Thursday, June 18, 2009

BBC reports: that China's latest internet filter: Green Dam Youth Escort: will not be compulsory for new computers' users in China

(See What We See: News Archive; c.f. BBC World News (British; Independent; Secular) 18 / 06 (June) / 2009; 10 / 06 (June) / 2009; AsiaNews (Asian; independent; Catholic) 10 / 06 (June) / 2009)

Article by Marc Aupiais

China's Green Dam Youth Escort Internet Filtering Project use will not be Enforced by Authorities?

Green Dam Youth Escort, was officially meant to stop Chinese people from viewing violent, or pornographic websites. Fears of security weaknesses, and that the software would be used to stifle Free Speech, meant that it was soon an issue of contention, with petitions made against it. International Media: also slammed the Green Dam Youth Escort project.

The BBC (BBC World News (British; Independent; Secular) 18 / 06 (June) / 2009;) reports that those who uninstall the program, or don't use it, will not face prosecution: due to a recent court ruling, despite government promises that every computer producer in China, would soon have to install it on all new local computers by default.

Prior hint of recent ruling:

According to the BBC (BBC World News (British; Independent; Secular) 18 / 06 (June) / 2009;): a representative of China's: Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) had already noted a concession (reported by AP) previously, saying:

"The use of this software is not compulsory,"

Green Dam Youth Escort "Outdated", and ineffective

In their recent article, the BBC further noted:

"Tests carried out on Green Dam outside China also showed that it left PCs open to many different security risks.

Analysis by Scott Wolchok, Randy Yao, and J. Alex Halderman at the University of Michigan found weaknesses in the URL, text and image filtering system and vulnerabilities in the software that makes machines susceptible to being hijacked.

"Green Dam makes frequent use of unsafe and outdated programming practices that likely introduce numerous other vulnerabilities," they wrote in a paper placed online."
(BBC World News (British; Independent; Secular) 18 / 06 (June) / 2009)

The reportedly ineffective Green Dam software was thought a security threat, and ineffective by some. Its optional status will not mean that China's people finally have unobstructed access to the internet.

China still filters online content systematically.

The latest attempt at regulation, was only different in that Green Dam would be installed on citizens's local computers, raising fears that hackers could gain information from the computers monitored by the Chinese government via the program. The system itself worked much like an anti-virus, via monitoring sites scrolled by individual computers, and sending out updates, so as to further block other websites. The government's current restrictions on internet access, remain powerful tools in the arsenal of the Chinese authorities.


Related Story:
Chinese hackers compromise Dalai Lama Exile centres?   29 / 03 (March) / 2009 - Archive




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