China’s “Green Dam” censorship software has been released, providing a key element of the government’s draconian censorship policies. The software will be a pre-installed program shipping on all new computers sold in the mainland, with the express purpose of filtering pornography and other “harmful” material, particularly that injurious to the state.
However, Chinese otaku have already begun to prove their mettle by moeifying the software, creating a twin-tailed moe “image” character for the software named 緑bar娘, but more commonly known in English as Green Dam Girl.
In case a short introduction is needed, the “Green Dam Youth Escort” program is a filtering program designed to block pornographic and violent websites (along with “politically harmful” material) and is scheduled to become a mandatory pre-install on all new computers being sold in mainland China.
The Chinese government was not originally clear on whether or not the program would legally be required to be run on all new computers, but the widespread protests against it have at least forced a clarification by a government official that the program will “not be compulsory.”
It still unclear on if removal of the software by end-users would be illegal or not, but the security vulnerabilities posed by having such a blocking software installed on millions of Chinese computers is indeed troubling, as the program reportedly contains several flaws that might put users at risk to hackers, or could even pave the way for for a government controlled botnet in the future.
The software also stays true to established Chinese tradition, by reportedly including pirated code from a U.S. software manufacturer.
As if to cap this farcical structure, the software apparently escaped inclusion on 64bit operating systems due to programming constraints, though this is presumably a temporary omission.
As might be expected from developers whose selection probably owes more to guanxi than to merit, its filtering abilities are also said to be questionable.
Chinese otaku have scornfully responded, creating a wealth of art based on the optimistic notion that the software is well represented by a bishoujo character, albeit one bearing subtle elements of protest, going by the name of 緑bar娘 (Green “bar” Girl):
Her chained alpaca companion is something of a mystery…