Evaluating China’s Green Dam software

The news that China will begin requiring all computers sold in the country to include Internet filtering software has sparked waves of commentary on topics ranging from legal challenges to human rights issues to concerns about security and effectiveness. Also, a post on African porn.

The software, known as Green Dam Youth Escort, ostensibly protects children from harmful information online by filtering out sites that contain prohibited keywords. It will be mandatory on every computer sold in China after July 1, 2009.

The OpenNet Initiative, where I’m working as part of my internship for Harvard’s Berkman Center, worked this week to evaluate the functionality of Green Dam. In “China’s Green Dam: The Implications of Government Control Encroaching on the Home PC,” we review the functional elements of this new software and explore the possible effects of its implementation on a national scale. We conclude that Green Dam is deeply flawed and poses critical security concerns for users.