Cybersitter sues Green Dam creators for $2.2 billion


US parental control software firm Cybersitter has taken legal action to the tune of $2.2 billion (1.4bn) against the Chinese government, two Chinese software manufacturers and seven computer makers, including Sony and Toshiba.

The source of its objections is China's Green Dam Youth Escort program, a piece of web censorship software that Beijing last year said would be mandatory on all new computers in the country, before backing down after a public outcry.

Cybersitter says Green Dam illegally copied 3,000 lines of code from its filtering software, specifically accusing the group of misappropriating trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy. It officially filed the suit in a federal court in Los Angeles yesterday.

When Green Dam first came to light a year ago, Beijing claimed it was aimed at filtering out pornography and violence. However, experts alleged the program also denied access to politically sensitive material, was vulnerable to security breaches and collected private data from users.

There were allegations at the time that Green Dam used information from Cybersitter's blacklist files, but Jinhui Computer System Engineering, the firm behind the software, denied any wrongdoing.

However, Cybersitter is now ready to take official action, and Gregory Fayer a lawyer representing the firm told the Associated Press: "I don't think I have ever seen such clearcut stealing."

Fayer also claimed the evidence of copying was easy to spot, with the Green Dam code even including directions on how to get to the Cybersitter website.

The PC makers included in the suit are accused on the grounds of having distributed Green Dam with PCs sold in China. They are Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier.

Cybersitter says none of the defendants have been served as yet, while the Chinese government has also yet to officially respond.