Censorship

Censorship / Featured Blogs

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»

Wikileaks Calls for Boycott of Domain Registrar eNom

In the aftermath of the shutdown of Wikileaks.org by a court order issued at the request of Swiss Bank Julius Baer, Wikileaks has called for the boycott of registrar eNom. eNom is best known as the domain registrar that complied with the federal government's order to shut down a Spanish travel agency because it did business with Cuba -- the agency was not under U.S. jurisdiction and so was hardly violating U.S. law, but their domain was registered in the United States, and that was good enough for the feds. more»

Don't Register Your Domain in the U.S. if it's Controversial

In the news lately have been a number of incidents where U.S. courts, or the U.S. government itself has ordered domain registrars to shut down free speech. First was the E360 vs Spamhaus case, in which accused spammer E360 Insight sued anti-spam organization Spamhaus for labeling them as spammers and won by default when Spamhaus insisted that U.S. courts did not have jurisdiction over them in England and didn't appear. Unfortunately, U.S. courts did have jurisdiction over Spamhaus' domain registrar, who was nearly ordered to shut Spamhaus down (a court order was under consideration). Fortunately, Spamhaus was able to move their registration overseas before any shutdown order could be issued... more»

Take Down Order by California Court Raises Issues of Censorship and Free Speech

The internet is abuzz with commentary about a recent case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California concerning the web site wikileaks.org, a "website dedicated to leaking documents that are "anonymous, untraceable, uncensorable." Time Magazine allegedly described the site by stating that it "could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act." The case certainly raises important issues concerning First Amendment Rights, censorship and freedom of speech. The case involves the alleged posting of private internal documents of Bank Julius Baer & Co and its bank customers... more»

Unbridled Discretion and Prior Restraint: The Verizon and Comcast Stories

Let's say that providing communications infrastructure is an inherent function of a state. Most people think of the internet as a telephone system, and most people think the telephone companies aren't supposed to choose which calls will go through based on their content. People think that because they think internet access, like telephone access, is a utility -- like electricity conduit, water pipes, etc. -- that has something to do with the government, and the government isn't supposed to discriminate. more»

A Packet of Lies

I've been reading the kerfuffle around Comcast's blocking of various random network protocols with interest. Whilst I remain convinced that blanket "network neutrality" legislation remains just a form of digital gripe water (cures colic for cybernauts), there's clearly a problem. As I previously alluded there's a definite consumer protection issue over what you buy when it says 'Internet' on the tin. So here's tuppence worth of additional input... more»