Sony first major vendor to follow China’s censorware rules

Chicago (IL) – As we are hearing more and more stories about flaws in “Green Dam” censorware, a software that is required to be installed on all computers sold in China beginning July 1, it is reported that Sony is already shipped PCs with the software, which is designed to filter “unhealthy” content.

The first indication of Green Dam being preinstalled comes courtesy of a Chinese blogger and a translation of Rebecca MacKinnon, an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. According to MacKinnon, Sony is very careful in informing Pc buyers about the existence of the censorware on its PCs and is very open the software’s location.

Apparently, the “Green Dam – Youth Escort” software is only installed on PCs with a 32-bit operating system and is installed to follow “government requirements.” Sony distances itself from the “authenticity, legality, or compatibility of the software’s content, function, service or any other feature” and “assumes no responsibility whatsoever for any kinds of loss or harm incurred by the user as a result of use of Green Dam,” according to MacKinnon.

The disclaimer notice also lists the location of the software on the hard drive as well as the user manual. There was no further information what the software in fact will do or not do. Meanwhile, the American, European and Japanese chambers of commerce in China, the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers as well as several technology trade groups have asked Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to reconsider the requirement of the Green Dam software because of security and privacy concerns.

Apparently, PC makers were informed in May that they would have to preinstall the software as of July 1 and have not had any opportunity to test the filtering application.