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June 08, 2009

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Don Clarke

Dear Rebecca,

Granted that the document is a little ambiguous, I think just putting the software on an accompanying CD-ROM should be OK under its terms. Para. 2 can be read as a definition of what "pre-install" in Para. 1 means. Although Para. 1 says the software must be pre-installed, Para. 2 says it can be "pre-installed" (you've translated this as "included", but the Chinese term is the same as the one used in Para. 1) on the hard drive OR on a CD-ROM. Thus, "pre-install" has to be understood as something you can do using only a CD-ROM. This seems like an odd reading of "pre-install", but if that's how they choose to define it for the purposes of this document, they can certainly do so.

Best wishes,

Don Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Old Tales Retold

People who have focused on technical fixes to the software miss the point, I think---namely that it is not meant to completely prevent anyone from accessing anything bad (impossible) but merely to throw up one more roadblock, one that may pack a particular punch for users of internet cafes, who presumably can't uninstall software at will. It will also provide useful data to the government on internet habits.

That said, if industry is pissed off enough by the thing, it might be dropped, as you note in your follow-up post.

terry curran

So the first thing any chinese person buying a computer does is - reformat the hard drive and reinstall the software without the "Green Dam Youth Escort", if I was there I certainly would!

faked quartet @ obama inauguration

Many users have reported that even if your computer is installed with the software, you can just uninstall it. You don't need to reformat the hard drive. The real dirt here is that the government paid the companies 40 million yuan for one year use of the software! This is about corruption, people. This is not censorship.

Old Tales Retold

@ Terry Curran,

You probably would and I probably would, but... but then how many Americans would really bother to uninstall a program on their computers? How many have ditched the new Windows program for the old one when the new one turned out to be junk or even bothered to delete widgets they never use? How many Chinese will? Maybe more Chinese, actually, than Americans, since Chinese have had to be more savvy over the years, but not that many more.

The government's idea here isn't to devise a fool proof plan but to add another layer to the wall or rather (to wear out the metaphor) add a flimsy fence to the wall, but one that will keep a few more people away. Especially people who aren't using their own computers, of which there are many in China.

I think the software could be successful in that---provide it is actually installed on a wide scale, which isn't a given.

Old Tales Retold

In general, I think there's a tendency in online discussions of censorship to focus on how easy it is for clever computer types to evade the authorities. This tendency may be spring from the fact that the people who discuss these things are precisely that type of person.

But most people aren't so good with technology. Or they don't care enough. China is aiming at them, the masses, tamping out the chance that idle curiosity will get anyone anywhere. It is not putting itself up against hard core netizens.

Charles Liu

Quartet is right, the two page document merely stated the government is buying this anti-malware and giving it to the public for free.

Nowhere in the document does it say end user have to use it or can not uninstall it.

sunil kasliwal

You probably would and I probably would, but... but then how many Americans would really bother to uninstall a program on their computers? How many have ditched the new Windows program for the old one when the new one turned out to be junk or even bothered to delete widgets they never use? How many Chinese will? Maybe more Chinese, actually, than Americans, since Chinese have had to be more savvy over the years, but not that many more.

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sunkas
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forclosed homes

bayan

Quartet is right, the two page document merely stated the government is buying this anti-malware and giving it to the public for free.
Nowhere in the document does it say end user have to use it or can not uninstall it.

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