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Chinese Green Dam pilfers open source too

No filth, no BSD license

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After claims that China's "Green Dam" filtering app includes code pirated from an American software maker, it should come as no surprise that the People's Republic censorshipware is also using open-source code without displaying the proper license.

According to multiple coders at Sourceforge, the Green Dam Youth Escort package - which the Chinese government wants loaded onto all PCs sold within the People's Republic - includes code from the OpenCV computer vision library. But its developer - Jinhui Computer System Engineering - seems to have deleted the BSD license document that should be included when OpenCV code is reused.

"It can be observed that Green Dam uses OpenCV's Haar classifier in undergoing human face detection. Included with Green Dam [are] cximage.dll, CImage.dll, xcore.dll and Xcv.dll, also library files from OpenCV," reads a post from one developer. "This all suggests that Green Dam primarily uses OpenCV to process images. However, as is done with much of domestic Chinese software, Green Dam has disregarded OpenCV's BSD license."

Meanwhile, US software maker Solid Oak is seeking injunctions against Jinhui Computer System Engineering and US-based PC manufacturers that may ship the software under orders from Beijing. Solid Oak claims that Green Dam code uses DLLs tagged with the name of its CyberSitter application and actually makes calls back to Solid Oak servers.

According to a study from researchers at the University of Michigan, Green Dam also includes security vulnerabilities that would allow any website visited to take control of the user's PC.

Green Dam works to identify images, text, and urls visited by net surfers, and if they match blacklisted items, they're blocked. According to The New York Times, the Chinese government is demanding that the software be loaded on all new machines starting July 1. The package is called Green Dam because Beijing likes to associate a filth-free internet with greenness. ®

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