Chinese government blinks on PC censorship

Though the People's Republic will not require PC makers to install Green Dam software, we surely haven't heard the last of Internet censorship

According to a story reported in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the Chinese government has backed down on its plans to require PC manufacturers to install government-mandated censorship software -- for now. It appears that the decision was made at least in part due to pressure from PC makers and Internet activists.

The government did not set any new deadline for compliance, but left the door open. According to Wen Yunchao, an editor at the Chinese Web site Netease: "The government might eventually seek to resurrect the plan and make installation mandatory."

[ InfoWorld's Bill Snyder also shares his thoughts on Internet censorship in this week's Tech's Bottom Line blog: "Sex, censorship, and the Web" | Keep up with the latest open source news with InfoWorld's open source newsletter and topic center. ]

In an ironic twist, the software at the root of China's so-called Green Dam Youth Escort censorship project appears to have been pirated and directly violates both copyrighted code written by California software company Solid Oak, as well as the open source BSD license of OpenCV image processing library. There have also been reported security vulnerabilities and defects within the Green Dam software.