Although the Chinese government has delayed plans to require the shipment of the highly-controversial Green Dam filtering program with all new PCs — there are some denials that it has even been delayed — several big-name PC manufacturers are shipping the thing anyway.
Acer, Sony and China’s Haier Group are including Green Dam on disks with new PC shipments to China, while Lenovo is offering the censorware either pre-installed or on a disk. Taiwan’s BenQ has Green Dam loaded on the hard drives of its computers.
Other PC giants — including HP, Dell and Toshiba — are still undecided on whether they will include Green Dam with new PCs.
It is interesting that all of these manufacturers are offering Green Dam as an optional extra and not inescapably loaded on the hard disk. There have been several statements by the government that this is what was intended. But, in the United States, the various campaigns against Green Dam never once mentioned this. Instead, it was presented as a compulsory censorship installation on the hard disk that could not easily be removed. The anime figure shown here was the sort of mascot of the anti-Green Dam movement.
In shipping the software, Acer, Sony and Lenovo have defied cease and desist letters from US software maker Solid Oak, which claims that Green Dam includes code pirated from its Cybersitter net-filtering tool.
The Register quoted a report from OpenNet Initiative, which read: "The version of the Green Dam software that we tested, when operating under its default settings, is far more intrusive than any other content control software we have reviewed.
Not only does it block access to a wide range of web sites based on keywords and image processing, including porn, gaming, gay content, religious sites and political themes, it actively monitors individual computer behavior, such that a wide range of programs including word processing and email can be suddenly terminated if content algorithm detects inappropriate speech."
That is, if it is installed. But that is not compulsory. Tests show that it seems to block 6,000 naughty picture sites. Which is about one thousandth of those available on the internet. Green Dam still requires a lot of work. Perhaps it will just die a natural death.
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