Tag Archives: censorship

Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

“We cannot hope to record all the possible censorship-triggering events, so our understanding of what is or isn’t acceptable to the censor will only ever be partial. And of course it’s risky, even outright illegal, to probe the censor’s limits within countries with strict censorship and surveillance programs.

This is why the leak of 600GB of logs from hardware appliances used to filter internet traffic in and out of Syria is a unique opportunity to examine the workings of a real-world internet censorship apparatus….

At the recent ACM Internet Measurement Conference we presented ou rpaper detailing the relatively stealthy but targeted censorship system that we’d found from examining the logs.

Internet traffic in Syria was filtered in several ways. IP addresses (the unique addresses of web servers on the internet) and domain names (the URL typed into the address bar) were filtered to block single websites such as badoo.com or amazon.com, entire network regions (including a few Israeli subnets), or keywords to target specific content. Instant messaging, tools such as Skype, and content-sharing sites such as Metacafe or Reddit were heavily censored. Social media censoring was limited to specific content and pages, such as the “Syrian Revolution” facebook page.”

Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines.

The Cost of Censorship in Libraries: 10 Years Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act

EFF says:

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the enforcement of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, CIPA, which brought new levels of Internet censorship to libraries across the country. The law is supposed to encourage public libraries and schools to filter child pornography and obscene or “harmful to minors” images from the library’s Internet connection in exchange for continued federal funding. Unfortunately, as Deborah Caldwell-Stone explains in Filtering and the First Amendment, aggressive interpretations of this law have resulted in extensive and unnecessary censorship in libraries, often because libraries go beyond the legal requirements of CIPA when implementing content filters. As a result, students and library patrons across the country are routinely and unnecessarily blocked from accessing constitutionally protected websites.

via The Cost of Censorship in Libraries: 10 Years Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Be aware: Internet content blocking travels downstream, affects unwary users

Internet content blocking travels downstream, affects unwary users | Ars Technica

A team of Canadian researchers have uncovered an unusual new example of “upstream filtering,” where online content in one country is blocked in another country due to filtering that happens in transit.

Researchers at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, revealed that some Oman Internet users using the Omantel ISP are also being subjected to Indian content restrictions because of traffic flowing through India.

“It goes to show what you can find when you begin to probe beneath the surface of the Internet, and what you see when you have governments start to mess with the openness of the Internet,” Ron Deibert, Citizen Lab’s director, told Ars on Thursday. “In this case you have a perverse situation where citizens in one country are subject to filtering in another country.”

via Internet content blocking travels downstream, affects unwary users | Ars Technica.

An unprecedented age of censorship

NICK COHEN, a British journalist and author, is a polemicist. His views have swung from the left to the right and back again over his 30-year career, but his arguments are often punchy and persuasive. In “You Can’t Read This Book” (Fourth Estate), his sixth book, he argues that we are living in an unprecedented age of censorship, coerced by violence, religion and money.

The book opens in 1989 at the end of the cold war, a time when many believed that liberal democracy would spread and freedom of speech would flourish. It was also the year that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa on Salman Rushdie, for his supposedly blasphemous book, “The Satanic Verses”. Mr Cohen uses the Rushdie fiasco as a springboard to discuss censorship, and the correlation between Islamic fundamentalism and the suppression of free thinking in the West, both in society and online. His argument borrows heavily from the works of writers such as George Orwell, John Milton and John Stuart Mill—especially Mill’s principle that censorship should only be applied in extreme circumstances.

 

The Q&A: Nick Cohen: An unprecedented age of censorship | The Economist.