Beat the Web Censorship Phenomenon June 16, 2008Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, News, Social Media, Trends.
Tags: censorship, Copyright, Web filtering
Thank goodness, for every state-of-the-art censor today, there are countless tricks to beat these guys. Here’s where the cat-and-mouse game gets creative.
PSSTT! Is your Web connection being censored? Wanna elude Big Brother? Would you prefer to stay anonymous, and not have your IP address logged on with every access to someone’s web page?
The Your Freedom services helps circumvent censors and spies. It even hides your network address from those who don’t need to know. Another tool – Gladder or “Great Ladder,” a browser extension for Firefox that helps users scale the virtual wall. Let the fun begin.
State-directed Web filtering happens regularly in Asia with China in the lead and pioneering online censorship methods just in time for the Olympics. The Great Firewall of China or “Golden Shield,” as Chinese officials call it, may be the most sophisticated censorship system in the world.
Many countries are already limiting access to Web content, on the pretext of “securing intellectual property rights,” “protecting national security,” “preserving cultural norms and religious values,” and “shielding children from pornography and exploitation.”
In the name of curbing lawlessness of the Web, many more states are flirting with the notion of erecting firewalls and screening content as a solution to complex social issues. This growing phenomenon defies simple metrics.
The map above was commissioned by Reporters Without Borders, which publishes a World Ranking of press freedom. The 15 internet-restricting countries on its list also top the ranking for press censorship. Here are the states, with their ranking on press freedom in brackets:
1. Maldives (144)
2. Tunisia (148)
3. Belarus (151)
4. Libya (152)
5. Syria (153)
6. Vietnam (155)
7. Uzbekistan (158)
8. Nepal (159)
9. Saudi Arabia (161)
10. Iran (162)
11. China (163)
12. Myanmar/Burma (164)
13. Cuba (165)
14. Turkmenistan (167)
15. North Korea (168 – bottom of the list)
The Open Net Initiative notes that censorship and surveillance have not been taken on as a public policy or legislative issue by governments and civil society in the Asia region.
Ideally, we would like to know how censorship reduces the availability of information, how it hampers the development of online communities, and how it inhibits the ability of civic groups to monitor and report on the activities of the government, as these impact governance and ultimately economic growth.
OPEN NET INITIATIVE
Internet censorship and content restrictions can be enacted through means like technical blocking, take-downs, removing search results and induced self-censorship. Filtration can occur at various points in the network such as the backbone level, Internet Service Providers, institutions and individual computers.