There’s a big hole in China’s Green Dam

Opinion: Despite Chinese protestations that its controversial Green Dam Youth Escort porn filter will still be mandated on new machines sold in the country, the whole concept is fatally flawed because there isn’t a version for non-Windows machines.

Observers from outside China pointed out that Green Dam was more about blocking access to foreign news sites and Johnny Depp than protecting innocent youth from viewing too much flesh, seemed to have been taken on board last week when the Government appeared to back down and lifted the July 1 deadline for the software to be shipped with all new machines.

But yesterday, the Chinese stated that implementation had been postponed rather than canceled and there would be another date set for complying with its demand for the blocking software to be shipped with new PCs.

And there’s the rub – PCs.

The elephant in the room that the Chinese Government appears to have overlooked is that Green Dam is only available for Windows PCs. There is no Linux or Mac version and no sign of one on the horizon.

While Sony rather cravenly folded earlier this week and announced it would ship the software, the Apple store in Beijing is selling machines without Green Dam for the simple reason that there is no Mac version available. Apple has refused to comment officially on the situation, but sources in Beijing suggest that the company would comply with the Government mandate should an OSX version become available.

Meanwhile, Lenovo says it will ship the software only with machines running Windows and that PCs running Linux will be Green Dam-free.

While Green Dam’s developer, Jinhui Computer System Engineering, said the company is investigating porting the software to non-Windows platforms, with no new date fixed for complying and only a Windows version available, it now seems almost certain that the whole Green Dam project is doomed to failure despite Chinese Government protestations to the contrary.

See also:
China’s still got Green Dam on its mind 
China admits defeat in Green Dam row
Chinese Prime Minister gets PC letter
Sony first major vendor to follow Chinese censorware ruling 
China backs down over Green Dam 
Green Dam faces legal challenge
Tiny firewall of China mandated for new PCs