Item: Green Dam Youth Escort - the Chinese net nanny software that must be installed on PCs sold in China starting Wednesday - is largely stolen from a 2006 version of Solid Oak's CyberSitter software. For proof, see this post.
Item: Rebecca MacKinnon posts two documents that purport to show that specifications for "Internet Parental Control Software Based on PC" were drafted in 2006 by a group including Jinhui System Engineering Co., the developers of Green Dam.
Is it a fair inference that Jinhui built the software in 2006? I think yes. But the question remains, why the order to install it now?
Sony isn't waiting until Wednesday to start installing Green Dam. McKinnon also posts a photo of a Sony shipping doc that provides a firm disclaimer of the software. Note the C: drive info locating a user manual in the
China Green Internet folder. McKinnon says this doc tells users "Sony assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any kinds of loss or harm incurred by the user as a result of use of Green Dam. Sole responsibility lies with the software's maker."
The Washington Post has a piece from the digital marketplace in Beijing, where vendors seemed undissuaded by the order.
"What's Green Dam?," said Wu Baobao, a woman in her 20s who was selling Dell laptops in the raucous Hailong electronics mall. "When you buy a computer after July 1 it will come with the software," she added after asking a colleague in a neighbouring stall. "But don't worry ... we can take it out easily." Yang Fuying, a gangly salesman in the Beijing Silicon Valley Computer City, said business was too tough to spare much thought about the government's Green Dam plans. "Mid-year is always a low season, and the financial crisis has made things worse," said Yang. "We'll have to tell customers about the software, but I don't think it will have much impact. You can either tear it out or dump the disc. So what?"