US Embassy joins in the Green Dam fray

US Embassy joins in the Green Dam fray

Summary: The U.S. government is stepping into the outrage over Green Dam - Youth Escort - China's government-mandated spyware PC makers install on every computer sold in the country.

TOPICS: Government, China

The U.S. government is stepping into the outrage over Green Dam - Youth Escort - China's government-mandated spyware PC makers install on every computer sold in the country.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing released a "concerned" statement:

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. ... The U.S. is concerned about actions that seek to restrict access to the Internet as well as restrictions on the internationally recognized right to freedom of expression.

OK, they're concerned. The manufacturers are 'urging reconsideration.' Maybe it's time for eveyone to stop "kowtowing," as former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz writes. He quotes James McGregor, author of a book on doing business in China, One Billion Customers,

"They should push for a commercial solution. If the government is purporting to be focused on blocking pornography, then the industry should work with the government to ensure that there is an open market for quality net-nanny products in China. If the government wants to require computer makers to install net-nanny software at the factory, then the computer makers should be free to choose which software they believe would be most effective without damaging the performance of the computers they sell.

Sounds reasonable, but this is an issue of time. The July 1 deadline is looming large. The time to have been developing these connections with the government was in the past. Industry can start such work in preparation for the next outrage. But there is something fundamentally wrong with the "information technology" industry taking part in the repression of information.

That needs to stop.

Topics: Government, China

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  • Uh?

    Did our embassy forget that China is a communist country underneath it all? As sad as it is, the Chinese government can do practically anything it wants. Good luck.
    • The west will sell the rope...

      (to paraphrase Stalin) to choke our own people. The article is urging companies based in western democratic states not to collude with repressive regimes in their acts of repression; to not accept blood money (thousands died in Tienanmen).

      Interesting how China is standing up for Iran to block all internet access and decrying western interference in internal matters. Repressive regimes have to stick together.

      • Not so sure about that.....

        You will lose out on a market that the other guy will pick up. They pull out and there will be someone to replace them so why not make the money. You think not selling products is gonna change anything? Thats naive and worthless in my view. The change will have take place with the people themselves. Until then I think we should sell our products and make money and try to pressure in political ways not product ways.

        Also there is plenty of ways to get around this software so if you want to you can. Our stance now is human rights are a gift to us and should not be supported for others if they choose or are dictated to not have any. No need to be meddling in others business. So do what they say and sell the damn product as they wish to.

  • RE: US Embassy joins in the Green Dam fray

    And this from a country where you need a license and state permission to have a child and the old custom of killing girls still prevails in many of the remote colonies. Using our culture to impress their culture is a lost cause.
  • Fait accompli in progress

    The short timeline here is no error, nor is it caprice. Two results are expected, either of which is desirable to the Chinese Communist Party.

    One is that the manufacturers will not be able to provide the requisite blocking and monitoring software that will allow the Party to extend its control of information to the desktop. These users will simply not sell in China any more, leaving the field clear for either native manufacture or the second alternative.

    That alternative is for the Chinese to work with manufacturers willing to provide Green Dam but without the requisite code needed to defeat personal encryption, shell programs and firewalls, to access personal e-mail and files, and to relay IP addresses and other details of who the user contacts or works with. This is the preferred solution, as it will enable the Chinese to find out how to penetrate the computer systems of these manufacturers -- indeed, if they are to sell to China, they must surrender all their future security progress and code to the Chinese. This will not only give the Chinese access to advanced technology, but will enable them to defeat any means to screen them out, to prevent their reading the information from any machine, anywhere.

    It's not a matter of selling rope. It's giving the keys to the kingdom to the invaders beyond the walls. If any manufacturer attempts to comply with the Chinese demand, we should treat them as collaborators and as a world security risk. The goal here is not merely domestic control. It's mastery of the Internet and control of information worldwide.

    Nose of the camel time. You keep the camel from coming in the tent by the firm application of a newspaper to that nose . . . a newspaper wrapped around a tire iron. No one should give in to this demand. Let the Chinese find a way to strangle themselves without our help.

    And recognize that the next step will be marketing machines to the West that are pre-compromised. You won't ever notice you're now an agent of the Party on your Beijing-approved computer.

    Say 'no' to techno-oppression.
  • Green DARN

    OK Hackers, how about it?

    How about producing "Green Darn" (a replacement for "Green Dam") that has the "look and feel" of Green Dam, but doesn't block anything? Or perhaps it blocks for the first few minutes, so that when the censors check to be sure it's installed, everything looks the way it should?

    Perhaps it could be spread by semi-legitimate websites when a user clicks a link, and then it replaces itself into the OS in place of Green Dam?

    How about sending the Garbage-ware assault in the other direction for a change?

    We have confidence in your creativity.
  • You better start worrying what is happening here.....

    China and is happening here. Centralized oppressive governments...coming to a town near you.....
  • RE: US Embassy joins in the Green Dam fray

    Simple solution. The manufacturers need to tell the Chinese that there is not enough time to test and install this program and that the respective laws in the manufacturer's countries may or may not preclude the installation of the Green Dam software. As a compromise, all computers destined for sale in China can be shipped to a central point set up by the Chinese Government and the Chinese can install their software if they desire. Offer them 25$ off the cost of the computer to do so. Simplistic -yes-, cooperative -yes-, letting the Chinese do their own dirty work -priceless-.
  • The Green Dam

    I lived in China a total of 8 years, and was married to a Beijinger. I'd say the option most likely to succeed is domestic resistence. The Great Firewall of China is not nearly as impervious as the Old Men in Zzhongnanhai (the compound where the top leaders live, next door to the Forbidden City) would dearly love it to be. It's onerous, to be sure, but people inside China with not all that much techie know-how manage to get around the Great Firewall -- regularly.