The question sounds ridiculous on the surface, but whether it’s the Great Firewall, the massive surveillance of users of instant-messaging service TOM-Skype, or now, this, China’s “Green Dam” Censorware Could Spawn a Zombie Network, China is capable of taking actions that have a big effect on the Internet. For example, wWhat would happen if hackers started exploiting poorly written software installed on millions of Chinese computers (e.g. like Green Dam) on a regular basis? Could it get so bad that the owners of the world’s biggest routers got together and decided to cut Chinese IP addresses from their routing tables, essentially dropping it from the Internet, in order to curtail the threat? That’s an extreme scenario, although not an impossible one.
In the end I suspect there will be some changes made to the Green Dam program. And while it will limit Chinese citizens, there will also be limits and work arounds found for it, just like there is for the Great Firewall (and likely the Skype software too).
In some ways Chinese restrictions are going to spur innovation on the Internet. The constraints they impose will lead to creativity. Perhaps instead of destroying the Internet, China will — intentionally or not — make it stronger.
(Photo is from jblyberg’s photostream on flickr.com).