China delays Green Dam rollout indefinitely

by Mike
Posted June 30th, 2009 at 9:35 am

Count this as a small victory for computer users everywhere, especially those residing in China. Announcing via Xinhua, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that a mere 1 day before the July 1st deadline was to go into effect, they have decided to hold off on any mandatory install deadline indefinitely as to give “computer producers more time to put the order into effect”. Which…loosely translated and stripping out the PR BS means “there was so much public outrage and disapproval at home and abroad….we just scared!!!” Not everyone will benefit however as school and internet cafe computers are exempt fromt his new revelation. The Ministry also went on to say that Green Dam would be available for download to anyone who wanted to install it on their own terms, (like that’s going to happen).

**Update** As suspected, the rollout of Green Dam is not cancelled, but merely postponed. Several manufacturers are already bundling the software with new PCs. Those manufacturers include: Acer, Benq, Haier, and Sony. Other PC manufacturers such as Acer have stated that they are planning to roll out the software bundled in with new PCs at a near term future date. Manufactuers HP, Dell and Toshiba are still mum on when or how they plan to rollout Green Dam.

From the start, few comptuer manufacturers were very enthused about having to install babysitting software on their machines just to sell them in China. Even yesterday, many manufacturers were mum on how or wh at they were going to in regards to Green dam implementation. Problems at home weren’t any better. Besides those who knew about the software publicly voicing their distaste for Green Dam, many retailers and consumers didn’t even have a clue what the Green Dam software was or about the July 1st deadline.

If you don’t recall, the whole uproar is centered around the fact that the weak arguement, that is that Green Dam is solely for blocking “pornography and other unhealthy content”, is a front for the real intentions — limiting free speech and a more invasive form of internet censorship. Even worse, the software was so buggy and poorly written that hacking into the host computer and taking control is said to be ridiculously easy. Obviously, opening up users to viruses and malicious hackers is not exactly something many manufacturers want to have to deal with on the CSR side of things. Thankfully the little guy won this time.

Even though the software is no longer required, users aren’t completely out of the woods. Acer, the Taiwanese based computer maker has stated intentions of installing Green Dam on their computers. Lenovo while not publicly acknowledging requests for comment, has apparently been installing Green Dam on certain computers according to various retailers. So, if you care anything about free speech, or yourself for that matter, avoid anyone who pre-installs this crap on your machine.

Overall, the outcome is at least weighted with the consumer in mind. Still, with several manufacturers and retailers either pre-installing or including the program on CD, buyers have to beware and know what they’re getting. We don’t have to and shouldn’t stand for forced censorship. Power to the people.

Source: NYT, Image Source

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