Internet Censorship Around the Globe
Depending on where you live, free and open access to the information and entertainment found on the Internet might seem like more of a right than a privilege. But for folks who live in some of the world’s more restrictive societies, some or even most of the Internet remains tantalizingly out of reach, blocked by government censors and their firewalls.
The majority of such Internet censorship is employed in the name of combating software piracy and other types of illegal file sharing (including torrents and file hosting sites such as New Zealand’s controversial Mega.co.nz). It’s interesting to note, however, that while such traffic is actively condemned by both governments and intellectual property advocates alike, corporations such as Netflix are using torrent activity to help them plan their own (legal) offerings.
Another justification for widespread censorship and monitoring of legal content (including torrents, political and social media, and yes, pornography) is state-enforced morality. Countries engaged in this sort of censorship often claim to be looking out for the welfare of their citizenry, but critics are quick to point out that the countries with the most censorship are often the same ones with a history of aggressively suppressing public protest or political unrest.
If you’re taking a trip around the world and plan on accessing the Internet (including basics such as email and social media) while you’re on the road, you may need to review and adjust your itinerary if it includes heavily-censored countries such as Eritrea, China, Somalia, or the famously secretive and regulated North Korea. Torrent users—even those who rely on the embattled tech to share legitimate, legal files—might find themselves out of luck no matter where they go.
It’s not just moral or intellectual outrage that’s driving censorship, of course. With the issue of Net Neutrality dominating news in the tech sector, the specter of another form of censorship—selective or restricted access based on corporate policies, as compared to government intervention—has reared its troubling head. Regardless of the form, it’s clear that equal and open access to the Internet is something no one can afford to take for granted any longer, and that the discussion of how much—if any—of the Internet can or should be censored will continue far into the future.
- Era of digital mercenaries – surveillance.rsf.org
- Internet censorship listed – theguardian.com
- Burma (Myanmar) – opennet.net
- Freedom on the net – freedomhouse.org
- New Internet censorship rules take effect in Gaza – jpost.com
- Freedom House Georgia – freedomhouse.org
- Internet Freedom Plummets in India – indiarealtime
- Freedom House Indonesia – freedomhouse.org
- Freedom House Kazakhstan – freedom house.org
- Kazakhstan’s social networking restrictions spur censorship debate – washingtontimes.com
- North Korea: On the net in world’s most secretive nation – bbc.co.uk
- Net freedom under fire in Kyrgyzstan – netprophet.tol.org
- Freedom House Libya – freedomhouse.org
- Oman – opennet.net
- Syria – Reporters without Borders
- Syria – surveillance.rsf.org
- Internet Censorship in Dubai and the UAE – plenz.com
- New Study on Internet Censorship and Political Activism in Uzbekistan – techpresident.com
- Vietnam announces big fines for social media ‘propaganda’ – reuters.com
- Internet filtering in Yemen – opennet.net
- Internet Censorship in Southeast Asian Countries – saigonist.com
- Freedom House Cambodia – freedomhouse.org
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