Censorship

Censorship / Most Commented

Australia's Censorship Plan Reaching Dead End

Australian government's plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship has effectively been scuttled, following an independent senator's decision to join the Greens and Opposition (also see post on backlash) in blocking any legislation required to get the scheme started. The Opposition's communications spokesman Nick Minchin has this week obtained independent legal advice saying that if the Government is to pursue a mandatory filtering regime "legislation of some sort will almost certainly be required". more

Internet Control Without "Firewalls"

Open Society Fellow Evgeny Morozov and I have written an Op-Ed for Project Syndicate about how the future of Internet control is not "firewall" censorship but more subtle forms of manipulation and pressure. Recognizing that censorship is too heavy handed and imperfect to be successful on its own, the Chinese government's Internet strategy is placing increasing emphasis on corporate self-censorship... more

Distributed Reporting of Web Filtering

Today the Berkman Center announced a new project that might be of interest to readers. Since 2002 I've studied Internet filtering around the world, most recently as part of the OpenNet Initiative. Last year with support of the MacArthur Foundation we published "Access Denied," a study of filtering in about 40 states. Our work so far has been centralized... We're now complementing that effort with a distributed reporting system... more

US Supreme Court Rejects Online Child Protection Law

The U.S. Supreme Court today again refused to resurrect a federal law that required Web sites containing "material harmful to minors" to implement age-based access restrictions, presumably ending a 10-year fight over whether the law violated free-speech rights on the Internet. The court declined to hear an appeal that was filed by former President George W. Bush's administration, asking the justices to overturn a lower court's ruling against enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down COPA for the third time, saying that the law was a vague and overly broad attack on free speech. more

China's Latest Internet Crackdown

Seven different government agencies, including the Ministry of Public Security and the State Council Information Office declared war on Internet smut today. 19 Internet companies, including Google, Baidu, Sina, and others, were cited for "violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people."... Another Chinese language report, including video of a TV report with footage of computer servers being confiscated by police at an unknown location and unknown time... more

China Determined to Purify the Internet, Cracks Down on Google and Other Major Websites

The Chinese government broadened its recent effort to limit pornography on the Internet by criticizing 19 Internet companies by name Monday, including Google and Baidu, the providers of the two most popular search engines in the country. A statement posted by early Monday afternoon on a government-run news site said the Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies would work together "to purify the Internet's cultural environment and protect the healthy development of minors." A similar statement had been issued Dec. 5 but attracted little attention. more

British Cabinet Minister Proposes New Ratings System for Internet

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham says he believes that new standards of decency need to be applied to the web. He is planning to negotiate with Barack Obama's incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites. The Cabinet minister describes the internet as "quite a dangerous place" and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents "child-safe" web services. more

Thailand's Blacklist of Newly Banned Websites Leaked

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has released the list of newly blacklisted websites by Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The list was leaked by advisory board member CJ Hinke, director of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand, according the WikiLeaks website. From WikiLeaks' announcement: "The 1,203 blocked websites are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Vietnam..." more

China Internet Cafes Forced to Switch Computers Running Microsoft to Chinese Operating System

Authorities in the southeastern Chinese city of Nanchang are requiring all local Internet cafes to replace their Microsoft Windows XP operating systems with a Chinese-made system, Red Flag Linux, according to officials and Internet cafe owners. An official with the Nanchang Cultural Discipline Team, which oversees the roughly 600 Internet cafes operating in Nanchang city, said the new operating systems were mandatory. "We have already started installing the new software in all Internet cafes. All of them must have this new one," the official said. more

NTIA Seeks Nominations to Serve on the Online Safety and Technology Working Group

In the midst of the election season, Congress passed a plethora of Internet related laws. Most involved child protection. One involved webcaster protection. Wasting no time, the impact of the new laws is already being felt through federal agency implementation. On Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce released the following notice... more

Government Net censorship Plan Facing Backlash in Australia

As opposition grows against the Government's controversial plan to censor the internet, the head of one of Australia's largest ISPs has labeled the Communications Minister the worst we've had in the past 15 years. Despite significant opposition from internet providers, consumers, engineers, network administrators and online rights activists, the Government is pressing ahead with its election promise of protecting people from unwanted material, this week calling for expressions of interests from ISPs keen to participate in live trials of the proposed internet filtering system. Michael Malone, head of iiNet, Australia's largest ISP, said he would sign up to be involved in the "ridiculous" trials, just to show how impractical it is. more

The Global Network Initiative

After more than two years of work behind closed doors, the Global Network Initiative is launching this week. That's the corporate code of conduct on free speech and privacy I've been talking about in generalities for quite some time. By midnight Tuesday U.S. East Coast time, the full set of documents and list of initial signatories will be made publicly available at globalnetworkinitiative.org. more

New DPI Technology Allows ISPs to Inspect Every File, Image, and Movie Transmitted by Users

MSNBC reports that an Australian company, Brilliant Digital Entertainment Ltd., is marketing a new controversial deep packet inspection technology called CopyRouter in the U.S. cable of allowing ISPs to check every file passing through their network. More specifically, this technology can check "every image, every movie, every document attached to an email or found in a Web search," to see if it matches a list of illegal images from a law enforcement agency. more

Investigation Reveals Massive Security and Privacy Breaches Affecting Chinese Version of Skype

Canadian human-rights activists and computer security researchers have released a report on the extensive surveillance system in China that monitors and archives text conversations that include politically charged words. The research group, called Information Warfare Monitor, is a joint project of The SecDev Group, and the Citizen Lab, at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. The following are introductory excerpts from the study... more

Supposedly Private Meeting of China's Censorship Division and Wikipedia Founder

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has met with the Chinese government body in charge of censoring online content in the country. Cai Mingzhao, Vice Director of China's State Council Information Office in charge of China's "Internet Management Division" (censorship division), discussed Wales' concerns regarding censorship. Although no deals or agreements where made, it has been reported that the meeting has "opened a channel of communication and dialogue between the Wikipedia community and the Chinese government." more