Censorship

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Assault on State Censorship at the IGF

Knee-jerk UN haters in the US are fond of pointing horrified fingers at the presence of China, Syria and other authoritarian states whenever global governance is mentioned. See for example Declan McCullough's slanted piece in CNET. They might be surprised to learn that the UN Internet Governance Forum has opened the opportunity for a major assault on Internet blocking and filtering, and put repressive governments on the defensive by heightening awareness of the practice and pressuring them to justify it or change it... more

Why I Voted for .XXX

The ICANN Board voted today 9-5, with Paul Twomey abstaining, to reject a proposal to open .xxx. This is my statement in connection with that vote. I found the resolution adopted by the Board (rejecting xxx) both weak and unprincipled... I am troubled by the path the Board has followed on this issue since I joined the Board in December of 2005. I would like to make two points. First, ICANN only creates problems for itself when it acts in an ad hoc fashion in response to political pressures. Second, ICANN should take itself seriously as a private governance institution with a limited mandate and should resist efforts by governments to veto what it does. more

China Blocks Twitter, Flickr, Bing, Hotmail, Windows Live, etc. Ahead of Tiananmen 20th Anniversary

On Herdict, the global crowd-sourcing censorship-tracking website, people are reporting censorship of Twitter on networks all over China… with some people adding frustrated commentary, often including the f-word. You can also see blockage reports for Hotmail, Windows Live, Bing, Flickr, YouTube, Blogspot... more

2011 Domain Name Year In Review: Top 10 Biggest Domain Stories

Who would have ever believed that .XXX would finally be approved AND launched, total domains registrations would continue to grow at 10% year over year, ICANN would be in the process of preparing for the launch of new gTLDs in the face of harsh criticism, and that both Go Daddy and Group NBT would be acquired by private equity firms. As we look back over the past year, here are the top 10 biggest domain stories of 2011. more

Rape in the DNS

It took three years for ICANN to issue a breach notice to BizCn over the invalid WHOIS record behind RAPETUBE[DOT]ORG. Throughout the history of this absurd case ICANN staff would repeatedly insist the record had been validated and the registrar was compliant, regardless of extensive evidence proving otherwise. Despite a letter sent to ICANN's CEO and an investigation by the Washington Post, the Rape Tube stayed online. more

Just Another 'Black Box'? First Thoughts on Twitter's Trust and Safety Council

On Tuesday, Twitter announced the creation of the Trust and Safety Council, a body comprising 40 organisations and individuals from civil society and academia, tasked with "ensur[ing] that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter". The move is clearly a response to specific criticism of Twitter and its perceived inadequacies in dealing with hate speech -- a theme so popular and well-trodden that it recently spawned a parody account. more

China's MIIT Clarifies New Domain Name Regulations, Allays Concerns Over Government Interference

A recent clarification to draft domain name regulations by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) indicates greater engagement and openness with the domain name market, not a contraction as some had feared. Following the MIIT's announcement on March 25th 2016, the same Ministry issued a clarification on Wednesday March 30th stating that its new draft regulations will not affect any foreign enterprises or foreign websites from resolving in China. more

NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement Concludes Act One of 2014 Internet Governance Trifecta

On April 24th the NETmundial "Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance" concluded with the issuance of an eight-page statement. This non-binding document falls short of the "Magna Carta for the Internet" called for in an opening statement delivered by Tim Berners Lee, but it does set the stage for the other two major 2014 events that will affect the course of Internet Governance (IG) - the IGF meeting in Istanbul, Turkey and the ITU meeting in Busan, Korea. more

You Paid to Join; You Can Leave Anytime

Once upon a time, around 1998-1999, three of us were hired by APEC-Tel to study "International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services". APEC-Tel is a regular meeting of Pacific-nation telecommunications ministers. The impetus of the study was their consternation that connection to the Internet was being charged (paid for) in an entirely new way. The template of the old telephone settlement scheme had been overthrown. Those wishing to connect to the Internet, which was centred in the United States, were being forced to lay lines across the Pacific, pay landing rights in the United States or Canada, and pay further to connect to the Internet at the nearest negotiated peering or transit point. more

The Extent of DNS Services Being Blocked in China

The most recent episode of The Ask Mr. DNS Podcast offers up some disturbing corroborating evidence as to the extent of DNS filtering and outright blocking occurring in China. VeriSign's Matt Larson and InfoBlox's Cricket Liu, who co-host the geeky yet engaging and extremely informative show, held a roundtable discussion including technical experts from dynamic name service providers (better known as "managed DNS" services) DynDNS, TZO, No-IP, and DotQuad, as well as Google and Comcast. more

COICA and Secure DNS

As a strong proponent of the private right of action for all Internet endpoints and users, I've long been aware of the costs in complexity and chaos of any kind of "blocking" that deliberately keeps something from working. I saw this as a founder at MAPS back in 1997 or so when we created the first RBL to put some distributed controls in place to prevent the transmission of unwanted e-mail from low reputation Internet addresses. What we saw was that in addition to the expected costs (to spammers) and benefits (to victims) of this new technology there were unintended costs to system and network operators whose diagnostic and repair work for problems related to e-mail delivery was made more complex because of the new consideration for every trouble ticket: "was this e-mail message blocked or on purpose?" more

Iran's Internet Censorship Most Sophisticated in the World

Iran's political filtering during the recent 2009 presidential campaign and the role of the Internet in the post-election turmoil has brought a heightened level of attention to the country's Internet filtering system. According to a status report just updated by the OpenNet Initiative, the Internet censorship system in Iran has become one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated in the world. Iran and China are the only countries that aggressively filter the Internet using their own technology. Iran's aggressive filtering measures "have contributed to the implementation of a centralized filtering strategy and a reduced reliance on Western technologies," says OpenNet. more

The Catalonian Matter: Law and Order, Democracy and Freedom of Speech, Censorship and Trust

I'm an engineer, and I firmly believe that Internet matters and, in general, Information Society, should be kept separate from politics, so usually, I'm very skeptical to talk about those and mix things. Let's start by saying that I'm Catalonian. Despite the dictatorial regime when I was born, forbidden teaching Catalonian, I learned it, even despite, initially for family reasons and now for work reasons, I live in Madrid. However, I keep saying everywhere I go, that I was born in Barcelona... more

Questioning the Illusion of Internet Governance

I confess, I don't get it. Much has been written about the apparent desire by the United Nations, spurred by China, Cuba, and other informationally repressive regimes, to "take control of the Internet." Oddly, the concrete focus of this battle -- now the topic of a Senate resolution! -- is a comparatively trivial if basic part of Net architecture: the domain name system. The spotlight on domain name management is largely a combination of historical accident and the unfortunate assignment of country code domains like .uk and .eu, geographically-grounded codes that give the illusion of government outposts and control in cyberspace. more

Net Neutrality Is As Silly As So-Called Internet Governance

From the perspective of Internet security operations, here is what Net Neutrality means to me. I am not saying these issues aren't important, I am saying they are basically arguing over the colour of bits and self-marginalizing themselves. For a while now I tried not to comment on the Net Neutrality non-issue, much like I didn't comment much on the whole "owning the Internet by owning the Domain Name System" thingie. Here it goes anyway. Two years ago I strongly advocated that consumer ISP's should block some ports, either as incident response measures or as permanent security measures... more