Skip to comments.Around 25 Nations Filter the Web, OpenNet Initiative Study finds
Posted on 05/19/2007 5:59:20 AM PDT by Valin
On Friday, researchers at the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) released a report that said that censorship of the Internet is very much on the rise. At least 25 nations have blocked access to Skype and YouTube either for political or cultural reasons. Truly, the World Wide Web is not as worldwide as it used to be.
OpenNet Initiative, a collection of four high-profile universities and 50 researchers in several locations worldwide announced a list of countries that are using filtering to block citizen access to the Internet. OpenNet Initiative is a project of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and Toronto universities.
China, Syria, Iran, Burma and Vietnam were the six countries who are most blatant about filtering the Internet for political content. In fact, China, Vietnam and Pakistan disguised censorship with fake network error messages.
When it came to social content, the Middle East seemed to be a hotbed for Internet censorship. Other nations that are blocking social content over the Internet are Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
According to John Palfrey, executive director of Hardvard Law Schools Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Online censorship is growing in scale, scope and sophistication around the world, which is not surprising, given the importance of the medium.
It was surprising to know that Russia, Egypt and Algeria did not filter Internet access at all. Besides, nations such as Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, which are incidentally hotbeds of violence, have no online filters whatsoever.
The research group found that some filtering was specific in a few countries. For instance, South Korea focuses all Internet censorship on one subject- North Korea.
North Korea along with Cuba was not studied because of security worries. Surprisingly, Europe and the United States were not in the report, solely because their filtering is done in the open by private companies.
Last month, Thailands Pantip Political Web Forum was banned by the Thai Government for security reasons. Although it wasnt mentioned in the research, a growing number of countries are filtering specific areas of the Internet. For instance, it was reported just last week that Canadian government employees are totally banned from using FaceBook, the social networking Web site, on the job that is.
Those countries have been filtering information for decades, why would the internet be any different?
Not just Porn, Egypt (just to name one county) has been cracking down on bloggers for a while now the government is not happy with some of what they are wring about Hosni Mubarak.