...so reads one of the many sarcastic netizen comments translated by ChinaSmack. It's like being mandated to use only one brand, made by one company, and word from people who've used them is that they're very low quality....
(Note that the official government edict mandating Green Dam, along with background information about the product, has now been translated in full by Human Rights in China.)
People aren't limiting their scorn for Green Dam to words alone. This is the opening menu for "Green Dam - Youth Escort":
Here is a spoof uploaded by somebody to a forum on Mop.com, also courtesy of ChinaSmack:
Domestic Chinese critiques abound in the domestic media as well on the blogs, chatrooms, and Twitter networks. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC have some good roundups of what the Chinese editorials, blog posts, and chatroom postings have to say about Green Dam. Even the state-run Xinhua news agency covered a range of critiques. A group of Chinese techies have been testing the software and are posting their findings (with translation) here. The Open Net Initiative is also conducting tests and will release a report at some point in the coming days. Critiques of Green Dam cover several categories of issues:
Free speech issues: Many people are arguing that the government has no right to act as "The Big Parent" to all Chinese - and that it should be left to the individual user to decide what software comes with his or her computer, and left to individual families, schools and teachers to decide how best to protect and safely educate their children. This argument is made forcefully by Yang Hengjun, Isaac Mao, and Qin Xudong in Caijing, among others.
Testers report that some programs will shut down when the word "Falun Gong" is typed, and that the circumvention tool Freegate is blocked. This flies in the face of claims by government officials and by Jinhui that it is anti-porn only. Also we know that the blacklist of blocked URL's and terms can be updated by Jinhui remotely at any time, and that there is no transparency to the process. Given that all other levels of filtering in China include political terms, nobody believes that Green Dam will deviate from the norm and be apolitical.
Ham-fistedness: As user feedback shows, the software itself isn't even very good at accomplishing it's goal. It censors things that aren't obscene (like pictures of pigs) and fails to censor porn involving black-skinned people. Plus it is reported not to work with Firefox, at least with some settings some of the time.
Intellectual property issues: A U.S. software developer who has examined Green Dam in detail, but who asked not to be quoted by name because he isn't authorized by his employer to talk to the media, writes:
From what I have seen, the product is a bit of frankenware, that is bits and pieces from different projects out there. I would guess that many of the ‘contributors’ to this project have not been asked. So that there are numerous licensing violations in the product. If I were Dell or another PC manufacture, I would stay the hell away from associating my name with this software. They would be opening themselves up to a lawsuit. Some notable references I found: PrettyWall – GUI Skinning software; OpenCV – Neural network software (BSD license) not having the source code or an acknowledgement is a violation.
Security issues: As discussed in this BBC report and in other posts by Chinese testers, the software has serious security issues and makes computers in China even more vulnerable to hackers than they already are. By making this product available to users even in an accompanying disk, PC makers could knowingly be putting their customers in harm's way.
Privacy issues: Data about the user's activities are sent back to Jinhui. It is not clear what Jinhui will do with this data and what right they have to it. Plus testers say it is transmitted in an insecure manner making the user vulnerable to criminals as well as to the police.
Public expenditure issues: The government paid 40 million RMB for the rights to this software for a year. Many believe their tax money would have been better spent in any number of other ways - like helping China's poor, or fixing the medical system.
Anti-monopoly and fair competition issues: Netizens have raised two possible laws that may have been broken by the government's Green Dam edict: the anti-monopoly law and the law against unfair competition.
Some people are so incensed they're calling for a boycott of computer makers and shops that actually comply with the order to pre-install the software. It would certainly seem that there will be a lot of consumer love for any companies that push back against the edict, stall on implementation, and - if really left with no choice - implement it to the minimum extent possible with maximum support and information for users about how to uninstall the software, what its known flaws and problems are, what it does and doesn't do, what ways it might make them vulnerable and how to protect against those vulnerabilities, etc.