When Chinese government authorities mandated that computers sold in that country must contain the government-approved Green Dam Youth Escort filtering software, it created suspicion in the West as to its real purpose, and widespread  objections in China. Was it to prevent children from accessing pornography, or to extend official censorship into the home and office?

Then, Global Internet Freedom (GIF) -- a consortium formed by a few technology companies specialized in circumventing political censorship on Internet by repressive regimes -- released "Green Tsunami," software designed for Chinese users to disable or get rid of Green Dam.

Next, Solid Oak, a U.S.-based software manufacturer sent legal "cease and desist" orders to some U.S. computer manufacturers to stop them from installing the Green Dam software, claiming copyright infringement.

Then, security vulnerabilities were found and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reportedly ordered the Green Dam manufacturer to install security patches.

Finally, yesterday, China Daily reported that while manufacturers must still install the Green Dam software on computer hard drives or have it available on installation CDs, consumers are not required to use it.

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Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government