China backs off on mandatory spyware

China's changed its mind: PCs sold in China won't have vulnerability-riddled spyware pre-installed on them:
Caving to public pressure, China on Tuesday said that use of its controversial "Green Dam Youth Escort" software is not required, though all PCs sold on the mainland will come with it pre-installed.

China's turnaround comes as public outcry over the Green Dam Web filtering software struck a nerve both inside and outside China. Last week, the Chinese government mandated that as of July 1, all PCs sold in the country must have the Green Dam software to block pornographic and violent Web sites. The public fought back, claiming the software could also block users from viewing political content and censor other content. Some opponents also contend that the software can create security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers

China Caves, Says Green Dam Software Is Optional (via /.)


  1. They backed of so slightly. The majority of new PC buyers won’t uninstall the spyware. It’s like a government sponsored botnet waiting to happen.

  2. Likely conclusion: The Chinese government will now look specifically for people who have elected to remove it, and will specifically target them for electronic surveillance, perceiving their choice to remove it as an indication of illegal or immoral activity.

    So don’t go suckin em off just yet, folks.

  3. The spyware/censorware will ship with the computers. It’ll be up to users to remove it. Many won’t know how or won’t bother. Morevoer, there’ve been reports that the uninstaller for Green Dam simply removes the UI, leaving the core services of the program intact.

    This doesn’t change much.

  4. I never thought I’d hear the words “Caved to public pressure” and “Chinese Government” in the same sentence. Cool stuff.

  5. Actually, this article is inaccurate. The Chinese government does not back down on anything. What they SAID in the China Daily was that people had “misunderstood” their initial policy, and that it would not come pre-installed, but rather, that the installation files would be made available on the PC’s hard drive. It most likely will not come pre-installed.

    The government has already realized that they’ve screwed up bad on this one. Since the software contains stolen code, PC manufacturers exporting to China from countries that actually respect IP law are considering cutting off exports, since installing and exporting stolen software is illegal in most countries.

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