Online Filtering Software Redux In China
China’s Ministry of Education says that the networks of all China’s schools shall be subject to monitoring and education departments at each level shall conduct regular checkups on these networks and guide the schools in installing green online filtering software to remove bad information.
Meanwhile, the ministry has also issued a circular requiring all of its affiliates to strengthen the moral education of students regarding the use of the Internet and effectively resist a possible negative impact of the Internet on primary and secondary students. The ministry believes that the wide use of such new media as the Internet and mobile phones has brought about a negative influence on teenagers as well as opening up new entertainment channels for them.
The ministry requires its affiliates to train students to use the Internet lawfully; to say no to abusive, obscene, sexual, and offensive words; and to learn to protect themselves in the Internet environment.
The ministry proposes that students shall be encouraged to report any bad websites or illegal information providers in the course of their Internet or mobile phone use. The ministry has also not made it clear if the Green Dam Youth Escort software is to be used by schools.
Last year, the Chinese government sent notices to major PC makers, asking them to pre-install the Green Dam Youth Escort software, which aims to prevent young people from harmful information and pornographic websites, in their PCs sold in China after July 1, 2009. However this move was later delayed.
Then two weeks ago, U.S.-based Cybersitter LLC filed a USD2.2 billion civil action in federal court in Los Angeles against the People’s Republic of China, two Chinese software makers, and seven major computer manufacturers for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy in connection with their distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort, the software promoted in 2009 by Chinese government agencies to help block access to pornographic and illegal websites. The computer manufacturers named in the conspiracy reportedly include Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier.
Cybersitter’s complaint alleges that the Chinese makers of Green Dam illegally copied over 3,000 lines of code from its own Internet content filtering software, Cybersitter, and conspired with the Chinese government and computer manufacturers to distribute over 56 million copies of the infringing software throughout China and to Chinese speakers globally.