China's internet-filtering program which is designed to help ensure Chinese internet users aren't looking at crude material may actually contain pirated code stolen from a U.S. software company.
U.S.-based Solid Oak Software said some of its code from CyberSitter has been found inside the Chinese internet-filtering program China hopes to use. CyberSitter's technology apparently includes a "list of terms to be blocked, instructions for updating the software, and an old news bulletin promoting CyberSitter," according to a recent Wall Street Journal news article.
University of Michigan researchers confirmed that a blacklist of terms is used by the Chinese-based software, though further independent verification is expected next week. Researchers also discovered several vulnerabilities that could lead to a user's PC being hijacked by using this new custom software that will be mandatory for all PCs sold in China.
The product from Solid Oak Software is designed to be a filter for parents to monitor and block sites their children may use, with the Chinese government effectively doing the same thing.
"That's impossible," according to Jinhui founder Bryan Zhang, responding to Solid Oak's accusations.
Solid Oak is unsure how to move forward, as it's unlikely company officials would be able to have any influence on the Chinese government.
China is well known for censoring and blocking content over the internet, though talks of this filtering software has drawn another round of criticism towards Chinese government officials. The country has more than 250 million internet users and has strict controls on what citizens may look at, with this latest software aimed at blocking out pornography and other illicit content, Chinese officials said.
Even though somewhat tech-savvy PC users are able to use internet proxies to view political sites and other content shunned by the government, the new software to be installed on PCs will keep the content blocked even if a person tries to use a proxy.