It's my understanding that the Green Dam censorship software to be included with all new, commercially produced PCs in mainland China is no more insidious than a simple parental control tool.
If I am understanding this news correctly, overseas PC manufacturers must include the software preinstalled on all PCs they ship for market in PRC that come with Windows already installed on the hard disk. Furthermore, domestic PC retailers must either have the software preinstalled on the PC if it comes with Windows on the hard disk *or* provide a copy of the program on a CD, to be distributed with new PCs. The program, moreover, once installed on Windows, can simply be removed via the Add/Remove programs dialog or even be temporarily disabled by the user without uninstalling.
Moreover, the software has no version compatible on *nix systems or OS X. It also seems that if it's just a regular Windows program, and doesn't have any `backdoor` coding to allow it to do more than described, as has been suggested by some, then isn't it easily removed by a simple reformat of the entire disk? That is, if we find out in the future that it cannot be completely removed via a simple uninstallation wizard.
If all of this is correct, then what exactly is its purpose? Why spend the money for development and distribution of such software? Wouldn't it be far more effective to simply bolster the IP, hostname, and DNS blacklists that ISPs must comply with?
Is it expected to actually work at all? Or is it a 100% symbolic gesture? I see no reason yet to believe that it is expected to have much of any practical effect at all, other than as an expensive and ostentatious metaphor.
I realise my question is vague, but the tl;dr version is what I wrote in the title: Is there even *supposed* to be any significant practical effect or is it completely symbolic?