Feeds

This is how a government-filtered internet looks

Quite dull really

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

There been alot of argument in Tunis during the World Summit over the fact that the government filters internet access to remove websites it doesn't like.

We thought we'd show you what it looks like if you're on the end of it. As such, here is a screengrab of the Swissinfo.org site as seen from the Tunisian perspective. It is a fake 404 page, implying that the site doesn't exist.

SwissInfo.org blocked

It does of course, except by using a piece of software from US company Secure Computing, called SmartFilter, the Tunisian internet agency ATI can click it out of existence - at least for its own citizens.

The Saudi Arabian version of this internet filtering, which uses the same software, is more honest about its approach and replaces the 404 message with a "Forbidden Content" page.

All ISPs in Tunisia are forced to run their traffic through ATI, which then watches where its citizens go and checks out what is on the other end. If it doesn't like what it sees - usually criticism of the government - it simply blocks the site altogether.

There are a large number of sites it does this to, including Reporters Sans Frontieres (www.rsf.fr), Tunisian opposition political party CPR (www.cprtunisie.com), and Tunisian human rights organisation LTDH (www.ltdh.org), but the one that caused the biggest ruckus this week was Swiss news website Swissinfo.org, which was added to the list while the summit was still going on because it printed details of its president's speech. The speech was very critical of the Tunisian's government censoring and, ironically and inevitably, was itself was censored across Tunisia.

This whole process, incidentally, is extra-legal. That is, there is nothing in Tunisian law that allows the government to do this, and it continues to pretend that it offers a "free and open internet" to its citizens.

But, it would seem from having toured around the Tunisian version of the Internet for a few hours that you need only worry about being effectively wiped off the map if you are writing in French (and possibly Arabic).

There are al ot of Tunisians, especially among the young, that speak enough English to broadly understand what is being said, but it seems that the censors at the ATI haven't benefited from the same education and English websites have so far escaped the Net (pun intended). And so the Internet finds another way around efforts to control it. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.