Censorship

Censorship / Featured Blogs

Skype Messes Up, Badly

The Open Net Initiative's Information Warfare Monitor project has published a stunning report by "Hacktivist" Nart Villeneuve titled: "Breaching Trust: An analysis of surveillance and security practices on China's TOM-Skype platform." It has been covered by both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal... more»

How Rise in Nationalism and Industry's Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from IFTF.org. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more»

ICANN Takes First Step to Becoming a Global Content Regulator

There has been wide coverage of ICANN's decision this week to adopt a new process for creating new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Publishing a clear, transparent and objective process is thought likely to result in a considerable expansion of gTLDs -- although nobody really knows whether this means "quite a lot" or "many thousands"... Less attention has been given to one of the new tests ICANN will use when considering whether to approve a new gTLD, contained in GNSO's sixth recommendation... more»

The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more»

Potential Danger Ahead for Registrants: dot-info Abusive Domain Use Policy

ICANN has posted a request by Afilias for a new registry service in relation to "abusive" domains in dot-info. While in general the proposal is motivated by good intentions, the devil is in the details. While most folks (including myself) probably care very little about the .info TLD, my concern is that any bad implementation in .info might be copied or used as a precedent in other more important TLDs, in particular .com run by VeriSign. more»

Chinese Internet Research Conference: Getting beyond "Iron Curtain 2.0"

At last week's Chinese Internet Research Conference, much discussion of the "myths and realities" of the Chinese Internet revolved around images, metaphors, and paradigms. In his award-winning paper titled The Great Firewall as Iron Curtain 2.0, UPenn PhD Student Lokman Tsui argued that "our use of the Great Firewall metaphor leads to blind spots that obscure and limit our understanding of internet censorship in the People's Republic." more»

Knowing Less

The announcement yesterday morning in the Times that New York State AG Andrew Cuomo had reached an agreement with three US network operators (Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner) about blocking child pornography was both less and more important than it appeared. It's less important in that part of the agreement covers something ISPs already do... more»

Censorship: A Threat to the Stability and Security of the DNS?

Censorship practices by governments and other private actors are becoming more increasingly more sophisticated, and their effects are increasingly being felt globally. A case in point, the YouTube incident in Pakistan was a recent example affecting both users and the DNS at a national and global level. Likely other incidents will occur in the near future. As such, I believe censorship should be considered as a threat to the stability and security of the DNS. In the context of Internet governance discussions, I believe the issue should be raised both at ICANN and the Internet Governance forum. Do others agree? more»

NSI: "Don't Taunt Them, Kill Them"

Clearly whatever it is that Dutch politician Geert Wilders wants to talk about in his film is going to be the end of the internet. The news that Network Solutions decided to pre-empt his use of a domain name registered through them for the purpose of promoting his film need not be re-hashed here. However, before bemoaning yet another registrar freely deciding, as is its right, with whom it chooses to do business, it's important to look at the big picture. No, it is not "censorship" for Network Solutions to decide how it wants its services to be used... But, perhaps we might understand Network Solutions policy more clearly by looking at domain names registered through NSI... more»

Business in the Hotseat over Net Censorship

My weekly technology law column focuses on the growth of Internet censorship and the accompanying pressure on the business community to do something about it... China's censorship system may be the most extensive, but it is not alone. The University of Toronto's OpenNet Initiative, a world leader in tracking state-sponsored Internet censorship, recently co-published Access Denied, a book that highlights its pervasive growth. The book notes that some countries control all public Internet services, thereby creating an easy pipeline to implementing filtering technologies. Countries such as Syria have sought to chill access to the Internet by requiring cybercafe owners to record the names and identification cards of clients... more»