Friday, May 18, 2007

Internet censorship.

Today, on my way to work, I was listening to the local news station. And I was surprised to hear them mention “Tunisia”. I think this is the first time in 12 years, I hear a piece of news mentioning my country, here in the Silicon Valley. The problem is I wish they did not. Why? Because it was not mentioned as an exotic vacation destination, or a producer of the best olive oil. But as one of the top countries to use "pervasive" filtering of political content on the internet.

Internet censorship around the world is becoming more pervasive and sophisticated, with government-directed content filtering documented in at least 25 countries, according to a comprehensive report to be released today.

Political, social and cultural content are the primary targets of censorship, along with applications such as Google Maps and the Internet phone program Skype, according to the OpenNet Initiative, a partnership of more than 50 researchers who conducted tests on Internet access in 41 countries.

The research, conducted in 2006 and early this year, identified six countries with "pervasive" filtering of political content: Burma, China, Iran, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Nine countries, including China, Pakistan and Vietnam, use technology to conceal their censorship, disguising it with techniques such as flashing network error messages.[..]



Anonymous said...

Il y a aujourd'hui aussi un interessant article de Doreen Carvajal sur l' International Herald Tribune "Governments using filters to censor Internet, survey finds" ou la tunisie est bien mentionnée sur ce chapitre:

"Countries like China, Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Oman and Pakistan followed a broad approach, accord to the report. Tunisia, which was host to a United Nations summit on the information society in 2005, focused on four themes: human rights, political opposition to the government, pornography and "anonymizer" sites that offer tools to circumvent controls online.

But there are territorial differences. Vietnam and Uzbekistan tend to focus mostly on local content while largely ignoring international Web sites. Middle Eastern countries pay more attention to international news, with Iran blocking the BBC's site. Saudi Arabia focuses on censoring social content like pornography and gambling, though it also restricts political sites critical of the Saudi monarchy or non-Sunni Islam sites.

"This balance mirrors the use of commercial software, generally developed in the West, to identify and block Internet content," according to the study. One of the more popular software tools is SmartFilter, a product of Secure Computing in San Jose, California, which is used by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan and Tunisia.

In Tunisia's case, researchers found that when they tried forbidden sites, a page that looked like an Internet Explorer browser default page was displayed to disguise that censorship was taking place..."

Sardina said...

Is there any way to elude these filters and to browse freely? I heard that there are some softwares which allow people to be connected to censored sites via other proxies so that the requested and blocked IP address doesn't appear in the process.
I think also that the use of VPN may work, but in that case everyone would need such account. In particular, tunisian students who were abroad can use the VPN of their universities.

Napo said...

isn't censorship limited to porn sites only? which in this case i believe is legal to protect kids.

Soly Z. said...

VPN works, but who where to get the accounts from? De tels articles, j'en ai lu aussi en Allemagne, so nothing new. J'espère qu'un jour, le nombre de sites filtrés se limitera au sites pedophiles et pervers.

samsoum said...

@Napo: It is not limited to porn! human right sites, unauthaurized politcal parties and even blogs. My old blog is still invisible in TN.

Napo said...

Samsoum, what????????
your old blog invisible, now why on the bloody mother of all earthes is the blog of techy, who left the country centuries ago would be censored?

you sure it's not a glitch of some sort, or you have 'bad keywords' in your meta tags, can i make a 'phone call' on the matter? what is the address of ur old blog (up to your discretion)

US resident said...

Le blog de samsoum, felsfa, samiIII, mouwaten et Adam ont été censurés en Tunisie depuis 12/06.

Napo, tu travailles au gouvernement?