Back in 2008, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) commissioned the development of a content filtering software. Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy and Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering were the two companies tasked with the development of the Green Dam Youth Escort content-filtering software.
According to local media reports, the lack of funds has forced one of the developers, Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy, out of the project. "We indeed lack funds. We cannot keep on operating any more after a one-year bitter struggle," Chen Xiaomeng, the general manager of Dazheng, told ChinaDaily.com. The other company is also unlikely to continue working on the project if the current situation persists.
Internet users living in China won't be forced to install the controversial Green Dam Internet filtering software after all, said China's industry minister Li Yizhong. The software will, however, still be installed on computers at schools and in Internet cafes, said Li.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Li contends the software was always intended to be optional. But previous plans required the Internet filtering software be installed on all computers sold in China. That plan was delayed indefinitely in June following strong opposition from China's estimated 300 million Internet users. There were also reports of security holes that could potentially allow hackers to gain remote access to PCs with the software installed.
The Green Dam software also drew criticism after it was discovered that more than just pornography was being blocked. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Green Dam restricted access to webpages containing words related to Falun Gong, a semi-religious movement that has been branded a cult by the Chinese government, PC World reports.