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Internet censorship: China's Golden Shield & it's Green Dam Youth Escort software

Today I posted a post about the Tiananmen Square event wich happend in the year 1989. It was a post about the freedom and movements that just get forgotten by the years that pass.

In this article i will focus on the power of the PRC and the techniques they use to control their internet users.

Now governments in the world are trying to monitor and control the internet. If they can't control the internet, they will control the users.

PRC's Internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world.

Internet censorship

The internet censorship in the People's Republic of China is conducted under a variety of of laws and administrative regulations and over 60 internet regulations have been made by the People's Republic of China government.

The regulations are implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISP's business companies and organizations.

PRC's Internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world. The governmental authorities not only block website content but also monitor the Internet access of individuals.

Green Dam Youth Escort software

A recent directive by the Chinese government requires the installation of a specific filtering software product, Green Dam, with the publicly stated intent of protecting children from harmful Internet content. The proposed implementation of software as reviewed in this report would in fact have an influence that extends beyond helping parents protect their children from age inappropriate material; the filtering options include blocking of political and religious content normally associated with the Great Firewall of China, China’s sophisticated national-level filtering system. If implemented as proposed, the effect would be to increase the reach of Internet censorship to the edges of the network, adding a new and powerful control mechanism to the existing filtering system.

As a policy decision, mandating the installation of a specific software product is both unprecedented and poorly conceived. In this specific instance, the mistake is compounded by requiring the use of a substandard software product that interferes with the performance of personal computers in an unpredictable way, killing browsers and applications without warning while opening up users to numerous serious security vulnerabilities. The level of parental control over the software is poor such that this software does not well serve parents that wish to the limit exposure of their children to Internet content.

The mandate requiring the installation of a specific product serves no useful purpose apart from extending the reach of government authorities. Given the resulting poor quality of the product, the large negative security and stability effects on the Chinese computing infrastructure and the intense backlash against the product mandate, the mandate may result in less government control.

Green Tsunami: Anti Green Dam software

Green Tsunami gives users options to temporarily disable the monitoring of “Green Dam,” or to completely purge it from their computers. The censorship software, Green Dam, is developed with the support of the Chinese government, which then announced the mandatory installation program for the alleged purpose of blocking pornography and other “harmful” content, and protecting the youth. GIF’s analysis of the software reveals, however, that Green Dam is designed to filter a much wider range of content than pornography, based on long blacklists including keywords such as “Anti-China Congressmen,” “Falun Gong,” and even “Argentina.”

In addition, Green Dam has built-in functions designed specifically to cripple FreeGate and UltraSurf, two of the most popular anti-censorship software tools developed and supported by GIF. Chinese users have used both to circumvent the filtering and blocking by the Chinese national gateways, the so-called “Great Firewall.”

The censorship software is also engineered to be very difficult for average users to uninstall it.

 

Green Tsunami-enabled FreeGate and UltraSurf are available for download, free of charge, at http://www.dongtaiwang.com and http://www.wujie.net/download.htm, respectively.

 

China's golden shield project

The Golden Shield project, according to information on the conference Web site, is focused on the following fields of security:

  • Access Control
  • Anti-Hacker Intrusion
  • Communication Security
  • Computer Accessories
  • Software
  • Decryption & Encryption
  • E-commerce Security
  • Extranet & Intranet Security
  • Firewalls
  • Networking Communications
  • Network Security Management
  • Operation Safety
  • Smartcard Security
  • System Security
  • Virus Detection
  • IT related Services and Others

The success of the Golden Shield project depends on a wide range of advanced technologies. While Chinese research is advancing rapidly in these areas, and other related fields, Chinese scientists have developed none of the components necessary to implement Golden Shield independently. In each case, they have relied on assistance from Western corporations, either by purchasing components as turnkey solutions, or through technology transfer – either through formal business deals or in exchange for greater market access.

The technologies necessary to support an intelligent mass surveillance network are frighteningly complex. However, since the solutions are modeled on human forms of intelligence we can categorize them in terms familiar to everyone: Beijing’s Golden Shield surveillance network is intended to be able to “see,” to “hear,” and to “think.”