China Steamrolls Ahead with Filter Plan

BEIJING — While it appeared China might back off its mandate for all computers sold in the country as of July 1 to include filtering software, that doesn't seem to be the case.

All PCs shipped to China by manufacturers — including major U.S. firms such as Dell or Hewlett-Packard — must come preinstalled or bundled with the government-sanctioned Green Dam Youth Escort software. American companies have said they likely cannot meet the deadline.

On Monday, whistleblower site Wikileaks published code to exploit the Green Dam software, which means it can be circumvented or altered. Nonetheless, the Chinese government plan marches on, despite previous comments that filter installation may be optional.

According to Ars Technica, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology stated that the software will still be released and distributed, with the July 1 date is still in place.

As previously reported by, Green Dam burrows deep into an operating system, can hamper other programs and creates security holes.

The U.S. has filed an official protest over the software and the mandate.

"The U.S. government is concerned about Green Dam, both in terms of its potential impact on trade and the serious technical issues raised by use of the software," a U.S. embassy spokesperson said Monday in a press briefing.

Chinese officials told People's Daily that representatives from the U.S. Embassy, the Technology Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce held a meeting on Friday, but details have not been revealed.

"We believe there are other commercially available software programs which provide users with a wide range of choices for shielding minors from illicit or inappropriate Internet content, which is the ostensible rationale for this," the embassy spokesperson said. "We’ve also asked the Chinese to engage in a dialogue on how to address these concerns."

California Net nanny software maker Solid Oak has cried copyright infringement, accusing Green Dam Chinese developers Jinhui Computer System Engineering and Dazheng Human Language Technology of lifting code from its product designed to protect children with parental supervision.

Jinhui has denied the charge. Also, Solid Oak wants all PC makers to stop selling machines with the Green Dam software.

As Wikileaks notes, the downloadable file on its site "provides a Web page and associated computer code that can be used to remotely take control of any computer system running the Green Dam software. The only requirement is that the user is enticed to look at a site hosting a copy of the exploit page."