Censorship

Censorship / Most Commented

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

Internet Companies in Negotiations for Agreement on Code of Conduct in China

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, in negotiations with other Internet companies and human rights organizations, have reached an agreement on a voluntary code of conduct for activities in China and other countries that censor the Internet. The participants are reviewing the agreement for final approval. more

GIFC Offers Software Tools to Overcome Internet Censorship in China

Reporters covering the Beijing Olympics who are frustrated by Chinese Internet censorship can use free software tools developed to help Chinese users circumvent these controls, according to a representative of a group that develops such software (see related press release). "It's a very good time remind Western reporters that there are such tools," said Tao Wang, director of operations for the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC), adding that some Western reporters based in China routinely use the group's tools. more

International Olympic Committee Admits to Internet Censorship Deal with China

In follow up to China's Internet spying and censorship during the Olympics, today's reports indicate that some officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had made prior arrangements to allow China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access. China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked, Nick Mulvenney of Reuters reports. Updated 7/31/2008 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

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

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

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

Tight Control Over Domain Names Will Damage The Internet

BBC is running a commentary by Bill Thompson today arguing that the Internet's core architecture should be kept open both technically and in terms of freedom of expression -- such as the introduction of new top-level domains. Giving every interest group, lobbying organisation and corrupt government a veto is what ICANN needs to avoid, says Bill Thompson. From the story: "ICANN is currently making some decisions that will have a massive impact on the net over the next few years, and we need to make sure that it takes into account the wider feelings of the whole community instead of responding solely to pressure from established interest groups..." more

ICANN: Keep the Core Neutral, Stupid

ICANN's travelling circus is meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week. One of the main subjects of discussion has been the introduction of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), after a GNSO Report [PDF] proposed 19 "Recommendations" for criteria these new domain strings should meet -- including morality tests and "infringement" oppositions. ...It's important to keep ICANN from being a censor, or from straying beyond its narrow technical mandate. The thick process described in the GNSO report would be expensive, open to "hecklers' vetos," and deeply political... ICANN should aim for a "stupid core"... more

Put Free Expression on the Internet Governance Forum Agenda

The Internet Governance Project has joined free-expression advocacy organizations Reporters Without Borders and Article 19 to push for including Internet censorship and filtering problems on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a multistakeholder deliberation body created by the World Summit on the Information Society... more

Controlling Cyber Dissidents?

Blogging is not only a well-established element of pop culture, it has become a tremendously influential communications mechanism. As early as March 2002, an article in Wired discussed the blogging "revolution" and declared that blogging "could be to words what Napster was to music - except this time, it'll really work." more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the first part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Confronted with Internet governance many cyber activists find themselves in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand they do not trust government bureaucrats to run the Internet, out of a justified fear that regulation through multilateral negotiations might lead to censorship and stifle innovation. On the other hand they criticize the corporate agendas of the engineering class that is anything but representative. What models should activists propose in the light of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? There seems to be no way back to a nation state 'federalist' solution. Should they buy into the 'global civil society' solution?" more