Censorship

Censorship / Most Viewed

The U.N.'s Threat to the Net

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, writing in The Washington Post, declared that it is a "mistaken notion" that the U.N. "wants to 'take over,' police or otherwise control the Internet." Unfortunately, neither the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the WSIS' Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) or the Secretary General's column give comfort to those committed to cyber-freedom. more

Ethiopia Shows That Congress Is Right to Be Worried About UN Control of the Internet

Today a key committee in the US Congress approved a resolution opposing United Nations "control over the Internet." While some in the Internet community have dismissed the bipartisan effort as mere political grandstanding, recent actions by some UN Member States show that lawmakers have good reason to be worried. Last month, UN voting member Ethiopia made it a crime -- punishable by 15 years in prison - to make calls over the Internet.  more

Saudi Arabia Objects to Certain Proposed New gTLD Strings Such as .Gay and .Wine

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has objected to a number of proposed new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including .porn, .sexy, .wine, .bar and .bible, according to records of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). "Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion. The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures," says Saudi Arabia's Communication and Information Technology Commission. more

European Court of Justice: Courts in EU May Not Order ISPs to Filter Out P2P

The European Court of Justice has ruled that content owners cannot ask ISPs to filter out illegal content. The ruling could have implications for the creative industries as they attempt to crack down on piracy. The court said that while content providers can ask ISPs to block specific sites, wider filtering was in breach of the E-Commerce Directive. more

China Tightens Internet Control in the Name of Fighting Porn, Piracy, and Cybercrime

As the year draws to a close, China's blocking of overseas websites - including Facebook, Twitter, and thousands of other websites including my blog - is more extensive and technically more sophisticated than ever. Controls over domestic content have also been tightening. People who work for Chinese Internet companies continue to complain that they remain under heavy pressure... more

Catalan Referendum Sites Blocked by Court Order

Websites associated with the upcoming referendum in Catalonia are being blocked by ISPs in Spain. While several of the domain names used by advocates of the Catalan referendum have been seized by authorities others are being blocked by the ISPs in Spain. For those of us outside Spain the blocking has zero impact on us, so we can see the sites without any issue, but for users in Catalonia, ISPs are blocking access. more

Russians Not So Eager to Embrace Cyrillic Domain Names

Clifford J. Levy of the New York Times reports: "[Russian] computer users are worried that Cyrillic domains will give rise to a hermetic Russian Web, a sort of cyberghetto, and that the push for Cyrillic amounts to a plot by the security services to restrict access to the Internet. Russian companies are also resisting Cyrillic Web addresses, complaining about costs and threats to online security." 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

Free, Slow, Censored Internet: A Bad Idea

The FCC is looking for an organization to provide free, slow, and censored Internet access. The censorship apparently would include email as well as websites. According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal: "Outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing for action in December on a plan to offer free, pornography-free wireless Internet service to all Americans, despite objections from the wireless industry and some consumer groups [nb. and from me]... The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for a free Internet service [nb. the WSJ hasn't got that part quite right]." 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

Please, Keep the Core Neutral

Many in the technical community attribute the rapid growth and spread of the Internet to innovation that took place at the "edge" of the network, while its "core" was left largely application neutral to provide a universal and predictable building block for innovation. It is this core neutrality that provides a basis for the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. And it is this same core neutrality that is critical to the continued spread of the Internet across the Digital Divide. Unfortunately, when the politics of censorship rather than solely technical concerns drive the coordination of these "core" Internet resources, it threatens the future security and stability of the Internet. This paper proposes a paradigm upon which all the governments of the world have equal access to these core Internet resources to empower them and their citizens with the rights acknowledged in the WSIS Declaration of Principles. more

China's Censorship Arms Race Escalates

Last week the China Digital Times reported that a photo (shown in the post) has been making the rounds in Chinese blogs and chatrooms. It is an image of a "computer science float" for Thursday's National Day parade, onto which somebody has photoshopped a screenshot of the Internet Explorer error message familiar to anybody who has ever tried to access a blocked website in China: "This page cannot be displayed." 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

Reading Tea Leaves: China Statement on Internet Policy

The Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China has issued a statement on "Internet Policy in China." Released Tuesday, the lengthy statement covers a range of topics from promoting internal development and use, to freedom of expression, protecting Internet security, and international cooperation. A quick review reveals two interesting passages relevant to global Internet governance. more

GoDaddy Announces Plans to Stop Domain Name Registrations in China

World's largest domain name registrar, Godaddy.com Inc., today announced that it will no longer offer chinese domain name (.cn) in reaction to China's increasing intrusion on registrants. "GoDaddy is the first company to publicly follow Google's example in responding to the Chinese government's censorship of the Internet by partially retreating from the Chinese market," Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) told the Washington Post in a statement. "Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." more