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China's Green Dam, No Longer Compulsory, May Have Lifted Code

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the when-the-levee-breaks dept.

Censorship 116

LionMage writes "Much has been made previously of how China's Green Dam software must be installed on all new PCs in China, and of more recent revelations that the software may create exploitable security vulnerabilities or even provide the Chinese government with a ready-made botnet to use for potentially nefarious purposes. (One of those prior articles even discusses how Green Dam incorporates blacklists from CyberSitter.) Now the BBC is reporting that Solid Oak's CyberSitter software may have had more than just a compiled blacklist lifted from it. Solid Oak is claiming that actual pieces of their code somehow ended up in Green Dam. From PC Magazine's article: 'Solid Oak Software, the developer of CyberSitter, claims that the look and feel of the GUI used by Green Dam mimics the style of CyberSitter. But more damning, chief executive Brian Milburn said, was the fact that the Green Dam code uses DLLs identified with the CyberSitter name, and even makes calls back to Solid Oak's servers for updates.'" Relatedly, reader Spurious Logic writes that Green Dam won't be mandatory after all, according to an unnamed official with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

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Really.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347523)

What do you expect from China? High quality originality?

Is there anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347545)

left who doesn't think that China will do anything and everything to steal, cheat, kill, lie to reach its goal of world domination?

Re:Is there anyone... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28350171)

Like every other nation in history?

The sun rises, the Chinese pirate code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347565)

No surprise.

Damn it... (4, Funny)

Tinctorius (1529849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347569)

now how am I going to build a cheap botnet?

Re:Damn it... (3, Informative)

abshack (1389985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347679)

Well, you could always hope that they make Opera 10 the default browser in China and exploit its webserver capabilities...

Re:Damn it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347811)

All Your Code Are Belong To Us!

Green Dam (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347587)

oh my god there's a chink in the green dam!

Given the situation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347607)

If china PCs had been hammering my servers for updates to their plagiarized software, I'd have called the CIA to see what to slip in next update. Much more fun but oh so less publicity :/

Re:Given the situation (0, Offtopic)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347703)

man! for an AC you sure have a great idea.

Re:Given the situation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347995)

man! for a slashdot user you sure have a small cock!

not that i mind.. ;)

Re:Given the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348657)

Small for a Slashdot user? Man, that must burn.

Re:Given the situation (4, Interesting)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347745)

It could have been hilarious to see the mess of acusations and finger-pointing if Solid Oak had slipped something really nasty into an "only for you, my special Chinese friend" update.

Or maybe Solid Oak could have done some good with an update: see to it that all traffic in and out of the computers is heavily encrypted, and has to pass through one of several servers outside of China in order to be decrypted and sent on it way. That way they could have helped bring free speech to the Chinese.

Re:Given the situation (3, Funny)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348407)

The only poetically correct thing to do is to send porn via the updates. :)

More like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355397)

sending two-girls-one-cup. That'll teach them.

Re:Given the situation (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348465)

Unfortunately brownie points don't pay the bills for the hosting.

Re:Given the situation (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351129)

Send 'em a copy of the US Constitution, with the Bill of Rights in red highlight. Think about it, you can use their exploitation to your advantage.

Besides, it's not like we are getting much use out of the Constitution these days. "No knock warrants," yikes! Maybe they (the Chinese) can do better, one up us in this category.

Re:Given the situation (0, Flamebait)

offrdbandit (1331649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347883)

I think all patriotic Americans have a duty to "pound" some Chinese "servers" in retaliation for this heinous crime.

Re:Given the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28350213)

I pounded a Chinese server last week.

(I picked up this cute waitress at a restaurant.)

Re:Given the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351061)

That reminds me ...

I impounded an American server last week.

(This cute waitress at a restaurant picked me up from work.)

Re:Given the situation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348045)

in the 70s, many Xerox machines sold to foreign countries would contain storage that would save off an image of everything that was copied for later retrieval by a Xerox "repairman".

I'm sure we're doing similar things with software (see Crypto AG)

Re:Given the situation (5, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348185)

This has been done before. During the Cold War, in order to disrupt the Soviet economy and serve them some comeuppance for their industrial espionage activities, the CIA, in partnership with American Technology companies ensured that hardware and software with carefully arranged "flaws" found its way into Soviet hands. In one particular instance a "flawed" natural gas pipeline software and associated hardware went "haywire" (i.e. it ran the ultra-high pressure test) after a planned period of normal operation. The result was the largest non-nuclear man-made explosion ever seen from space (the satellites designed to detect plumes from ICBM launches detected a tremendous flash from the area near Vladivostok where the pipeline in question was located). This article [msn.com] covers some of the details excerpted from the book At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War as recalled by Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time.

Re:Given the situation (3, Informative)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349321)

Here's the link [wikipedia.org] . It gets mentioned just about every time that electronic espionage crops up. At this point, everyone that reads /. has seen this about three times over.

Interesting, maybe. No longer informative.

Re:Given the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28349875)

ha ha, indeed. Slashdot is something of an echo chamber :)

Re:Given the situation (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28350519)

And those who fail to learn from history....

typical 7-digit thinking we're seeing, here.

Re:Given the situation (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28350997)

I'll file that one alongside Bill Gates saying 640K would be enough for anyone, or people eating 20 spiders every year - kind of funny, but a quick Googling indicates that it's not true - http://www.bookscape.co.uk/short_stories/computer_hoaxes.php [bookscape.co.uk] , for one. Most interesting would be, the source for the whole story is apparently an April Fool's joke.

Re:Given the situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356135)

Isn't what CIA has done terrorism?

Re:Given the situation (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348459)

Who's to say they didn't? ;)

even makes calls back to Solid Oak's servers (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347609)

"even makes calls back to Solid Oak's servers for updates.'

er... problem solved? Sell the bot net to raise money. A botnet the size of china would be pretty valuable. You could even use it for good--- turn it into a rosetta at home client!

Re:even makes calls back to Solid Oak's servers (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356897)

Firstly, there is no botnet, just some idiotic bloggers who think potential security holes = omigod communist botnet. Secondly what you propose is still an immoral hijacking of peoples resources, and is not 'good' in any way.

*sigh* (4, Interesting)

jbacon (1327727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347643)

Oh China, you never change...

But oh man, it would have been so hilarious to see what happened to Solid Oak's update servers when the ENTIRE NATION of China hit them at once! I predict flames.

Re:*sigh* (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347731)

Oh China, you never change...

But oh man, it would have been so hilarious to see what happened to Solid Oak's update servers when the ENTIRE NATION of China hit them at once! I predict flames.

Soild oak charcoal..... yummy

Re:*sigh* (5, Funny)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348143)

The correct terminology is the 'Linksys Eruptous'. It's a terrible scenario where a server is so overwhelmed with traffic it tries to leap out the server room and escape the building. They have a bad case of that over at Twitter. They actually have people on staff who're just on standby with nets and scooters.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Synchis (191050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348695)

Damnit... you almost made me spit my salad all over my monitor.

Thats what i get for reading /. while eating lunch....

Shocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347653)

A Chinese software product --- with stolen code? Gasp!!!

Since copyright is a government grant (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348943)

how can this be called stolen code?

The originators still have it.

And oddly nobody on slashdot is yet pointing this out (unlike what would have happened if a USian were accused of stealing Photoshop, for example.

Is this because it's China doing it?

Re:Since copyright is a government grant (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349389)

Since copyright is a government grant how can this be called stolen code?

All property rights -- whether in real property, tangible personal property, or intellectual or other intangible personal property -- are government grants, regardless of whether or not some governments (implicitly or explicitly) invoke quasi-religious ideas of "natural law" as the motivation for granting certain property rights while invoking more utilitarian reasons for other grants of property rights.

Incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28350169)

I can evict you from my property.

The government *can* evict me from my property because they have an army.

However, that requires they DO something.

All China has to do is not recognise the copyright.

Rather like the US did for foreign works in the turn of the 19th century.

So real property is real rights. I can look after it myself.

Copyrights require that someone else do my protecting for me, since I'd NEVER know if someone was misappropriating my "IP" and I lose nothing over it that I can see if it is.

I can see if someone has been eating MY porridge.

PS about the "they use our DLL's", does it? or is this like saying since my 3D graphics game uses D3D I must have stolen it from Microsoft?

So I guess I'm right, this IS because it's China doing it...

Re:Since copyright is a government grant (1)

pbaer (833011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352643)

Well to me the difference is that it isn't for an individual's personal use. I personally draw a distinction between piracy for personal use, and piracy for business use, and this is closer to the latter. It's different when you are profiting from piracy.

China isn't profiting, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354051)

Or at least not as much as a corporation, though less than an individual.

Look, I'm not liking it either, but this code isn't stolen, even if China HAS taken a copy of the code. Copyright infringement isn't theft.

But that isn't happening in this article, is it.

Should we be surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347657)

Wow. Another story about how the Chinese are ripping off everybody else. Is this really even news anymore?

Uh, Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28350243)

Ripped off Edison's patents.

Simba/Zimba from Disney.

Harry Potter/Larry Potter (well Hollywood doesn't mind making money from someone else doing it either).

BT's US patent on hyperlinks (cf the FAT patent which is of the same quality and patentability).

And the 1900's when US recognise copyright from US authors not foreign ones and the 1800's when they didn't realise ANY copyrights.

Oh, and patents on engines from the UK given to them to help the war effort and then kept by the US for commercial exploitation, locking out the UK originators.

You can hardly point a finger, bub.

Obvious DLL update... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347683)

Now if they can just figure out a way to get those DLLs to display "The Chinese Government is Oppressing you. Remember the valiant souls who gave their lives trying to earn your freedom at Tienanmen Square!" on all the computer screens in China...

Re:Obvious DLL update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348063)

I just got a message on my screen today "The American Government is Oppressing you!"

I ignored it.

I was surfing for porn.

Re:Obvious DLL update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356451)

Have you ever been to China? Nobody cares. You think they can't find access to those things with ToR? Like they are so pathetic that they have never heard the bill of rights? Or figured out why Youtube goes down on the same day every year? You go executing code not only against their permission but their Governments as well, and you will not be seen as a savior or great liberator. You will portray Americans as a bunch of computer hacking terrorists, regardless of how the code got on their PC. Not only would you fail to promote Democracy but you would push people away from it. Why do you people treat the Chinese like they need your help and are incapable of saving themselves if it was what they wanted? Does it make you feel superior? Does worrying about somebody else and calling their situation poor help you to validate that your situation is well?

Re:Obvious DLL update... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356975)

Hey Asshole, I have friends from China. Yes, many kids over there don't even know what happened at the square. Yes, the media block IS pretty effective for many of their citizens. No one called them pathetic, so go f-yourself with your strawman arguments. Changing code they are downloading from a product they haven't paid for isn't 'hacking' their computers. Their crappy government did that.

don't worry (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347701)

Sorid Oak have ralge penis. Gleen Dam have smarr penis. Cannot cleate botnet with such smarr penis!

Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (5, Interesting)

ekimminau (775300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347721)

We have 1 of three possible scenarios:
1) The Green Dam developers have fully reverse engineered Cybersitter to the point they can reuse pre-compiled binaries and snippets of code required to call them.
2) Cybersitter's development network has been thoroughly compromized to the point that the Chinese Green Dam developers have fully plagurized another companies proprietary code.
3) Cybersitter has contributed to the development of the Chinese Green Dam and was therefore paid for their effort.
1 is certainly possible. 2 is truly frightening on a number of levels. 3 is just wrong and may be a violation of federal law. As they are a US company, contributing code to the development of a Chinese firewall product could be subject to the same verbiage as a US firewall, i.e something similar to:

Under U.S. law, the Software may not be downloaded or otherwise exported, reexported, or transferred to restricted countries, restricted end-users, or for restricted end-uses. The U.S. currently has embargo restrictions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. The lists of restricted end-users are maintained on the U.S. Commerce Department's Denied Persons List, the Commerce Department's Entity List, the Commerce Department's List of Unverified Persons, and the U.S. Treasury Department's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. In addition, the Software may not be downloaded or otherwise exported, reexported, or transferred to an end-user engaged in activities related to weapons of mass destruction.

and/or:

The Software available to download from this Site is commercial computer software as that term is described in 48 C.F.R. 252.227-7014(a)(1). If acquired by or on behalf of a civilian agency, the U.S. Government acquires this commercial computer software and/or commercial computer software documentation subject to the terms of this Agreement as specified in 48 C.F.R. 12.212 (Computer Software) and 12.211 (Technical Data) of the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("FAR") and its successors. If acquired by or on behalf of any agency within the Department of Defense ("DOD"), the U.S. Government acquires this commercial computer software and/or commercial computer software documentation subject to the terms of this Agreement as specified in 48 C.F.R. 227.7202-3 of the DOD FAR Supplement ("DFAR") and its successors.

(Completely and totally plagarized from the ZoneAlarm legal page, http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/legal.htm [zonealarm.com] )

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347807)

We have 1 of three possible scenarios:

1) The Green Dam developers have fully reverse engineered Cybersitter to the point they can reuse pre-compiled binaries and snippets of code required to call them.

2) Cybersitter's development network has been thoroughly compromized to the point that the Chinese Green Dam developers have fully plagurized another companies proprietary code.

3) Cybersitter has contributed to the development of the Chinese Green Dam and was therefore paid for their effort.

1 is certainly possible. 2 is truly frightening on a number of levels. 3 is just wrong and may be a violation of federal law. As they are a US company, contributing code to the development of a Chinese firewall product could be subject to the same verbiage as a US firewall, i.e something similar to:

Under U.S. law, the Software may not be downloaded or otherwise exported, reexported, or transferred to restricted countries, restricted end-users, or for restricted end-uses. The U.S. currently has embargo restrictions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. The lists of restricted end-users are maintained on the U.S. Commerce Department's Denied Persons List, the Commerce Department's Entity List, the Commerce Department's List of Unverified Persons, and the U.S. Treasury Department's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. In addition, the Software may not be downloaded or otherwise exported, reexported, or transferred to an end-user engaged in activities related to weapons of mass destruction.

and/or:

The Software available to download from this Site is commercial computer software as that term is described in 48 C.F.R. 252.227-7014(a)(1). If acquired by or on behalf of a civilian agency, the U.S. Government acquires this commercial computer software and/or commercial computer software documentation subject to the terms of this Agreement as specified in 48 C.F.R. 12.212 (Computer Software) and 12.211 (Technical Data) of the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("FAR") and its successors. If acquired by or on behalf of any agency within the Department of Defense ("DOD"), the U.S. Government acquires this commercial computer software and/or commercial computer software documentation subject to the terms of this Agreement as specified in 48 C.F.R. 227.7202-3 of the DOD FAR Supplement ("DFAR") and its successors.

(Completely and totally plagarized from the ZoneAlarm legal page, http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/legal.htm [zonealarm.com] )

It's a TRA!^%&#CONSPIRA. . .

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (4, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347867)

We have 1 of three possible scenarios: 1) The Green Dam developers have fully reverse engineered Cybersitter to the point they can reuse pre-compiled binaries and snippets of code required to call them. 2) Cybersitter's development network has been thoroughly compromized to the point that the Chinese Green Dam developers have fully plagurized another companies proprietary code. 3) Cybersitter has contributed to the development of the Chinese Green Dam and was therefore paid for their effort.

I think the most likely scenario is that someone walked out of Cybersitter, Inc. with a thumb drive full of code. I guess you could call that (2), but I think it's more likely that a contractor (or even offshore development team) pinched the code via copy than a team of black hats in Hunan broke into Cybersitter's servers.

By the way, you might find google's toolbar, which spellchecks, helpful before you compromize and plagurize more posts ;-)

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348043)

By the way, you might find google's toolbar, which spellchecks, helpful before you compromize and plagurize more posts ;-)

Oh sweet irony...

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348429)

By the way, you might find google's toolbar, which spellchecks, helpful before you compromize and plagurize more posts ;-)

Oh sweet irony...

No, not at all... he was quoting the OP's spelling errors.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348291)

We have 1 of three possible scenarios: 1) The Green Dam developers have fully reverse engineered Cybersitter to the point they can reuse pre-compiled binaries and snippets of code required to call them. 2) Cybersitter's development network has been thoroughly compromized to the point that the Chinese Green Dam developers have fully plagurized another companies proprietary code. 3) Cybersitter has contributed to the development of the Chinese Green Dam and was therefore paid for their effort.

4) Cybersitter developed their code using outsourced labor... that had been outsourced to Shanghai

5) Cybersitted didn't outsource their code, but some of the programmers they hired decided it was easier to hire somebody in Chengdu, so they could just go surfing all day while the person they hired did all the actual work

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348021)

It looks more that they took the dll's from a commercial version of Cybersitter and did some limited reverse engineering to get hands on some function calls. I guess they want to save the effort for keeping a pron blacklist up-to-date.

It's not so hard and rather dumb than using devilish haxzor skillz to fully reverse engineer Cybersitter.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (3, Interesting)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348049)

Or they're just using DLL's.. I mean you can just call the functions inside them without too much trouble..

And even if you _do_ do some reverse engineering.. You don't have to fully reverse everything to get stuff to work.. I mean as long as you get a chuck of opcodes and you know where the entry point is and what parameters you have to push into them, then you can run code without doing much reverse engineering at all.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (1)

LionMage (318500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354011)

Based on TFA (any of the 3 linked articles that are actually about this issue and not links to previous Slashdot coverage of Green Dam), I find your third scenario highly unlikely unless Solid Oak was lying through their teeth about being upset that Green Dam "stole" their code and was hitting their servers. I mean, maybe Solid Oak was just putting up a smokescreen about threatening legal action and was really supplying their code to China for Green Dam, but if that's the case, you'd think they'd have been smart enough to either not have the "Chinese" version of their code pointing at their own servers, or they'd get enough money up front from their Chinese partners to build out server infrastructure.

As it is, they're complaining bitterly in part because they are doubtful they can handle the load from all these additional users, yet they don't want to alienate their legitimate customers in that geographic region by blocking an entire country.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355675)

It wouldn't surprise me if the Chinese company just took a resource editor and changed the UI of Cybersitter.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356595)

>> Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

I'm missing where 'China' is in that list.

Re:Sounds like Cybersitter contributed (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356951)

Why would working on a firewall with China be illegal? From your first quote:

The U.S. currently has embargo restrictions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria

How would this restrict trade with China? I have no idea what you are implying with the second quote, could you elaborate?

From the Shanzhai angle, it's hilarous (5, Interesting)

GeoVizer (724140) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347783)

Here's the best write-up I've seen on the absurdities of Green Dam Youth Escort. http://people.oii.ox.ac.uk/hanteng/2009/06/12/shanzhai-nature-inside-the-green-dam-youth-escort-software/ [ox.ac.uk] The adoption of this software has the following absurdities: 1. It simultaneously embodies paranoid totalitarianism (surveillance and internet access controls) and extreme incompetence (this opens a huge security hole everywhere it is installed, the folks at the NSA must be grinning). 2. It embodies an ethos both puritanical (blocking porn) and piratical (taking commercial and BSD software without attribution). Plus more I'm sure. It's my new favorite software.

Sounds like the US, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28350497)

DMCA, PATRIOT and the KP laws.

Big things from the US.

All cover the same paranoia that you ascribe to China.

How close the two become...

Re:From the Shanzhai angle, it's hilarous (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28351265)

Shanzhai? What does this have to do with shanzhai? Nothing whatsover! This is just typical Chinese government, doing what it does best, ruling by committee. Don't just call it shanzhai because it comes from China, they are private companies.

None of this should be surprising (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28347785)

China is in a cold war and is doing everything possible to control their population, while trying to destroy the west. And yes, the chinese gov has NO issues with stealing from the west.

Re:None of this should be surprising (3, Insightful)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348375)

If you where them wouldn't you do the same?
They are on a war footing, apparently we keep fooling ourselves into thinking everyone wants to play nice.
We also fool ourselves that they need us. Well news for those reading, They don't.
There is a reason they laughted at Geithner [businessinsider.com]

Re:None of this should be surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351055)

There is a reason they laughted at Geithner

You might find this funny. It was created by a Chinese national.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBk-ryQIuAw [youtube.com]

What a waste (5, Insightful)

theinvisibleguy (982464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28347951)

A recent slashdot posting talked about how China had some of the best programmers in the world, you'd think they would be able to program something better than cybersitter let alone just copy some code.

Re:What a waste (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348095)

Best programmers want the best pay. Stealing may be cheaper.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28351989)

Or to play the conspiracy card... the Green Dam is the smoke and mirrors while another much more sinister firewall is deployed through another means.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28357201)

That was topcoder.

A competition where you write short snippets of code that you never look at again, and therefore have no need to maintain. All it's got to do is pass a set of test cases (some of which may be evil).

ChiCom Intelligence strikes again (2, Insightful)

Hasai (131313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348029)

Reminds me of when the KGB used to spend a huge chunk of their resources stealing American technology, then slavishly copying it to the tiniest detail, right down to the manufacturers' logos on the dies.

There's something about Communism that eats home-grown innovation alive. . . .

Re:ChiCom Intelligence strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348221)

like the copied ww2 bomber that had bullet holes replicated

Re:ChiCom Intelligence strikes again (2, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348897)

There was a History channel program about how the Soviets copied the B-29 Superfortress. In late 1944, three American B-29s made emergency landing in the USSR after a bombing run over Japan. Stalin ordered his defense people to copy them *exactly*.

Even though the Russians had some pretty decent aircraft designers who understood aircraft systems well, nobody wanted to offend Stalin and risk getting sent to the goulags... so they copied EVERYTHING, including the repair marks made on the side panel on one of the original American B-29!

Re:ChiCom Intelligence strikes again (2)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349133)

...something...

Since when is China a communist state? It is a brutal, oligarchical dictatorship. There is NOTHING about China that is communist. Actually, there has never been a communist state anywhere at anytime. China is a slave state.

Re:ChiCom Intelligence strikes again (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352063)

That is exactly how Chernobyl happened.

I'm a Chinese and even I'm gobsmacked (2, Interesting)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348137)

I'm not really surprised by the censorship and monitoring things as they've been doing that all the time... but...

That piece of software, coming out from the central government itself - it's run by former engineers you know, is so stupid! If people can fly by being stupid then we don't need rockets! We just strap our astronauts to this guy, who is executing the plan, and everyone will get a ride to the moon for free! I can imagine false positives and false negatives aren't really big problems from the government's viewpoint. But... the censoring list is not encrypted?! Are you stupid? So basically you're telling everyone in China what sort of topics the government is afraid of and thus... get them to look for those things? pr0n isn't really a big problem actually but a kid having an unencrypted list of pr0n sites is still disturbing. Now kids in China don't need to look for pr0n from Baidu anymore, they just get the government-approved pr0n site list from this Green Dam CD and surf away!

Now foreign countries have found their code being by from this software... WTF? Where are the checks and balancing in place to make sure such obvious things would not happen? By obvious I mean whenever you contracted someone to write software in China, you should expect potential IP problems from their code because everyone copies code there! So you have this piece of software that you KNOW will surely be scrutinized closely by foreigners, and you also know there's a significant probability that your contractor would just nick the code from someone else... Then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you need to put some checks in place to prevent a potential foreign relation disaster, right?

Man, this is so stupid. Whoever responsible for implementing this plan must be smoking something good.

Re:I'm a Chinese and even I'm gobsmacked (2, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348399)

I don't think the Chinese government cares at all about "checks and balances".. The whole Chinese culture is about getting the cheapest product possible.

Remember the flash games for the Olympics website that were re-skinned ripoffs?

Remember the babies that died from the milk that had a whitening substance in it so they could water it down?

This is the countrie that sells fake eggs. It's like a sausage.. This is the country that sells cardboard with fat and food coloring as hotdogs.

For a 'communist' nation they're pretty hardcore capitalistic.

Re:I'm a Chinese and even I'm gobsmacked (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348677)

Remember the flash games for the Olympics website that were re-skinned ripoffs?

Remember the babies that died from the milk that had a whitening substance in it so they could water it down?

This is the countrie that sells fake eggs. It's like a sausage.. This is the country that sells cardboard with fat and food coloring as hotdogs.

You can sum these all up in a few words: rational, but brutal. Cheapest isn't really a good description to everything that's happening here - the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony isn't exactly cheap, right? And for the record, the government had done the rational thing to stop the latter two items (which are public safety AND foreign relation disasters) immediately after they're discovered - whether they know about it BEFORE those things are discovered is quite another question.

But look at Green Dam it's really irrational... The government paid $40M RMB to the contractor for this foreign relations disaster - $5.85M USD isn't exactly cheap, right? Sure it's not exactly expensive for a nation-wide project, either. But... for a $5.85M USD project anyone with common sense would put in some checks and tests, right? If I'm really cheap I'd put even MORE checks and tests in it to make sure nobody screws up my investment.

Re:Chinese product culture (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28352529)

Wait, is that the (new) cultural parallel for reading Star Trek's Ferengi? Dunno who was the original model, but this sounds like it fits now!

Re:Chinese product culture (1)

LionMage (318500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354199)

Dunno who was the original model

According to a copy of the writer's bible for TNG that I read once, the Ferengi were supposed to be modeled after Yankee Traders. Don't bother looking that up on Wikipedia, since the article there is about some stupid BBS turn-based game that loosely relates to the historical concept of a Yankee Trader, and borrows the term as its name. Yankee Traders were American merchants who, when the United States was still young, practiced a sort of wild and wooly capitalism which was characterized (or caricatured) by rapacious greed and dishonest dealings. "Swindler" is given as a synonym for "Yankee horse trader" by some older dictionaries.

Makes sense when you realize that the United States was a so-called "pirate nation" in its early years, with 14-year copyrights for us and no recognition of anyone else's copyrights -- we had a lot of books published here with no money going to their European authors.

Fantastic!!! (2, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348293)

Now all they need to do is write the code to take down the "Great Fire Wall of China" and put it on auto update

Re:Fantastic!!! (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348639)

I was thinking similarly. Solid Oak could wreak some happy fun by adding banned political sites to the OK list or banning the Chinese government's own sites.

Re:Fantastic!!! (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349667)

I say we try to get them to all download a certain Rick Astley [wikipedia.org] song.

We can call it "Rickshaw Rolling". ;)

US Blue Dam (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348579)

Is pretty hard to get new PC without the US Blue Dam software (so is almost a must), anywhere in the world by now. Seems that too the software (by not so recent revelations) may create exploitable security vulnerabilities, or even (according to some tinfoil hat users) provide the US government with a ready-made botnet to use.

But at least the chinese software name is less boring than "Windows".

Hail Solid Oak, our worlds new overlords. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348583)

"China...makes calls back to Solid Oak's servers for updates."

Never attribute to malice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348681)

I think it's fairly obvious to most what is going on.

Political goon in China wanted to get brownie points for "protecting the children." He has connections with Jinhui. Jinhui is complete incompetent, but the boss there wanted the money... they took the money from the government. Hacked together some "filtering software." Assumed this would be like the "red flag linux" mandated software... eg, make it a law, but not actually enforce it to get political bronie points. Except in this case someone outside the loop, and probably much higher up in the party didn't know this was just an embezzlement scheme and actually tried to enforce its use.

The most likely scenario... (3, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28348711)

CCP member and government official "Mister Wang" finds out about a party directive to more directly control internet surfing in one of the "secret" directives often issued by the government to the MII. So he calls his nephew, "Mister Lee," and tells him that if he has a software package that can meet the following requirements (secret list supplied), he will fast track approval for the software and split the revenue (silently, of course...through a foreign bank account). Because after some initial "trial period" the computer companies will be forced to purchase this software. Instant revenue stream. ka-ching (which means "fucking pay me, you laowai clod" in Mandarin)

Unfortunately, Mister Lee has no such software. So he hires some Chinese black hats to grab the code from something resembling the requirements from a foreign company. The foreign company will have zero recourse since Mister Wang is "connected" and the Chinese government tends to wink at this behavior anyway. Since Mister Wang is steamrolling the software through the government's maze of approvals, nobody even bothers to QC the code prior to mandating its use.

With the exception of the surnames, I'm reasonably sure that's EXACTLY how this clusterfuck was perpetrated.

All your code are belong to us. Set us up the firewall....

Re:The most likely scenario... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28349167)

huhhuhhuh... you said "Wang"

Re:The most likely scenario... (2, Interesting)

Dielectric (266217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349583)

Holy carp, there's some insight! I'm in the middle of some dealings with Chinese manufacturing, and your assessment is maddeningly accurate. It's like engineered corruption all the way through.

What ever happened to Red Flag Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28348879)

This is Windows software... What ever happened to Red Flag Linux?

Are the Chinese still dependant on Windows???

They are owned by Microsoft at a very low level, and could have all kinds of implanted stuff from the NSA, etc.

hahahah all their computer are belong to US!!!!!

Not mandatory at all. (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349171)

You can opt out by being taken outside and shot.

In China, "copyright" means right to copy. (3, Interesting)

cenc (1310167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349429)

In China, "copyright" means right to copy.

It has been in the culture for thousands of years, and no one thinks it is wrong. For example, for thousands of years honoring the greatest artist and scholars meant training to copy their work exactly. Chinese just don't get the whole western copyright thing. Especially in a communist / socialist country where all property is officially property of the State. They might be right.

I worked at Chinese University. We had a guy that we called "Mr. Copy". He worked in the English department during the day making photo copies of exams and materials for teachers, audio tapes, whatever. At night he would setup his table in the main plaza and sell the latest pirated DVD movies for less than a $1, including all the screeners that had not been released in the States yet. There where hundreds if not thousands (e.g. 8-10 at the base of my apartment building alone) of these guys just around the one University I was at.

China can learn alot about censorship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28349745)

from Solid Oak!

I'll wager that Bob Hayes of Media3 and Bennett Haselton of Peacefire will read this story and laugh their freaking balls off...

Didn't they capitulate on this already? (2, Interesting)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28349985)

When the Chinese government announced that shipping a CD [news.com.au] with the Green Dam software constituted compliance with the July 1st directive, that told me the government was implicitly agreeing that the software wouldn't be compulsory. I suspect we have to thank the PC manufacturers for this turn of events. It's a lot easier to throw a disk into the box. Parents might install Green Dam out of concern for their kids' browsing, but I can't imagine anyone who might be politically relevant would do so, especially if it's not illegal to operate a computer without it.

On the subject of infringement, what happens if it is demonstrable that Green Dam contains code stolen from Solid Oak? Can an American manufacturer, say Dell, continue to ship this product in China knowing that it infringes on the product of another American firm? Obviously Dell couldn't be sued in China, but could it be sued in the US?

f+ri5t stop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28350445)

Play fair? (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28350511)

Since when are we expecting honestly from the Chinese Government? I mean they tried to put on a show during the Olympics with fake buildings and the Great Firewall, they forced gymnasts birth certificates. This isn't surprising that they stole code. The only difference is this time they got caught. If the program is calling back to Solid Oak servers, why not tell the servers to send back malicious code to crash the program? It would be sweet sweet revenge for Solid Oak.

Since nobody's mentioned it.. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28350681)

What would the legal ramifications be for US-based computer manufacturers selling computers with stolen code included?

Re:Since nobody's mentioned it.. (1)

LionMage (318500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354397)

Actually, you're the second (someone else asked the exact same question 36 minutes before you did). But although IANAL, I can say that there's probably a substantial amount of legal liability there. The only question is if it's worth suing over. Solid Oak probably can't afford the legal muscle to do something like this.

Assuming that a legal challenge can be brought, the next question is whether the computer manufacturer can mount a defense. It's not clear how much shielding a US-based manufacturer gets if the customer is a foreign entity and the goods themselves are probably not produced in the U.S. Expect the lawyers for Dell, et al, to claim that they're protected precisely because the goods never passed through American soil.

Since the computer manufacturers also didn't write the code, they could claim to be innocent -- except they've been placed on notice by Solid Oak, so they can't claim ignorance. This gets into the whole "contributory infringement" angle of copyright. I'm sure a certain NewYorkCountryLawyer could probably speak to that, since that concept figures so heavily in the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits.

Let's default on the national debt. (1)

pseudorand (603231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353307)

So how about we have CyberSitter push an update to all PCs with an Chinese IP address that encrypts all the data and disables the computer. We'll send China the decryption keys if they forgive their share of the U.S. taxpayer's national debt (less than England and Japan on last count, but still significant). Either we get our money back for free or the Chinese people oust their undemocratic government for stupidity.

Wait, wait, that won't work. If we go around ousting governments for stupidity, we'll have anarchy here in the U.S. too.

Chinese to rename Solid Oak to "Steaming Pile"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354021)

Chinese state censorware to be based on the notoriously inaccurate and trivial-to-bypass nannyware from Solid Oak? That's hilarious! Perhaps they'll rename it "Steaming Pile" after they really get their hands deep into the code and figure out that half of the blocked domains are objectionable only to right-wing assault-rifle-toting clinic-bombing fox-news-watching militia-joining nutcases

In any case, this is truly a wonderful thing: On one side you have political dissidents and horny youngsters who can easily stomp on the tools of their oppressors to get to the information they want or need.
On the other, you have a despicable piece of shit company getting its assets stolen and having their fake secrets run up for everyone to see. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Yay!

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