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The great firewall of China

Found this out from D. ‘Cause he likes to share knowledge and all.


Apparently it would suck to be a porn addict in China. So if you’re planning to see The Great Wall, make sure you are aware that it comes with an equally great firewall. Here’s what I know:

All computers that will be sold in China beginning with July 1st will come with a “bonus”: the Green Dam Youth Escort software (great name choice!) meant to monitor all Internet browsing activity. Allegedly the software is supposed to filter out porn websites and other “unhealthy” content on the web. What it actually does is give the government the power to ban access to websites with undesired political content such as those mentioning the Dalai Lama, the massacre of June 4th 1989 or other anti-communist movements. Crazy stuff, right? Well it gets crazier.


Pieces of this software are actually pieces of CyberSitter, developed by Solid Oak, an American software company.

“I am 99.99% certain that if not the entire program at least a good proportion of it is stolen CyberSitter code,” says Mr. Milburn [Solid Oak president]

The “in your face!” part is that the Americans can’t do anything about it – the US copyright law is not infringed if the computers are sold only in China.

Not only that, but also the software seems to be vulnerable and it’s very easy for  H4x0rs to inject malicious code and take control of the computer.

This adds to an ever increasing censorship campaign led by the Communist Party trying to “guide” the public opinion.

Last week, as the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests approached, the government blocked a host of Internet services, including Twitter, Microsoft’s live.com and Flickr, a photo-sharing site, though by Monday evening, these sites had become available again. YouTube has been inaccessible in China outside Hong Kong since March.

Can you imagine? No YouTube? I would die!


The good news is that the Escort only works on Windows. Linux and Mac users are safe and can watch porn without restrictions…


Now comes the funny part. How do you think the software filters out the naughty stuff? It evaluates the skin-tone pixels in an image. Too much skin? Avert your eyes! Know what this means? Photos of pink piglets are censored, but XXX photos of dark-skinned persons pass with flying colors.


How China sees the world


You may want to read:

The page STILL cannot be displayed… 0 seeders, 0 leechers

US developer: China’s Green Dam steals our code

China Requires Censorship Software on New PCs

Photo via Book of Joe.

Comments (4)

  • In Japan too it sucks to be a porn “addict”: they blur out the fun part
    (a friend told me…)

  • At my last conference, I did quiz a couple folks from China about the Great Firewall. To us, it’s a huge deal and a violation of our rights. To them, not so much.

    I asked them about it. They just shrugged and said that it’s true that the government is all about internet censorship—however, there are always ways around it (via proxies, for example), and “anybody who wants to get around it, does”.

  • –@Thant666: Thank goodness you mentioned that a friend told you. Otherwise who knows what I would’ve thought 😀

    –@Phil: I think this new thing is supposed to make proxy-using more difficult. It’s really not good when you KNOW your rights are violated and you get so used to it that you say “meh, whatever, I know a way around it”…

  • > It’s really not good when you KNOW your rights are violated

    Perhaps. But while I’m not a complete advocate of cultural relativism, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not -their- rights that are being violated. It’s ours. There’s a difference, akin to the situation of a spoiled brat who believes it’s his right to watch as much telly as he pleases; as that happens, the unspoiled ones in other homes aren’t sitting around, moaning about how their rights are being trampled.

    Life goes on. They find different diversions. They sneak to their friends’ houses and watch TV there.

    Cultural relativism is true to a certain extent. As outsiders, there are a lot of things we find despicable about China. And yet, asking the Chinese, they’re never as bothered as we are.


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