Feeds

Amnesty takes a strike against web censorship

Campaigns to uphold internet freedom of speech

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The worldwide movement of activists who campaign for internationally recognised human rights launched a campaign on Sunday to challenge what it calls the increasing governmental censorship of the internet.

In conjunction with The Observer newspaper and multimedia art company Soda Creative, Amnesty set up the Irrepressible website as a flagship for the campaign.

"The web is a great tool for sharing ideas and freedom of expression," the group states on the new website.

However, efforts to try and control the internet are growing in countries like China, Iran, Myanmar, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Syria and Vietnam, it said.

"People are persecuted and imprisoned simply for criticising their government, calling for democracy, and greater press freedom or exposing human rights abuses online," the Irrepressible.info site states.

The campaign urges people who operate websites or send emails to include a "badge" that contains some of the censored information. These badges can be copied and pasted from the Irrepressible.info website.

The badge "contains a fragment of web content that somebody somewhere has tried to suppress", Kate Allen, the British representative for Amnesty International, wrote in an Observer article published on Sunday. The emails with attached "badges" will then circulate the censored writings around the globe and thwart efforts to suppress certain information.

Amnesty is urging people to petition governments to cease censoring the web. It also urged technology companies not to facilitate such activities. Information technology companies "have helped build the systems that enable surveillance and censorship to take place", Amnesty claims.

The Irrepressible website cites Yahoo! as an example of an email provider which has supplied confidential user information to the Chinese authorities resulting in suppression of freedom of expression, and even jail terms.

Amnesty claims Microsoft and Google have also complied with Chinese requests. In a recent visit to Dublin soon after Google unveiled its Chinese search site, Google's "Internet Evangelist" Vint Cerf told ENN that the company's hidden success had been allowing Chinese users to know when information they requested had been censored.

"It's amazing the Chinese government let us do that," he said, adding that Google had to be sensitive to local laws to protect locally-based employees from prosecution

Amnesty works with the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), which publicises internet censorship. ONI members include the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, the Advanced Network Research Group at the University of Cambridge and the Oxford Internet Institute.

ONI documents patterns of internet filtering and surveillance worldwide. Reports on 11 countries show "the scope, scale and sophistication of numerous filtering regimes worldwide", it said.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
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
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.