13 Jul 2010 13:43

Green Dam's operations status uncertain

Shanghai. July 13. INTERFAX-CHINA - China's state media reported on July 13 that the Beijing software support team responsible for maintaining the government-mandated Internet-filtering software Green Dam Youth Escort has been dissolved due to a lack of funds, while another Green Dam support team in Zhengzhou, Henan Province is on the brink of closing for the same reason, leaving more than 20 million users without after-sales service.

Green Dam's Beijing support team is run by one of its two developers, Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy Ltd., while the team in Zhengzhou is run by Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering Ltd.

According to a report in the Beijing Times, Green Dam's 30-member Beijing support team was terminated at the end of June. The report went on to note that Chen Xiaomeng, general manager of Beijing Dazheng, said that in 2009 the Chinese government spent a total of RMB41.7 million ($6.15 million) to procure Green Dam software services for the 2008-2009 period, paying Beijing Dazheng RMB19.9 million ($2.94 million) and Zhengzhou Jinhui RMB21.8 million ($3.22 million). The two companies have not received payments since, Chen claimed in the report.

In July 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) stipulated that all computers sold in China must pre-install Green Dam software. After strong opposition, MIIT altered course in August 2009 and mandated that the software would only be required in computers used in public areas such as schools and Internet cafes.

When contacted by Interfax on July 13, a Beijing Dazheng employee surnamed Jiang denied the reported closures and terminations.

An employee at Zhengzhou Jinhui, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Green Dam's Zhengzhou office was open and operating as usual.

No one at MIIT was available to comment when contacted by Interfax on July 13.