-installed in all computers destined for China has also a lawsuit. The Guardian reports:
Lawyer Li Fangping has filed a lawsuit against Green Dam. “The impact of this software will be huge. It will violate the rights of many citizens,” he said. “But people were not told anything about it until a few weeks before its launch. This seriously violated the citizen’s right to be informed.”
Image by Dan H