Friday, May 18, 2007

Internet censorship around the globe

The Associated Press reports that at least 25 countries world wide block websites to residents. The types of sites researchers found most often blocked you ask?

"...China, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam had the most extensive filters for political sites. Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen had the strictest social-filtering practices, blocking pornography, gambling and gay and lesbian sites.

In some countries, censorship was narrow. South Korea, for instance, tends to block only information about its neighboring rival, North Korea.

Yet researchers found no filtering at all in Russia, Israel or the Palestinian territories despite political conflicts there.

Governments generally had no mechanism for citizens to complain about any erroneous blocking, with Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates being among the exceptions..."

It seem like the United States should be added here as well, with access to Youtube and Myspace recently cut off for military personnel, various levels of filtering depending on your work place, and country wide battles over internet access rights in public libraries.

EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), working to protect digital rights, is a wonderful resource. Check out their legal guide for bloggers.

Interesting tidbit: 25% of UK work force is without internet at work. They get around it by using their mobile phones. Thanks


Alicia said...

Luckily, I have never had to deal with work internet restrictions - but I don't think it is completely unreasonable to do so. Banning any sort of personal email is ridiculous but banning pornography - eh not as ridiculous (unless of course your job relates to internet std notification!). Military restrictions are stupid and public library - I am not sure. I guess who is to say what people should and should not look at, but at the same time I would feel really uncomfortable in a library if some dude sitting next to me was watching hardcore porn.

Phalligator said...

I believe that in SF if somebody at a public library complains that the person using the internet next to them is looking at porn, then the complainer is moved and the porn-er left in peace.

Alicia said...

That makes sense to me. As long as the person looking at porn is not doing anything else inappropriate - who cares what they are looking at - and anyway why are you looking at their screen? :)

Phalligator said...

Exactly! perv.

dallas said...

I've been following this because one of my favorite blogs - - gets censored all over the world. They tend to do a lot of first person reporting from areas where we don't get very good media coverage and funnily enough, many of the places they cover end up censoring the site. Very sad. And that doesn't even begin to cover Google and China...