Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2016 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Oops! Red faces for China's filtering project

3 July 2009

China has long been a hotbed of intellectual property infringement.

If it's not knock-off copies of designer goods, it's blatant copies of all manner of products that have been designed and tested at great cost by foreign manufacturers.

Of course the Chinese government has always said that it works hard to crush such piracy and IP infringements -- occasionally conducting raids and prosecuting offenders as "proof" of its hard-line.

It's no secret however, that despite the government's claims, a blind eye is generally turned to any venture that contributes to China's wealth (and thus the wealth of officials in government).

And now it would appear that we have ultimate proof of the Chinese government's complicity in the world of piracy and IP infringement.

The newswires have been full of stories about the move to fit all PCs used on the Chinese mainland with a piece of censorware called "Green Dam".

Although presented as a tool to stop chinese people from accessing unsavoury online content such as pornography and violence, it comes as no surprise that it also gives the government power to censor any sites for any reason, including political ones.

So you'd think that the government would have commissioned some of China's brightest young programmers to construct a solid piece of software that would resist all attempts at circumvention by users -- right?

Well this is where the wheels fall off the trolley on which the Chinese Government sits.

A US company, Solid Oak Software now alleges that China has pirated its filtering software and, with a few tweaks, plan to use it as the basis for the Green Dam censorware.

Solid Oak's flagship product is one called CyberSitter and they claim that not only does Green Dam use the "look and feel" of CyberSitter, but it also uses DLLs that (believe it or not) have the same names as those in the CyberSitter product.

The final part of their case against the Chinese Government is that Green Dam even makes calls to CyberSitter's servers for updates. Proof positive?

This must be extremely embarrassing for the Chinese Government and I suspect there may be a few spare organs and corneas going begging when the people responsible for this are identified and "dealt with".

But, even if/when the Chinese do create a non-infringing version of Green Dam, will it actually work?

No, of course it won't.

There are many very, very clever people amongst the ranks of the Chinese hacking community and it's only a matter of (a very short) time before any such software is rendered useless.

For the Chinese government to even attempt such a stupid move is clear indication of the fact that (like so many governments) they are still living in the past and lack a true appreciation for the power of modern computer/software systems and the ingenuity of the people who use them.

Even the dumb-arsed Australian government weren't stupid enough to try and fit filtering software to every citizen's PC -- but their attempts at filtering are equally as doomed to failure.

Does anyone remember MP Trevor Rogers and his lame plans to filter the internet in NZ?

Fortunately the government of the day was smart enough to kick that idea into touch and Trevor went on to apply his "good ideas" (NOT) to projects like this.

So, today's questions are:

Is enforced internet filtering nothing more than an indicator of a government's ignorance of the technology?

Are there better ways to control access to undesirable content?

Should there be any censorship or filtering on the Net - or ought we focus instead on fostering a community where this material is shunned rather than sought-after?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say on this...

PERMALINK to this column

Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Previous Columns

Crowdfunding, not just for startups
Traditionally, crowdfunding has been a method used by small companies or startups when they want to take a product from conception to commercial reality...

NZ goes back to the 1940s
Time to talk about a criminal welfare system...

An innocent victim of the war against drugs
Many years ago, I used to suffer badly from hay fever...

The final body-blow for SkyTV?
Now that Netflix and other streaming video services have arrived, Sky TV has become increasingly reliant on sports as its core content...

New Zealand, just like the USA?
Earlier this week I wrote about the case of a US citizen who the federal government wants to jail indefinitely because they refuse to hand over the decryption key for data stored on their laptop...

Youtube on shaky ground?
Google has announced that its new YouTube Red service is now available to Kiwis...

When a basic human right becomes a crime
You know the world has gone mad when what was once a basic, inalienable human right becomes a crime that could see offenders jailed for life...

Flash-back and Kodi
Google is taking the bold and laudable step of blocking Flash on all but ten sites to be found on the internet when viewed using its Chrome browser...

Could the IoT become Skynet?
The Internet of Things is predicted to become "a big thing" in the near future...

Forget the quality, feel the width!
I mentioned a while ago that I was considering a bit of a facelift for this website and I received some excellent feedback from readers...

And in the end...
From that great tome, the bible: (Isaiah 29:6) "You will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire"...