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Internet Censorship Around the World

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 04:51 PM

As the Internet has evolved, so too has its censorship. In the beginning, many believed that censoring the Internet was impossible, since networks were to designed to adapt to major disruptions and simply route around any barriers—including intentional ones. However, countries like Singapore, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran found ways to leverage the design of their network infrastructure to make filtering possible, and more and more countries began to follow their lead, including both countries known for their repressive regimes and those with long traditions of democracy and free speech. Great Britain censored child pornography, France blocked hate speech, and the U.S. seized domain names and blocked access to their content due to allegations of intellectual property infringement. Iraq even shut down Internet access for the entire country to prevent cheating on national exams.

Not only are there a diverse range of reasons for censorship, but there are also a variety of censorship methods that have been used around the world. Let’s dive into several examples that illuminate the complexity, variety and difficulty of using technical methods to censor the Internet.

China's great firewall
Brazil Blocks WhatsApp’s IPs
Turkey’s Stepwise Censorship of Twitter
How Censorship Went Wrong in Pakistan
Proxy Servers and Unintended Consequences in the UK

1. IP blocking
2. DNS poisoning and hijacking
3. Keyword filtering

An Uncertain Future

During its short history, the Internet has evolved into an incredibly powerful tool for disseminating information and organizing movements around the world. On the other side, a number of national governments have accomplished what many thought was impossible—manipulating network infrastructures to pave the way for Internet censorship. The Internet’s increasingly large role in political, cultural and legal affairs has transformed it into a new, digital battleground, often for protesting citizens and their governments. In the coming years, it will be fascinating to watch as both sides push the Internet to new heights beyond what it was ever intended to do.


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 05:21 PM


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 05:24 PM


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 06:39 PM

Map: Internet Censorship Around the World

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:16 AM

Welcome to new era of global digital censorship

It’s dangerous to ask tech companies to decide what’s legitimate free speech.

France has proposed banning so-called fake news during the country’s future elections, while in Germany, new hate speech rules impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that don’t delete harmful content within 24 hours of being notified.

The growing push to control what can be published online will again take center stage this week when the European Commission publishes its biannual report Thursday on how Facebook, Google and Twitter are handling the hate speech lurking in social media’s darker nooks and crannies. (The likely outcome: EU policymakers will complain that companies aren’t doing enough, and threaten them with more regulation.)

Not to be outdone, U.S. lawmakers are also getting in on the action, with Congress expected to rake tech executives over the coals Wednesday for dragging their feet when clamping down on extremist and terrorist material. (Congress already berated Big Tech last year for allowing Russian-backed content to be widely shared online during the 2016 U.S. election).


Facebook censored me. Criticize your government and it might censor you too.

This was not the first time Facebook erased an iconic image that the U.S. government would be happy to see vanish. Facebook likely deleted thousands of postings of the 1972 photo of a young Vietnamese girl running naked after a plane dropped napalm on her village.  After coming under severe criticism last year, Facebook announced that it would no longer suppress that image. Unfortunately, Facebook is unlikely to disclose a list of the images it bans. Because most Americans are clueless about current events and recent history, they will have little idea of what vanishes into the Memory Hole.

Zuckerberg also promised last month to continue working “to ensure our community is a platform for all ideas and force for good in democracy.” But the Facebook vision of democracy does not include freedom of information. Facebook instructs its employees that “we will not censor content unless a nation has demonstrated the political will to enforce its censorship laws.” But in such cases, Facebook happily teams up with heavy-handed politicians to crush dissent and suppress heretical notions.

In Turkey, India, Pakistan and Morocco, Facebook routinely suppresses comments from regime opponents. Facebook cooperates closely with the Israeli government and “Palestinian groups are blocked so often that they have their own hashtag, #FbCensorsPalestine.”


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#6 status - Goast

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 09:36 AM

How will Facebook, Google and Twitter define the "Hate" they plan to censor?
What is “hate,” as defined by leftists, the very community from which these curators hail?
In his post announcing the decision, Zuckerberg said that the company is “making a major change to how we build Facebook … from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
The manifesto is filled with the type of Orwellian language characteristic of an authoritarian regime. The changes are motivated, Zuckerberg explains, by “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.” By demoting news content and emphasizing posts from friends and family, Facebook will ensure that its users “feel more connected and less lonely,” and the overall effect will be “good for our well-being.”
In other words, Facebook knows what is good for you, and it is not news and information about the state of the world. Such “public content” will be increasingly removed from Facebook news feeds, while those news posts that are shown “will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
In the dictatorship envisioned by Orwell in his book 1984, Big Brother and his apologists in the media use “Newspeak” to paper over the perpetual state of war and dictatorship by turning things into their opposite: war is peace. In Zuckerberg’s “Funspeak,” the suppression of people's ability to transmit information is described as an effort to “bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.” Censorship in the guise of a Hallmark greeting card.
Zuckerberg states, moreover, that Facebook “started making changes in this direction last year,” that is, censorship has already begun. The World Socialist Web Site has observed that over the past six months, content posted on Facebook, particularly videos, have a significantly lower reach than in the past, while readers have reported having their own posts of WSWS articles flagged as “spam.”
This shift is the outcome of a campaign led by the Democratic Party and the US intelligence agencies. In coordination with media outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post, they have developed a neo-McCarthyite argument that Russian influence in US politics, primarily through the mechanism of social media, has corrupted “American democracy” and is “sowing divisions” within the country—an argument taken up by Germany, France and other states.
Facebook Says It’s Deleting Accounts For The U.S., Israeli, & German Governments — This Is Just The Beginning
Facebook also recently deleted the Facebook and Instagram accounts of the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, simply because the U.S. government decided to place him on a list of people that should be sanctioned.
Now, don’t get me wrong, to the best of my limited knowledge this guy is a very bad person, but just because the U.S. government says someone should be sanctioned does not justify censoring them, for the obvious fact that the U.S. government has a long history of deception and corruption — as well as supporting dictators, drug lords and even terrorists — and thus simply cannot be relied upon to be the arbiter of Truth.
Germany’s government has taken even greater repressive steps towards imposing censorship; On January 1st The German Network Enforcement Law (NetzDG) was passed, which allows the authorities to censor any website they claim is involved in the spread of “hate speech,” or “fake news“. Social media outlets that do not obey the government’s demands, to have content removed within 24 hours (7 days for more “complex cases“), will be fined up to to €50 million (roughly $58 million).
Google Is Hiring 10,000 Additional Human Censors
Google announced last month that it will be hiring an additional 10,000 human censors to police “problematic content” online. While this will most certainly be done under the auspices of fighting terrorism, hate speech, and the usual stories — and in many instances I presume they will — I know from first hand experience it will also be used as a tool of indirect censorship.

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:31 PM

All You Need to Know About Internet Censorship in Iran
Western media has been picturing Iran as one of the countries with heavy internet censorship. But if you dig more you will find out that basically, every country and many social media websites have internet censorship.
Before I go through the strategy of censorship in Iran let me shed some light on the origin of censorship. When we get to the Iran part you may find many similar concerns. That might change your perspective about Iran, since the western media has drawn a dark image out of Iran while in their home country there is a lot to be concerned with. Of course, I’m not all in for all the policies that we have in Iran right now, but in the past four years, a lot has changed in terms of internet policies and a lot has to be accomplished.
It all began in the USA
Internet censorship is the control of what can be accessed, published or viewed on the internet. According to National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), The first country which passed the first Federal law on internet censorship was the USA. These are some of the laws that concern with internet censorship:
    1996: Communications Decency Act (CDA)
    1998: Child Online Protection Act (COPA)
    1998: Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
    2000: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
    2000: Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
    2008: Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)
    2016: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
After a year, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down most of the CDA is an unconstitutional restriction on internet speech. Pay attention that some laws are crucial for society such as laws regarding the children and their safety. These were just the laws that have passed in the senate. But there are many proposed federal legislations that have not become law including:
    Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA)
    Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act
    Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)
    Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
    Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA)
    Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)
    USITC Site Blocking
Even back in 2008, the popular social networking website MySpace agreed to work with the attorney generals of 49 states plus the District of Columbia to come up with a plan to combat material considered harmful minors, including pornography, harassment, bullying, and identity theft to better educate parents and schools about potential threats online and to work with law enforcement officials and to develop new technology for age and identity verification on social networking websites.
Censorship by institutions and companies
Looking at Iran
Supreme Council of Cyberspace
Working Group on Identifying Criminal Content 
White list
Different demographics need different types of policy

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:38 PM


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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:46 PM

Why would governments control the net?
Many governments have a problem with the fact that there is only one global Internet with technically no geographic or political borders. For the end-user, it makes (apart from a delay of a few milliseconds) no difference if a Web site is hosted in the same country or on the other side of the world a reality often delightful for Internet users and deeply alarming for states. Internet censorship, inspired by hopes of re-imposing geography and geographic distinctions, can occur for many reasons.
Adapting a classification from the Open Net Initiative (http://opennet.net), we can describe some of these reasons as:
Political reasons
Governments want to censor views and opinions contrary to the respective country's policies including topics such as human rights and religions.
Social reasons
Governments want to censor Web pages related to pornography, gambling, alcohol, drugs and other subjects that might seem offensive for the population.
National security reasons
Governments want to block content related to dissident movements, and anything threatening national security.
In order to ensure that information controls are effective, governments may also filter tools that enable people to bypass Internet censorship.
In the extreme case, governments can refuse to provide Internet service to the public, as in North Korea, or can cut off the Internet throughout their territory during periods of public protest, as happened briefly in Nepal in 2005, and in Egypt and Libya in 2011.
Control can be aimed at both access providers and content providers.
Governments can submit access providers to strict control, in order to regulate and shape Internet traffic, and enable surveillance and monitoring upon Internet users within the country. This is also a means to block global content that has been made available from abroad. For example, the Pakistani government asked local ISPs to block access to Facebook in May 2010 in order to block access to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that had been made available on the social networking site, as they had no control over the content provider Facebook.
Governments can request content providers, such as in-country Web site editors, Webmasters or search engines to forbid and block access to certain kinds of content and services deemed offensive or dangerous. For example, local Google subsidiaries have been requested to remove controversial content in a couple of countries (such as in China, before March 2010, when it redirected search engine activities towards Google Hong Kong).
Geographic context
Users in different places may have widely varying experiences of Internet content controls.
In some places, your government may be legally constrained from filtering or decide not to filter content. You may be monitored by your ISP so the information can be sold to advertisers. The government may have required ISPs to install monitoring (but not blocking) capabilities in their networks. The government may make a formal request for your browsing history and chat logs, or may store information for later use. It will try not to attract attention as it does this. You face threats from non-government actors, such as computer criminals who attack Web sites or steal personal financial information.
In some places, ISPs may use technical means to block some sites or services, but the government doesn't currently appear to track or retaliate against attempts to access them, or appear to operate a coordinated Internet content control strategy.
In some places, you may have access to local services that are a fair match for foreign services. These services are patrolled by your ISP or government agents. You may be free to post sensitive content, but it will be removed. If this happens too often, however, the penalties may become more severe. Restrictions may only become obvious during politically charged events.
In some places, your government may filter most foreign websites, especially news. It exercises tight control over ISPs to block content and keep track of people creating content. If you use a social networking platform, efforts will be made to infiltrate it. The government may encourage your neighbors to spy on you.
Personal context
Governments have a range of motivations for monitoring or restricting different kinds of people's online activity.
Activists: you may want to improve your government or are seeking a new one. Perhaps you want to reform a particular segment of society or work for the rights of minority groups. You may want to expose environmental issues, labor abuses, fraud, or corruption at your place of work. Your government and employers are going to be unhappy about this no matter the time of year, but they may put more effort into monitoring you if they suspect that there will be protests in the streets soon.
Bloggers: you may want to write about everyday life, but some people are silenced because of ethnicity or gender. Regardless of what you have to say you're not supposed to be saying it. You may be in a country with mostly unrestricted users, but your opinions are not popular in your community. You might prefer anonymity or need it to connect with a support group.
Journalists: you may have some of the same concerns as activists and bloggers. Organized crime, corruption, and government brutality are dangerous subjects to cover. You may need to protect yourself and any activists who become sources of information.
Readers: you may not be politically active, but so much content is censored that you need circumvention software to get to entertainment, science, and industry periodicals. You may want to read a Web comic or browse the news about other countries. Your government may ignore this until it has some other reason to monitor you.
The most commonly blocked Internet resource used to be sexually explicit material; today, it is social networking platforms. The growing international popularity of social networking sites has turned millions of Internet users around the world into potential victims of censorship.
Some social networking sites are popular at a global level, such as Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, while others have a large number of users in a given country or region: QQ (Qzone) in China, Cloob in Iran, vKontakte in Russia, Hi5 in Peru and Colombia, Odnoklassniki in CIS countries, Orkut in India and Brazil, Zing in Vietnam, Maktoob in Syria, Ameba and Mixi in Japan, Bebo in the UK, and others.

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#10 Ghostly Machines

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:16 AM


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