Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Global Internet Censorship On the Rise 185

Posted by Zonk
from the shout-if-you-can-hear-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "State-led internet censorship is on the rise around the world. According to a study conducted by the Open Net Initiative and reported by the BBC, some 25 of 41 countries surveyed were filtering at least some content. Skype and Google Maps were two of the most often-censored sites, according to the article. 'The filtering had three primary rationales, according to the report: politics and power, security concerns and social norms. The report said: 'In a growing number of states around the world, internet filtering has huge implications for how connected citizens will be to the events unfolding around them, to their own cultures, and to other cultures and shared knowledge around the world.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Global Internet Censorship On the Rise

Comments Filter:
  • Big deal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corrie (111769) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:18AM (#19178373)
    Governments have done this with newspapers and other media for ever.
    • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Funny)

      by eln (21727) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:19AM (#19178401) Homepage
      Yah, but this is the Internet. It's Censorship 2.0!
    • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lilomar (1072448) <lilomar2525@gmail.com> on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:24AM (#19178469) Homepage
      Just because something has always happened, doesn't make it right.
      The reason this is different is that we aren't talking about newspapers, or television, or whatever, we are talking about The Internet. The Internet belongs to the people, not to the government, or, as some would like to make it, to big business. It is Ours.

      And we want it to stay that way.
      • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:34AM (#19178633)

        It's ironic that you wrote this just as I was writing the post below it about how some people's illusions are about to be shattered.

        Please stop and think about this. Who owns the vast amounts of hardware infrastructure that have been created to support it? Who defines the standards and protocols on which it is based? How does an individual gain access to the Internet? If the Internet really belongs to the people, why do governments and commercial organisations dominate the answer to every one of those basic questions?

        • by lilomar (1072448)
          What I meant was "Idealistically, the internet belongs the the people..."
          I realize that the actual control by the people is decreasing everyday (see TFA) but we need to do our best to keep it for ourselves as much as possible.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by LiquidCoooled (634315)
            What happens when wireless routers become so widespread that your message can get around the world without ever touching a government/big corp network?
            • by Aladrin (926209)
              I assume this is sometime AFTER people all start to hug each other and install firmware that lets them link their wireless routers together in a network WITHOUT that very same infrastructure you are trying to avoid.

              And that's completely forgetting the amazingly limited bandwidth of wireless routers. If I want to download a movie from Russia, and traverse the wireless network to get it (how'd it get over the ocean?) then I would be maxing out the bandwidth of every router along the way. That's fine as long
              • by Gordonjcp (186804)
                Before your 'wireless world' dream comes anywhere close to reality there will be something completely different to replace it.

                You know that some of the fastest ARPANet links in the early days were blazingly fast 2400-baud modems, right?
          • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:54AM (#19178933)

            Fair enough. However, in that case, I can't help noting that most things run "by the people" do have some degree of order associated with them, in the form of governments and legal systems. At least in principle, these represent the interests of the people as a whole; being run for the people does not imply anarchy.

            Right now, it is precisely the lawless nature of the Internet (in that it is unreasonably difficult to enforce accepted laws there, even when pretty much everyone agrees they are reasonable laws) that leads to problems like spam, defamation, phishing expeditions, and all the other bad stuff that I'm sure everyone except those benefiting personally could happily live without.

            My argument in discussions like this has often been that trying to protect the Internet in its current state is not the best way forward, because its current state is broken in some fundamental ways, and support from more traditional government and laws will help to combat some of that abuse. What we should be doing, IMHO, is campaigning for principles like freedom of information and due process to be considered as relevant for everyone on the Internet as they are in many countries already, so that whatever common system of regulation and government ultimately does come out of it, the fundamental principles are fair and reasonable.

            There is no question in my mind that a completely open system like the Internet will come to be more regulated, whether everyone likes it or not, for the same reasons that societies have developed laws to preserve order. What concerns me is that along with that regulation should come the same protection of individual rights and freedoms that free societies have also developed to avoid their laws becoming too restrictive.

            • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Friday May 18, 2007 @11:27AM (#19180295) Homepage

              Right now, it is precisely the lawless nature of the Internet (in that it is unreasonably difficult to enforce accepted laws there, even when pretty much everyone agrees they are reasonable laws) that leads to problems like spam, defamation, phishing expeditions, and all the other bad stuff that I'm sure everyone except those benefiting personally could happily live without.

              It is *precisely* the "lawless" state of the internet today that makes it useful as a tool for freedom (and flexible as a basis for building things).

              Spam is a technical problem with the design of the SMTP protocol, and a really interesting social issue re: the appropriateness of push marketing in any medium designed for 1 to 1 personal communication. But, rather than trying to fix technical problems with laws, let's let SMTP as it is continue to die it's slow death.

              Defamation is nothing new to the internet. You could always distribute anonymous pamphlets about people. Sure, more people can participate in both reading and writing, but the effect will go down as more people realize that talk is cheap. More importantly, Defamation is in no way an important enough issue to consider restraining the essential liberty that is freedom of communication.

              Phishing and other scams are no more interesting to me than pickpockets in open air markets (where that sort of thing is common). Sure, it sucks when you aren't prepared and lose your wallet - but all the locals will correctly just laugh at you and tell you to be more alert next time. There will always be people out to scam you / take your stuff - one of the key skills to operate in human society is to avoid being the victim. I give the pickpocket example for a very good reason - this isn't a new class of problem, it's been solved, and it isn't the government's responsibility to protect you from everything.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                It is *precisely* the "lawless" state of the internet today that makes it useful as a tool for freedom (and flexible as a basis for building things).

                The Internet is useful as a tool for freedom? Do you really, honestly believe that more benefit is gained by those advocating freedom using the Internet in its current form than by governments using it as a tool to monitor their citizens? I'm not so sure. And in any case, I rather suspect that the kind of freedom you're talking about, which might be affecte

                • Throughout human history, the greatest threat to life and liberty has been not terrorism, but the power of the state.

                  You have this in your sig, and yet you argue that the state should be given the tools to control our communication?

                  Once you consider what the state can do with those tools - restrain political discourse - I don't see how it's possible for an ethically aware individual to consider issues like defamation, scams, and spam as good enough to even consider giving the state that power. Without fre

                  • Please read my posts in this thread again, very carefully. At no point have I argued (intentionally, at least) that government should have carte blanche to restrict communications. But in a sense, that is beside the point I am currently trying to make anyway.

                    Most of my arguments in this discussion relate to holding people responsible for those actions they are able to take. That principle applies just as much to the executive branch as it does to someone abusing the freedom of the Internet, and the judgem

                    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

                      Put another way, you seem to be concerned with what people can do. In contrast, I accept that governments will always be physically able to impair communications if they disregard any legal restrictions on them, and I accept that someone sufficiently determined and willing to pay any price will probably always be able to circumvent any restrictions. I am therefore more concerned that when either group's actions are reviewed under due process afterwards, justice should be done for all involved.

                      We disagree i

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      First, I think that if there are censorship methods in place all that stands between governments and restraining political speech is one legal restriction, we've already failed. They'll ignore that restriction without a second thought because all they have to do is use a tool that they have in place. If we prevent them from installing that set of tools, then we at least have a chance to see what they're doing and respond before it's too late.

                      But you speak as if "government" is a single, unified entity.

                    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

                      If a nation's government is united enough and willing to break their own laws on protecting human rights, I rather doubt they'll care about "the PR disaster associated with directly breaking the Internet".

                      You seem to have far too much respect for the effectiveness of law, and far too little realization of how frequently government actors are willing to ignore the law to further their personal agenda. Consider the NSA internal spying controversy in the USA: that was blatantly illegal, there were even speci

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      You seem to have far too much respect for the effectiveness of law, and far too little realization of how frequently government actors are willing to ignore the law to further their personal agenda.

                      Not really, I just accept that a government prepared to sidestep its own laws is probably as willing to develop the tools for this kind of surveillance covertly as to employ them illegally. If the checks and balances of government aren't working, then there are bigger problems than monitoring what the people

        • When you build a home, you have to go through the city, obey zoning laws, get permits, get it built according to building safety standards, etc. It is no less YOUR home for it. With censorship you are regulating USAGE - someone is telling you what you can and cannot do with your property. IMO, this devalues the ownership in and of itself; would you pay the same price for a house if you couldn't sleep in it?
        • Government owns most of the libraries, but the content of the books belongs to all humanity. This is no different.
      • by Bent Mind (853241)

        The reason this is different is that we aren't talking about newspapers, or television, or whatever, we are talking about The Internet.

        I don't understand the difference you see here. Just because computers are now being used to distribute information doesn't mean the information is magically protected. This argument reminds me of several patent debates where some company thought adding an 'E' at the beginning of the product name made it an innovative product.

        People have been trying to control the distribution of information since humans learned to communicate. Before paper and pen, people had their tongues removed to censor their speech

    • Re:Big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:27AM (#19178547)

      Governments have done this with newspapers and other media for ever.

      To varying degrees, yes. I think the main news here is that some people's illusions are about to be shattered, because for some reason they thought this couldn't happen on the Internet.

      I can't count how many debates I've had on Slashdot, where the other guy relied on something like Internet anonymity or hosting dubiously ethical content offshore to back up an argument. Sometimes the reasons were legitimate, and I was arguing that they should be more afraid of government or big corporate intervention making things worse. Sometimes it was more the other way around, as they flippantly argued that their "right" to defame someone anonymously (or to copy music illegally, or...) could not be stopped, as if the Internet is some all-powerful weapon of the people against oppressive governments everywhere.

      IMHO, it would be better for all concerned if the reality was clearer, and I think this sort of eye-catching statistic makes it very clear indeed that the Internet isn't some brave new world, and for better or worse it will always have risks and opportunities similar to those of any other communications medium. We should regulate (or not), legislate (or not), standardise (or not) and seek international co-operation (or not) accordingly.

    • by ricebowl (999467)

      Governments have done this with newspapers and other media for ever.

      This is true. And there's always a way around the censorship, so 'big deal,' eh? I've got to say that yeah; it is a big deal. Every time your speech or other communication is curbed arbitrarily it reduces the ability of every person to enhance their lives. Whether impeding science, religion or philosophy it doesn't matter. But every speech has the capacity to help someone affect change in their lives.

      Though that's a fairly sweeping statement it's one I believe to be true and, this being Slashdot, I'd hop

    • This study by the Open Net Initiative [opennet.net] is a very big deal. Look at the countries identified to be censoring the net. They include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burma/Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

      From this list, we can conclude that Asia really has only 3 Western nations: Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Neither Singapore nor Sout

    • Unrestrained access to/creation of information can be just as bad as filtering it.
  • by parvenu74 (310712) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:22AM (#19178443)
    I emailed a Chinese colleague to get his comment on this story -- but the link is blocked. Oh well...
  • The ideas set forth in the First Amendment of the US Constitution should ideally apply to all citizens of the world. Discuss.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mibalzonya (1072126)
      How 'bout they apply to the citizens of the USA?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tempest451 (791438)
      Absolutely. You can throw out any rational you want to justify censorship, but outside the need for national security, it's just plain wrong. China has big sign on there internet access that says, "Thank You for not Discussing the Outside World!". Control of information is still the best way to control a population.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Alien Being (18488)
        "outside the need for national security"

        What makes nations sacred? Who gets to decide what constitutes a threat to national security?
    • by umStefa (583709) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:32AM (#19178607) Homepage
      The ideas of the US Constitution (not just the 4th amendment) where based upon the philosophical ideals of Europe at the time. These ideas have largely been accepted by the WESTERN world as the ideal standard of living (with some notable exceptions such as the right to bear arms).

      It is important to note that the social norms of many cultures are not compatible with western ideals. This causes conflict when the west tries to use its power (economic and military) to force its ideals on the rest of the world. The irony is that one of the most powerful ideas expressed by the US constitution that has been adopted by the western world is the concept of freedom of choice (association, religion, expression are all choices we make). By forcing western values on the rest of the world we are in effect violating them ourselves by not giving other cultures a choice.
      • It is important to note that the social norms of many cultures are not compatible with western ideals. This causes conflict when the west tries to use its power (economic and military) to force its ideals on the rest of the world. The irony is that one of the most powerful ideas expressed by the US constitution that has been adopted by the western world is the concept of freedom of choice (association, religion, expression are all choices we make). By forcing western values on the rest of the world we are in effect violating them ourselves by not giving other cultures a choice.

        Look closer. We aren't exactly sending in the B-52s to airdrop loads of McMuffins, LOTR DVDs, sneakers, and twinkies onto the Noble Primitive Peoples who are Honoring the Sacred Traditions of Their Ancestors. It's a pull situation much more than a push. Western culture, simply put, is addictive.

        It's the Noble Primitive leaders that don't like this, because the Sacred Traditions are invariably religious-authoritarian.

        From over here we only hear about people bewailing Western culture, but we aren't hearing the real opinions of the Noble Primitive People themselves.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Applekid (993327)
          "We aren't exactly sending in the B-52s to airdrop loads of McMuffins . . . and twinkies onto the Noble Primitive Peoples who are Honoring the Sacred Traditions of Their Ancestors."

          Chemical weapons are against the Geneva Conventions, aren't they?
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          We aren't exactly sending in the B-52s to airdrop loads of McMuffins, LOTR DVDs, sneakers, and twinkies onto the Noble Primitive Peoples who are Honoring the Sacred Traditions of Their Ancestors.

          Yet, did you not read the deleted sections of the released documents from the US govt on the last story.

          Dick chaney wanted to carpetbomb Iran with girls gone wild DVD's and Shakira CD's.
          • Dick chaney wanted to carpetbomb Iran with girls gone wild DVD's and Shakira CD's.

            Yet when I torrent them, the MPAA is all over me about it...

      • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:57AM (#19178957) Homepage
        Indian women today are better off because General Napier had the gall to impose his culture on Indian men who thought it was perfectly natural to burn a wife alive when her husband died. Today, Indian women don't have to worry about being lit up like a firecracker because their husband bought the farm. How many normal Indian women would seriously say, "damn that British fascist for not allowing our men to incinerate perfectly healthy Indian women like they were kindlin?"

        Part of the Western tradition is a belief that there is a natural law, and that this law dictates many things that other cultures don't respect. It is a religious belief in many respects, but it is the idea that there is a universal order that mandates liberty, accountability and peace, rather than subordination of the individual to the herd.

        The world would be better off if American soldiers in Iraq strung up the men involved in honor killings from the nearest object capable of lynching a man, if it castrated and otherwise humiliated those who engage in female circumcision and if it did similar acts of "cultural imperialism." Why? Because no one ever gave these victims a choice whether or not they wanted to be oppressed, tormented, mutilated and murdered.
        • by SQL Error (16383)
          Napier's commentary is always worth revisiting:

          You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
          Not all customs are equal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spun (1352)
          It is counter productive to make your argument in terms of natural laws or natural rights. People will debate your definition of natural. Rather, put it in terms of self interest. These things are only "natural" because they have evolved to work. If they really are natural, these so-called laws or rights will be in an individuals enlightened self interest.

          I'm also tired of the individualist vs. collectivist argument. There is a complex feedback system tying individuals and societies together in an interdepe
          • Your "solutions" appeal to the primitive, emotional side of humanity. They feel good, but they create the very thing they purport to work against.

            Funny you should say that. According to evolutionary science, behavior is regulated by appealing to an animal's survival instinct and/or its ability to reproduce. It thus stands to reason that if you want to stop a behavior like honor killings, which is extreme enough on many levels to need an extreme reaction, that "you kill her, we kill you" is the fastest way

            • by spun (1352)
              You don't know my type. Violence is appropriate for immediate defense. Not for modifying behavior. If there is a whole body of evidence that violence dissuades crime or modifies behavior, perhaps you could provide a reference. Ghandi encouraged his society to eschew violence, and things turned out pretty well for India.

              You are making the "is-aught" logical error, by saying that the way things are is the way they should be. You are making the more fundamental error of assuming your premises are true, that vi
          • by SQL Error (16383)

            You can go on and on about how people are already free, and don't need anyone to make them so. Which is all well and good until the bad men with weapons come and you are all alone, prattling on about your rights. Rights only exist outside of theory when put into practice by communities willing to defend them.

            Wrong.

            Rights are innate. Anything that is not innate is not a right.

            Thus, freedom of speech is a right, but freedom from hunger is not. You are born with the right to speak freely... although it takes

            • by spun (1352)
              Yeah, that line of reasoning works well in theory, but in practice you have only the rights you are capable of upholding. To uphold your rights against a more powerful individual or group, you also need a group. So as I said, you can prattle on all you like about your rights, when the men with weapons come, if you are without a society to uphold those rights, you are fucked.

              The other problem with the concept of innate rights is that anyone is free to interpret rights however they wish. There is no external,
              • by Luyseyal (3154)

                The death penalty is just state sanctioned revenge killing, which is both morally unjustifiable and ineffective from a pragmatic standpoint.

                Most parolees of violent offenses end up back in prison. By your argument, we should just set them free because prison is ineffective from a pragmatic standpoint. The point of prison is to keep the bad guys off the streets, give them a chance to reform, and to mete out justice (a high-falutin' term for "revenge", "what goes around comes around", "you get what you de

                • by spun (1352)
                  Huh, what? That's a flawed analogy. Keeping them in prison keeps them from committing crimes, it's letting them out without properly rehabilitating them that creates repeat offenders. If people have no legitimate means of ensuring their survival by contributing to society, they will resort to crime. Ex cons often have few legitimate means of survival, society needs to address that point if it wishes to cut down on recidivism.
                  • by Luyseyal (3154)

                    Huh, what? That's a flawed analogy. Keeping them in prison keeps them from committing crimes.

                    No it doesn't. They commit crimes aplenty against other inmates, guards, etc. Worse, their hopeless, amoral mentality in a permanent captive environment creates a demand for protection rackets such as prison gangs and fosters sex slavery and rape. These things do not stay isolated among prisoners. When subordinates get out of prison, they often carry on these behaviors at large. Remember the black guy that was d

        • Part of the Western tradition is a belief that there is a natural law, and that this law dictates many things that other cultures don't respect. It is a religious belief in many respects, but it is the idea that there is a universal order that mandates liberty, accountability and peace, rather than subordination of the individual to the herd.

          Sooo by your logic it is equally acceptable within the norms of the so-called "Western Traditions" to divide people based on racialist concepts of "Martial race [wikipedia.org]" and "Non-Martial Race", cause famines that killed millions [wikipedia.org] and prevent "N---ers" from public gatherings [wikipedia.org] or walking on roads?
          Why is it that all of this High and Mighty western egalitarianism vanished in the case of the Rwandan genocide (where the west did practically nothing) and the Apartheid Regime in South Africa? No oil involved, eh?
          Gee th

      • by king-manic (409855) on Friday May 18, 2007 @10:34AM (#19179541)
        By forcing western values on the rest of the world we are in effect violating them ourselves by not giving other cultures a choice.

        Cultures aren't some delicate flower than can be crushed when a more popular once rolls around. It's a dynamic thing. Cultures aren't equal and aren't universally valuable. They are secondary traits of large groups of people. They will naturally mutate and hcange over time, drawing bits of neigboring cultures and dominant cultures into themselves. Those that are dying should problably die. Some cultures are more productive, more robust, more attractive and it's up to those who exist within that culture to ensure it survives. Culture aren't human beings. They are body of ideas. They should have no rights.
    • by parvenu74 (310712)
      In practice, ideas set forth in the First Amendment of the Constitution aren't even guaranteed to Americans anymore. Read the USA PATRIOT act recently? All it's going to take to loose even the illusion of rights in this country is another 9/11 type attack. Whether you believe Muslims were behind 9/11 or not, the sequel is coming and after that any attempt to invoke the 1st amendment will be met with mindless new-speak like "The 1st amendment doesn't apply in a post-post-9/11 world!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Why not? After all the US is enforcing their laws on other countries' citizens [slashdot.org] already, why should they not also gain the benefits from the US Constitution as well?
    • Don't agree! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Friday May 18, 2007 @10:13AM (#19179199)
      I must respectfully disagree. I'm a German, and Germany has placed considerably limits on so-called "free speech"; and I'm fine with that. Why should I give holocaust deniers and nazi propagandist the right to be heard? And please don't trot out the old canard of "they'll be after your free speech next" - those limits have been in place since about 1946, and I don't know of any case when they were abused to censor other political speech. Feel free to enlighten me with examples to the contrary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chandon Seldon (43083)

        Why should I give holocaust deniers and nazi propagandist the right to be heard?

        You covered the most common argument. The second most common argument is this: If you let them make everyone familiar with their arguments, have the public discussion, and show everyone that they're wrong then many will accept their very well developed and sophisticated arguments when they make them in private.

        My argument is much simpler. You can't impose censorship without necessarily censoring the meta-discussion about that

      • by SQL Error (16383)

        Why should I give holocaust deniers and nazi propagandist the right to be heard?
        The point of the First Amendment is that that people have the right to speak. There is no intrinsic right to be heard.
      • by Aldur42 (1042038)
        "I disagree with what you are saying, but I would fight to the death to defend your right to say it."
      • Re:Don't agree! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by computational super (740265) on Friday May 18, 2007 @11:04AM (#19179977)
        Why should I give holocaust deniers and nazi propagandist the right to be heard?

        H

        How 'bout you tell me why they shouldn't? Do you really think that Germany is a swarming mass of anti-Semitism, just waiting for a leader to come along and light the fire of the Fourth Reich? I would like to think that most Germans would be a tad offended by your implied sentiment - that if they heard a bit of Nazi propaganda, they'd start rounding up the Jews. We have Nazi propagandists here in America, and we don't censor them - we laugh at them (not that we're a shining beacon of freedom or anything ourselves; we just "get it" when it comes to political speech).

        Let's try: Why should I give (fill in the blank) the right to be heard? Because it's a right - a fundamental right, just like the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold those truths to be *self* evident - that means they don't need to be justified. If your "culture" disagrees, then your culture is wrong.

  • O Rly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:27AM (#19178541)

    The filtering had three primary rationales, according to the report: politics and power, security concerns and social norms.
    If Skype is one of the most frequently filtered, then it's also about money. To me, this implies the telco's are able to exert pressure on governments as well as ISP's to either limit or block Skype traffic outright.
  • i just finished reading this on another article [technologyreview.com]. what a coincidink!

    /me shoots self in the face for saying coincidink
  • Gee... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:31AM (#19178601) Journal
    It's sure too bad we didn't turn the control of the Internet over to the UN, like you guys all wanted...
    • by Otter (3800)
      Furthermore, I'd note that most of the countries (Zimbabwe and Cuba, for example) that you geniuses were convinced wanted to improve domain name registration are far more restrictive than many of the names on this list (South Korea, Thailand). I can't find the total set of countries that were included in this study, but I'd guess that "in which testing could be done safely" probably excluded a bunch of them.
    • Re:Gee... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday May 18, 2007 @10:12AM (#19179181)

      Please spare us your random, unsupported UN-bashing. Right now, under US leadership, (a) the censorship is widespread (as TFA demonstrates), and (b) the US-based authorities have demonstrated a willingness to impose their own values on others (the .xxx domain to give one obvious example). How exactly could having the Internet under UN control be worse on either count?

      • by bogjobber (880402)
        the US-based authorities have demonstrated a willingness to impose their own values on others (the .xxx domain to give one obvious example).

        .xxx isn't a TLD. Maybe if "they" would've succeeded you might have a point.

        • I think you missed my point. Go read why .xxx still isn't a TLD, despite the reasonable arguments made in favour and the relatively widespread support, and perhaps you'll understand.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:35AM (#19178655) Homepage Journal
    It's axiomatic that the web will eventually become a weapon of tyranny. Through selective censorship and the general sense that it's so unreliable from an accuracy perspective and therefore easy to manipulate and spin, the web will be used for agendas and the geek era will be over.
    • The part that concerns me most is that the historical record is now impermanent. Unlike physical media (paper) it's possible to alter historical perspective.

      Editing archived articles is easy and has been done for many reasons, some of which I'm sure could be attributed to censorship/tyranny.
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        'is not impermanent' ... ? ALWAYS WAS. Where was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought? I'll give you a hint: It wasn't Bunker Hill.

        Yes, we know that the history media lied about this and it's not 'permanent' record. How many other things were changed because they sounded better, or gave an advantage? How many were changed YEARS later and word of mouth made the false version more prominent, and therefore more accepted?

        The ability to change a single website is absolutely no different than the ability to cha
    • It's axiomatic that the web will eventually become a weapon of tyranny.
      An axiom is a statement that cannot be deduced from known facts... so in that sense, yeah.
  • The genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Censorship simply causes the information to flood fill to other areas. Increasing censorship gives more TOR, more freenet, more "open proxies" etc.

     
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday May 18, 2007 @09:42AM (#19178755)
    There is another aspect to this - instead of blocking, some governments monitor. By monitoring, they can profile people who either openly oppose the regime du jour and then arrest/detain/harass as they wish.

    Carnivore would be an example here. The new leaning on ISPs for user records. Requiring archiving of all activity. Or just silently copying and keywording all traffic.

    In some ways, monitoring is more dangerous and insidious than censorship as it allows building cases against perceived "enemies" of the state.
    • In some ways, monitoring is more dangerous and insidious than censorship as it allows building cases against perceived "enemies" of the state.

      So you're saying censorship is bad for enemies? How can that be not good for a country? In the whole censorship thing there is just a BIG conflict of interests. Some people like doing many things that are not legal, but not immoral. And they fear of their own government that they will be screwed. Some other just like privacy for no concrete reason. On the other side,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not sure I follow your comment. What I was saying is that with censorship, people's access to "forbidden" information is simply blocked - though records could certainly be kept and monitored of the attempts to access. Sure it is censorship but the point is to merely deny access to information.

        However, monitoring is allowing free access but keeping tabs on the activities. Basically giving the citizenry the rope to hang themselves with.

        In some cases, monitoring can be used to find terrorists and tru
  • Does anybody know why they block that? I can't imagine it is that useful for coup-planning or something like that.
  • Where did the study come from?

    It chose 41 countries for the survey in which testing could be done safely and where there was "the most to learn about government online surveillance". ...

    Countries which carry out the broadest range of filtering included Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, the study said.

    Huh. So, you pick 41 autocracies, find there's some web censorship, and conclude that *web* censorship is on the rise.

    Just the sort of story /. would re

  • "The filtering had three primary rationales, according to the report: politics and power, security concerns and social norms"

    That's four rationales.
  • Governmental control of the populace.

    Anything else is just an excuse to get public support in turning in their rights.
  • ..it works as well here as for the domain Hilbert was targeting.

    "We must know. We will know." - David Hilbert, 1900
  • Don't Censor Me.
    I'm the AACS key.
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 wants to be free.

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.

Working...