Censorship

Censorship / Recently Commented

ICANN Takes First Step to Becoming a Global Content Regulator

There has been wide coverage of ICANN's decision this week to adopt a new process for creating new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Publishing a clear, transparent and objective process is thought likely to result in a considerable expansion of gTLDs -- although nobody really knows whether this means "quite a lot" or "many thousands"... Less attention has been given to one of the new tests ICANN will use when considering whether to approve a new gTLD, contained in GNSO's sixth recommendation... more

The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more

Chinese Internet Research Conference: Getting beyond “Iron Curtain 2.0”

At last week's Chinese Internet Research Conference, much discussion of the "myths and realities" of the Chinese Internet revolved around images, metaphors, and paradigms. In his award-winning paper titled The Great Firewall as Iron Curtain 2.0, UPenn PhD Student Lokman Tsui argued that "our use of the Great Firewall metaphor leads to blind spots that obscure and limit our understanding of internet censorship in the People's Republic." more

Business in the Hotseat over Net Censorship

My weekly technology law column focuses on the growth of Internet censorship and the accompanying pressure on the business community to do something about it... China's censorship system may be the most extensive, but it is not alone. The University of Toronto's OpenNet Initiative, a world leader in tracking state-sponsored Internet censorship, recently co-published Access Denied, a book that highlights its pervasive growth. The book notes that some countries control all public Internet services, thereby creating an easy pipeline to implementing filtering technologies. Countries such as Syria have sought to chill access to the Internet by requiring cybercafe owners to record the names and identification cards of clients... more

Unbridled Discretion and Prior Restraint: The Verizon and Comcast Stories

Let's say that providing communications infrastructure is an inherent function of a state. Most people think of the internet as a telephone system, and most people think the telephone companies aren't supposed to choose which calls will go through based on their content. People think that because they think internet access, like telephone access, is a utility -- like electricity conduit, water pipes, etc. -- that has something to do with the government, and the government isn't supposed to discriminate. more

A Packet of Lies

I've been reading the kerfuffle around Comcast's blocking of various random network protocols with interest. Whilst I remain convinced that blanket "network neutrality" legislation remains just a form of digital gripe water (cures colic for cybernauts), there's clearly a problem. As I previously alluded there's a definite consumer protection issue over what you buy when it says 'Internet' on the tin. So here's tuppence worth of additional input... more

ICANN: Keep the Core Neutral, Stupid

ICANN's travelling circus is meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week. One of the main subjects of discussion has been the introduction of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), after a GNSO Report [PDF] proposed 19 "Recommendations" for criteria these new domain strings should meet -- including morality tests and "infringement" oppositions. ...It's important to keep ICANN from being a censor, or from straying beyond its narrow technical mandate. The thick process described in the GNSO report would be expensive, open to "hecklers' vetos," and deeply political... ICANN should aim for a "stupid core"... more

Put Free Expression on the Internet Governance Forum Agenda

The Internet Governance Project has joined free-expression advocacy organizations Reporters Without Borders and Article 19 to push for including Internet censorship and filtering problems on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a multistakeholder deliberation body created by the World Summit on the Information Society... more

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