The Chinese Government’s sudden announcement that all PCs sold in China after July 1st would have to include its “Green Dam Youth Escort” software came as a surprise to many. With the rationale of protecting the impressionable minds of the kiddies – of course – the software would filter all web access in real time, blocking suspect images, blacklisted web pages, and anything with forbidden keywords. The software is frightening in the extreme – it takes all the worst aspects of voluntary home filtering software such as overblocking, underblocking, security flaws and performance degradation, and combines it with the political paranoia of the CCP. The result is government spyware that not only blocks web pages, but actually terminates the processes of running apps into which the user types banned keywords. And that’s version 1.0!
Chinese internet users seem pretty resigned to the Golden Shield, but this might be a step too far. Let’s see what happens. I am not optimistic of a backdown.
I wrote up a summary of the initiate which appeared in Crikey today (shouldn’t be behind the pay wall too long).
On a personal note, I’ve managed to settle down in Shanghai a bit (more here, so updates and media/writing work should be more regular now.