Monday, June 8, 2009

Worldwide prospects for Green Dam Youth Escort software - will your government promote it?

Follow-up to my Friday post Perhaps Chinese censorship IS bad for Chinese business. But what about Singapore?

You've probably heard by now that China is requiring companies who sell computers in China to install "Green Dam Youth Escort" software on the computers sold in China. Rebecca McKinnon discusses this further and links to the Green Dam web site (in Chinese). But the New York Times has the interesting story:

Green Dam’s own website offered a hint of discontent over the filtering software. On the bulletin board section of the site, several users complained that pornographic images slipped through or that their computers had become painfully slow. “It seems pretty lousy so far,” read one posting. “It’s not very powerful, I can’t surf the Internet normally and it’s affecting the operation of other software.”

By Monday night, however, most of the comments had been deleted.

Now these comments were probably not deleted by a Communist Party official; they were probably deleted by Green Dam itself. Because, you see, the Chinese government isn't the only entity that blocks access to information.

And it isn't the only entity that would like to do so.

Now one would expect that at this latest example of evil commie doings, the good governments of the free world would rise up in unison and say how evil China is and how terrible the idea is. Only problem is, many of the "good governments of the free world" would love to do the same thing. As would many private entities.

Who knows, maybe Stephen Conroy might want to contact Green Dam to get a sitewide license for Australia.

And if the American Family Association runs into budget issues, perhaps they'll dump their support for bsecure and opt for Green Dam instead. However, the Chinese product would obviously have to be renamed to Green Darn - don't want to get blocked by a profanity filter...

OK, perhaps it's wild thinking that the American Family Association would promote a commie software product. Which raises the question - as bsecure and Green Dam and other companies battle for worldwide control, who will win? Which firm will have access to the information that it needs to vanquish its competitors? Which firm will emerge from its protective cocoon (PRC sponsorship, AFA sponsorship) and demonstrate an ability to fully respond to customer needs, adapt to changing circumstances, and function effectively in a market economy - remembering that one of the key assumptions of a market economy is a free flow of information?
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