Earlier this year the Chinese government ordered all Chinese computers to have the Green Dam software installed. All new computers would have this intrusive bit of software loaded at the factory.
The government said the software was needed to protect young people from the dangers of pornography and other polluting influences.
What was clear to the rest of the world was that the main polluting influences Beijing was worried about were the free press from the rest of the world and other sources of information independent from the ruling Communist Party.
The software also allowed the government to more easily reach into an individual computer and roam around to see what “polluting” thoughts might be stored on an individual’s hard drive.
Complaints from human rights groups fell on deaf ears.
It wasn’t until a University of Michigan team looked at the software and discovered that it was stolen from a U.S. company that the Chinese government backed down. The team also discovered that the filters built into the program blocked the New York Times and the BBC web sites.
Now, it appears the Chinese government had help from a U.S. company.
According to Bloomberg, CBS Corp., through its Internet unit helped the Chinese government dispense the program.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, CBS Interactive is accused of “willingly” participating in the Beijing plan to give away tens of millions of Green Dam, which is based on pirated versions of CyberSitter, a program made by Solid Oak Software.