Official CNNIC sued on hooligan software charges
By Guo Qiang (
Updated: 2006-10-10 15:47

China's official Internet information governing body, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has become the latest target in a nationwide anti-hooligan application spree as the Beijing-based Anti-Hooligan Software Federation lodged a lawsuit against it in Guangzhou, southern province of Guangdong, the Beijing News reported on October 10.

The campaign by the federation also includes lawsuits against Yahoo! China,, Baidu, Alibaba, Ebay, Qianxiang, China's high-profile Internet profiteer. A total of 130 hooligan application makers are faced with lawsuits, state media reported.

The CNNIC is accused of installing its application without informing Internet users beforehand. It is also difficult for users to uninstall the software completely from their operation systems.

The federation is demanding a symbolic 94 yuan (US$12) in compensation and a public apology to the massive group of Internet users in China.

The number of Internet users in China has reached 123 million, trailing just behind the United States, previous state media reported. However, so-called 'rogue' applications have become a headache for millions of Internet users.

'Rogue' applications include adware (which pumps out massive volumes of advertisements), spyware, (which monitors the browsing habits of computer users), trackware (which traces user's private information), and malicious shareware (which contain posing viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, and similar problem programs).

Most 'rogue' applications install themselves without the user's knowledge, destabilize the operating system, and are very hard to completely erase from the computer system. The organization is following yahoo! China and in claiming its self-created software are tools that help Internet users surf the web more easily.

"CNNIC supports the nationwide campaign by the federation and the media to fight against hooligan software," the governing body said in a statement obtained by the Beijing News.

"However, CNNIC's applications are free from hooligan software during installation, uninstallation and user functions, in accordance with the rules set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)."

IETF, the authoritative body of Internet operation has published regulations for applications.

The IETF describes an Internet Standard as " a specification that is stable and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple, independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet. "

"Our application respects Internet users' rights, including the right to choose and knowing the truth, " CNNIC says, adding that if the software cannot be thoroughly removed from the computer system it must be other hooligan applications created by other companies that are affecting the process.

Rampant hooligan software in China proves the untapped potential of the world's second-largest netizen population.

The applications are always used to promote websites and lure Internet users to link to sites showing lurid content or promising get-rich-quick schemes. Meanwhile, some Chinese websites have resorted to the software to create false data on the numbers of hits it receives, according to a report carried by the Xinhua News Agency.

"A software producer can easily make 100,000 yuan a month," state media reported.