Feeds

Net censorship growing worldwide

Control freaks

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Censorship of internet content is growing across the world. A survey by the Open Net Initiative (ONI) across 41 countries found that 25 applied content filtering to block access to particular websites.

Web applications such as Google Maps and Skype as well as "subversive" websites featured on content blocking lists. Five years ago only a "couple" of states were exercising similar controls, according to John Palfrey of Harvard Law School, one of the researchers who took part in the study.

"There has also been an increase in the scale, scope, and sophistication of internet filtering," he told the BBC.

"Few states are open about informing their citizens about internet controls. There's no place you can get an answer as a citizen from your state about how they are filtering and what is being filtered," Palfrey said, adding that filtering almost invariable happens "in the shadows".

The extent of filtering varies between countries, with those in the Middle East among the most restrictive regimes. Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen were among the states applying the heaviest use of the censor's "blue pencil". China, India, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand all apply controls, albeit to a lesser extent.

Academics from the Universities of Toronto, Harvard Law School, Oxford, and Cambridge who make up the ONI reckon there are three main rationales for internet censorship: politics and power, state security, and the enforcement of social norms (such as a prohibition of pornography in Muslim states). Censorship nearly always falls across multiple categories. Controls, once applied, are often expanded to cover a broad range of content and used to increase government control of cyberspace.

Use of internet filtering leaves citizens with a restricted view of events unfolding around them, as well as restricting their knowledge of the outside world. The ONI study noted the growing use of techniques and tools used to circumvent filtering.

"It's hard to quantify how many people are doing this. As we go forward each year we want to see if some of these circumvention technologies become more like appliances and you just plug them in and they work," said Jonathan Zittrain, professor of internet governance and regulation at Oxford University. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?