The saga of problems and setbacks that China has faced in attempting to implement the controversial Green Dam internet censorship software just keeps on going. After postponing the software’s release indefinitely this summer, the government has attempted to find ways to censor the ‘net without provoking massive public outrage. Which is funny, because the government is sneaking around trying to do things on the internet without anyone noticing, just like us!
Besides the ominous Blue Dam software that was supposedly implemented on servers this weekend, the government has scaled back Green Dam’s scope to internet cafes and schools. But according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, even the schools won’t give in without a fight.
Beijing’s No. 50 High School posted a notice on its Web site this month saying, “In order to ensure a smooth operation of the school’s daily education and teaching tasks, we will gradually remove the ‘Green Dam’ software soon for all the computers with Internet access.”
Wang Zhenyu, the teacher in charge of Internet management, said the school installed Green Dam on more than 400 computers. He said the school soon realized that teachers could no longer access the intranet programs they need to manage students’ information and review their performances.
In Shanghai, Wang Bing, a computer teacher at Changzheng Middle School, said Green Dam had a “serious conflict” with antivirus software by McAfee Inc., which is required by the school’s district education committee. Once Green Dam was installed, the computers “died” immediately after being turned on, so the school uninstalled it on all but a few computers placed in classrooms for teachers, he said.
Although only 5% of children were against online censorship, it seems it’s the teachers who can’t stand the faulty Green Dam software. Sadly, a cute interface with bunnies and butterflies isn’t enough to convince anyone that it’s a good program, especially when it causes more problems than it’s worth. Of course, if the Chinese government forced us to install software that immediately broke our computer, we would probably want it uninstalled too. That leaves internet cafes as Green Dam’s last stand, and we can only imagine how effective that will be.