China's Censorship Software Contains Stolen Code

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by NikSha, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Is there ANYTHING China won't steal/copy?

    TOI

    A California company claims that the Internet-filtering software China has mandated for all new personal computers sold there contains stolen programming code.

    Solid Oak Software of Santa Barbara said Friday that parts of its filtering software, which is designed for parents, are being used in the ``Green Dam-Youth Escort'' filtering software that must be packaged with all computers sold in China from July 1.

    Solid Oak's founder, Brian Milburn, said he plans to seek an injunction against the Chinese developer that built the software, but acknowledged that it's new legal terrain for his company.

    ``I don't know how far you can try and reach into China and try to stop stuff like this,'' he said in an interview. ``We're still trying to assess what they're doing.''

    A phone number for the Chinese developer could not immediately be located. A call by to China's embassy in the US after business hours Friday went unanswered.

    China has mounted a vigorous public defense of the software, saying it wants it to block violence and pornography. But critics say it censors many more things, and does it on a deeper level than the Internet censorship China currently employs.

    China has more than 250 million Internet users and employs some of the world's tightest controls over what they see, often called the ``Great Firewall of China,'' which refers to technology designed to prevent unwanted traffic from entering or leaving a network.

    Political sites and others the government deems offensive are routinely blocked, but that happens at the network level. Savvy users can get around it by bouncing through ``proxy'' servers in other countries, but it takes some sophistication. Blocked sites simply won't load in users' Web browsers.

    The new software blocks sites directly from a user's machine. A report released Thursday by University of Michigan researchers who examined the Chinese software supports Solid Oak's claim that the Green Dam software contains pirated code. The report also found serious security vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to hijack PCs running the Chinese software.

    The report found that a number of the ``blacklist'' files that Green Dam employs were taken from Solid Oak's CyberSitter program.

    Blacklists are lists of Web sites that have been flagged as violent or pornographic or malicious or otherwise offensive. Web browsers on computers where blacklists are in use are instructed to block those sites.

    The report's authors _ researchers in the university's computer science and engineering division _ also said they found another clue that Solid Oak's code was stolen: a file that contained a 2004 CyberSitter news bulletin that appeared to have been accidentally included in Green Dam's coding.
     
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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    This says it all. How shameless are these Chinese programmers to steal the code without giving due credit to sources. This is what happens when you put people under mind controlling programmes, you stifle innovation and make people follow the mantra - 'beg, borrow or steal' but get the work done without any moral ethics. That might be the anthem of CCP thugs.
     
  4. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Yuck... I'm sure they also make copious amounts of use of Free Software and then try to make money out of it... The Chinese just hit new lows everyday....
     
  5. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    Hmm........... where have i heard that ah yes the PRC When will the Chinies come to their senses ??? but then you cant change old habits can we soild oaks is the latest in a very distingushed Line of victems that the Dragon has claimed
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    U.S. Firm Says China Stole Software for Web-Filter

    U.S. Firm Says China Stole Software for Web-Filter - WSJ.com


    U.S. Firm Says China Stole Software for Web-Filter
    By BEN WORTHEN and LORETTA CHAO

    A California company alleged that an Internet-filtering program being pushed by the Chinese government contains stolen portions of the company's software.

    The company, Solid Oak Software Inc., said it will try to stop PC makers from shipping computers with the software.

    Solid Oak said Friday that it found pieces of its CyberSitter filtering software in the Chinese program, including a list of terms to be blocked, instructions for updating the software, and an old news bulletin promoting CyberSitter. Researchers at the University of Michigan who have been studying the Chinese program also said they found components of CyberSitter, including the blacklist of terms.

    Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co., the Chinese company that made the filtering software, denied stealing anything. "That's impossible," said Bryan Zhang, Jinhui's founder, in response to Solid Oak's charges.

    The allegations come as PC makers such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are sorting through a mandate by the Chinese government requiring that all PCs sold in China as of July come with the filtering software. Representatives of the two big U.S. companies said they are working with trade associations to monitor new developments related to the Chinese software.

    The Chinese software, whose name translates to "Green Dam-Youth Escort," is intended to help parents block access to pornography and other Internet content inappropriate for children, according to Jinhui. Free speech advocates have been examining the program's code because they are concerned that it also could be used to block political Web sites.

    Solid Oak's president, Brian Milburn, said he will seek an injunction preventing U.S. companies from shipping computers with the Chinese software.

    Mr. Milburn said Solid Oak received an anonymous email Friday stating that Green Dam may contain parts of his company's code. He said engineers at the 15-person software maker, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., spent the morning comparing the two programs. Similarities they found include a list of CyberSitter serial numbers and an update that makes the software compatible with an old version of CyberSitter, he said.

    "I am 99.99% certain that if not the entire program at least a good proportion of it is stolen CyberSitter code," says Mr. Milburn.

    Mr. Zhang insisted that the software is his company's. "How is it possible that my coding is exactly the same as theirs?" he said. "This is unfair to me. Everyone is taking my software apart now. This is illegal ... I can't answer any more of these pointless questions."

    Some lawyers said that because the software will only be sold in China, Solid Oak faces an uphill legal battle, even if it targets U.S. companies.

    "It's not a violation of U.S. copyright" law if the computers are only sold in China, said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard University Law School. "The question would have to be resolved in a Chinese court under Chinese law."

    The requirement for computer makers to ship Green Dam was outlined in a notice that was issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on May 19, and reported by The Wall Street Journal last Sunday.

    The allegation by Solid Oak could add to the outcry over the lack of transparency in the Chinese government's decision to choose this particular program to implement its filtering requirement.

    Within China, which has the most Internet users in the world and is the world's second-largest PC market, criticisms of the requirement have filled online forums for days. Some Internet users have taken to mocking it, by using the term "Youth Escort" to get someone to shut up. They use phrases like "Stop talking like that, or I'll 'youth escort' you!"
     
  7. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Now hold on for a dang minute

    Just how do you compare non open source software?

    I would assume that the Chinese software would be available as executable files. In that event how would you know what's there in the code?

    Someone from Norton can't simply buy a copy of Macafee and find out how that code is written, right? Can someone explain?

    Note: I am not suggesting for a moment that this may not actually be the case. The Chinese company could very well have hired a programmar who used to work for this Ameican company. In that case, since it would involve disclosure of confidential information, I would think the illegality of the actijon would not be a question
     
  8. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Toothpaste marked made in China?

    Ok, let that go. That was too rude:blum3:
     
  9. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Maybe this article will explain better.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    this is why China will never make it to the #1 spot, leaders innovate and adapt something i doubt China will ever do.
     
  11. kautilya

    kautilya Regular Member

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    It is possible to reverse engineer software to a certain extent. Among other things there are tools called decompilers that give you source from binaries.
     
  12. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Niksha

    This is even more confusing. So Cybersitter UI works similar to the Chinese UI? How does that mean that the underlying code is the same?

    Not to say they aren't, just want to understand how Cybersitter came to this conclusion.
     
  13. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    According to Solid Oak Software, the makers of CyberSitter, one of the more popular Internet-filtering programs, not only does Green Dam look similar to CyberSitter, it uses DLLs identified with CyberSitter, and even gets updates from Solid Oak's servers.
     

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