You do remember Green Dam, right? It was China’s play to install government built software into all computers made and sold in the country to let them filter out porn and gore. The rest of the world decided that instead of that, the Chinese government would use it to censor anything that it found counter to its political goals.
It was met with international outrage, and ended up having been coded with stolen software from a Western company. The government in the end only had it installed on a mere 20 million computers. The whole fiasco seems to have embarrassed the officials behind the project.
And now to pull the cork from the champagne, China has ceased to fund the initiaitve, leaving the teams behind Green Dam wondering just what has happened, and what they should do. According to the BBC:
State media said the developer behind the Green Dam Youth Escort software had closed its Beijing project team because of a lack of government funding. Its partner in Henan said without funding, its team would soon close too.
This was because government funding only covered a one-year period from 2008 to 2009 and there had been no subsequent funding, the daily said, citing Chen Xiaomeng, general manager for the developer.
According to Mr Chen, requests to the government for more funding had generated no response. There has been no official comment on the issue from the Chinese authorities, who correspondents say may feel they lost face in the row.
What the ultimate fate of the project will be is yet unknown, but its long term life expectancy looks very short indeed. China, in a staring contest with Google, hardly wants anymore bad will online and abroad. Green Dam needed to end somehow, and apparently China has just decided to cut the purse and walk away.
While we feel sorry for the individuals losing their jobs, Green Dam cannot end quickly enough.