July 1 is the deadline given by the Chinese Government to include the Green Dam Youth Escort into every computer sold in China. The Green Dam is a software developed by a Chinese company (Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co.) which is able to monitorize the user internet connection and uses several filters to block the access to specific web contents. Chinese Government said that this is a way to protect young people from pornographic content in the Internet. However, this filtering software is seeing very controversial since it is controlled by the Chinese Government and the filtering not only includes pornographic sites but also sites with political content against the Chinese regime. Furthermore, the software motitorizes user behavior and can also report it to the authorities.
Complains about the software come from several parts:
- Chinese Government have been accused of software plagiarism and license violation. The Green Dam software may include some parts obtained from CyberSitter filtering software developed by the American company Solid Oak Software . Additionally, OpenCV library seems to be used for image recognition within the Green Dam filtering software but there is no reference to the BSD license .
- Some analysis of the Green Dam have shown that the software contains very serious security vulnerabilities that may allow attackers to take control of the computers where the software is installed.
- Chinese activist groups have protested against the Internet censorship established by their government and they are encouraging his fellow citizens to refuse all access to the internet, whether for work or fun, on July 1, 2009 [3,4].
Maybe, because of all these complains, Chinese Government have decide to delay the mandatory installation of the Green Dam-Youth Escort filtering software on new computers, but for how long?