US firm sues China over Green Dam code

Posted by Emma Woollacott

One of the first developers of an internet porn filter is suing the Chinese government, claiming it misappropriated its technology for use in the Green Dam censorship project.

CyberSitter is seeking over $2.2 billion from the government, and is also suing Sony, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba and Asustek, which it alleges distributed more than 56 million copies of the pirated software. It alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy.

The company further claims that the Chinese Ministry of Health made thousands of attempts to take over its computers, and that fake emails were used to try and trick employees to give away information.

According to the FT , the Los Angeles lawsuit may not get very far, as it is almost impossible under US law to sue foreign governments.

The short-lived Green Dam project saw the Chinese government  announce that every PC sold in the country would have to include filtering software. While it was presented as an effort to reduce pornography, the filters also screened out an enormous amount of political content.