Censorship

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Content Blocking at the DNS Level in Germany

For those who follow the issue of blocking illegal content from the Internet, there is an interesting development in relation to this issue here in Germany, and I will tell you a little about it. One way to make it difficult to access illegal content is to block it directly in the DNS. But what is DNS for? Basically, it serves to translate the domain name into the IP of the server that is hosting the content. By blocking directly at the DNS level, a query to a domain will no longer bring the server's IP number, and with that, the user no longer accesses that content. more

Regulating Big Tech. This Time, for Sure!

United States President Biden has recently commented: “But let me be very clear: Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. […] So, we know we’ve got a problem – a major problem.” It’s not every day you hear the President of the United States take on the very industry that supported his national economy remaining the world’s richest over the past couple of decades. Yet his tone resonates with a growing unease within the US... more

The Long-Run Effect of Cuba’s Recent Internet-Augmented Protests

It’s now more than 6 weeks since the Cuban political protests and accompanying Internet service disruption. Will they lead to a long-run change in the Cuban Internet or the Cuban political situation? Let’s start with the Cuban Internet. Many of the Internet changes during the protests have disappeared. Total daily traffic, the ratios of mobile to fixed traffic, and human to automated posts, and the proportion of blocked Signal sessions are about what they were before the protests. more

The Cuban Internet in the Aftermath of the Anti-Government Protests

In an earlier post, I looked at the use of the Internet by anti-government protesters last month and the government's attempt to block them. Now, a few weeks later, let's see how the Internet changed after my July 18 post. The protesters used messaging and social media services, which the government tried to block, and posted images and videos of protests around the island. more

Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance Is Captured and Presumed Dead

Technical management of the Internet was delegated to ICANN by the U.S. government because it was believed that the private sector would be more agile and responsive to the needs of globally distributed stakeholders. However, this optimism and the faith it has produced has proven to be misplaced since ICANN's multi-stakeholder governance continues falling far short of the basic expectations set when it was created. more

The State of the Internet During the Anti-Government Protests in Cuba

On Sunday, July 11, thousands of Cubans, took to the streets in anti-government protests triggered by COVID, the faltering economy, and an overwhelmed healthcare system. In three days, 110 protests took place across the island. The following is a snapshot of an interactive, crowd-sourced map showing the locations of 118 large and small demonstrations (94 reported on the 11th, 14 on the 12th, seven on the 13th and three on the 17th). more

Leaked Documents Reveal Xi Jinping’s Communist Chinese Plan to Control the Internet’s Root

Yesterday, The Epoch Times reported on leaked internal Chinese government documents revealing that premier Xi Jinping has "personally directed the communist regime to focus its efforts to control the global Internet, displacing the influential role of the United States." Xi's ultimate aim is for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to wield "discourse power" over communications and discussions on the global geopolitical stage by controlling content on the Internet. more

Is ICANN Staff Misleading the Board Into Violating Contractual Obligations to the U.S. Government?

Recently, I had time to reflect on various matters after the alternator in my vehicle decided that the middle of a mountain pass was the appropriate time and place to go to that great big pick-and-pull scrapyard in the sky while leaving me stranded with no cell signal on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Until that point, I had been seriously considering applying to ICANN's Nominating Committee for one of the three open seats on ICANN's Board of Directors. more

The Future of Europe’s Fight Against Child Sexual Abuse

Like much of how the Internet is governed, the way we detect and remove child abuse material online began as an ad hoc set of private practices. In 1996, an early online child protection society posted to the Usenet newsgroup alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.children (yes, such a thing really existed) to try to discourage people from posting such "erotica" on the assumption that the Internet couldn't be censored. more

The Internet Isn’t Privatized Until .com Is Put Out for Bid

Previously, this series tackled the terribly awful Amendment 35 to the NTIA-Verisign cooperative agreement and also made the case that the tainted presumptive renewal currently included in registry agreements is inherently anti-competitive. But renewing legitimacy and integrity of Internet governance requires accurately understanding the unique and significant role retained by the U.S. government following the IANA transition. more

The Netizen’s Guide to Reboot the Root (Part II)

The first part of this series explained how Amendment 35 to the NTIA-Verisign cooperative agreement is highly offensive to the public interest. But the reasons for saving the Internet are more fundamental to Western interests than a bad deal made under highly questionable circumstances. One of the world's foremost experts on conducting censorship at scale, the Chinese Communist Party's experience with the Great Firewall... more

Freedom of Expression Part 5: COVID Vaccines not Mandatory

In Part 4 of the Freedom of Expression series, I had highlighted my concerns about the lack of transparency in ingredients of all the COVID-19 vaccines, which has been addressed by Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, the same day (World Holocaust Day) I had raised these concerns. A recent Resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will see the further regulation of social media on content relating to COVID-19. more

Freedom of Expression Part 4: Censorship, COVID-19, the Media and Assault on Freedom of Expression

As I write this, it is World Holocaust Day, 27th January 2021, a memorial of the atrocious events that shocked and outraged the conscience of humanity and gave birth to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the year that Holocaust victims majority of whom were Jews re-established the nation of Israel. Most of us can never begin to imagine the extent of the atrocities but relive the experiences through movies or documentaries, including but not limited to Spielberg's 1993 Schindler's List... more

Internet Governance and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Part 6: Articles 18-19

Internet Governance, like all governance, needs guiding principles from which policy making, and acceptable behavior, are derived. Identifying the fundamental principles to guide Internet ecosystem policy making around digital citizenship, and around the integrity of digital practices and behavior, can and should start with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR). more

ICANN Should Keep Content Regulation and Other Arbitrary Rules Out of Registry Contracts

The domain name system is not the place to police speech. ICANN is legally bound not to act as the Internet's speech police, but its legal commitments are riddled with exceptions, and aspiring censors have already used those exceptions in harmful ways. This was one factor that made the failed takeover of the .ORG registry such a dangerous situation. But now, ICANN has an opportunity to curb this abuse and recommit to its narrow mission of keeping the DNS running... more

News Briefs

CENTR Has Released an Animated Video on ccTLDs and Their Technical Role Concerning Content

Russia Says It Has Successfully Tested a Country-Wide Alternative to the Global Internet

Iran Almost Completely Shuts Off Internet Access Across the Country Amid Protests Over Fuel Prices

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

URS Is a Bad Fit for .ORG, Says EFF

Other Countries Beginning to Adopt China’s Unique Approach to an Isolated Internet Structure

Domestic Internet of Russia, Iran Far Deeper Kind of Fragmentation, More Physical Than Seen Before

Vladimir Putin Signs ‘Sovereign Internet’ Law to Further Tighten Government Control of the Internet

Indian Government Proposes Vast New Powers to Suppress Internet Content

Internet Will Split Into Chinese-Led and US-Led Versions Within the Next Decade, Says Eric Schmidt

“Seven Dirty Words” Restriction Policy Lifted from .US Domain Name Registrations

EU Authorities to Give Internet Companies 1 Hour to Take Down Extremist Content or Face Hefty Fines

Protests in Iraq Lead to a Two-Day Internet Shutdown by the Government

Russia Wipes Out Over 17 Million IP Addresses In Efforts to Block Telegram

Google Ends Domain-Fronting Feature Used by Censorship Tools

EFF Warns ICANN Not to Engage in Censorship, Says It Should Stick to Technical Role

Civil Society Groups Call for Deletion of Internet Filtering Provision in EU Copyright Proposal

China Blocks WhatsApp, Says Messaging Service Should Stop Spread of “Illegal Information”

EU Presidency Pushing Other Member States for Substantial Internet Surveillance

China Continues VPN Crackdown, Targets Alibaba and Other Ecommerce Sites

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