Internet censorship

Internet censorship

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. The legal issues are similar to offline censorship.

One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. Conversely, attempts by one government to prevent its citizens from seeing certain material can have the effect of restricting foreigners, because the government may take action against Internet sites anywhere in the world, if they host objectionable material.

Barring total control on Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea, total censorship of information on the Internet is very difficult (or impossible) to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) allow unconditional free speech, as the technology guarantees that material cannot be removed and the author of any information is impossible to link to a physical identity or organization.

In November 2007, "Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf stated that he sees [ Government-led control of the Internet failing] due to private ownership.

The following sections follow the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) categorization scheme: Pervasive, Substantial, Nominal, Indirect, Watchlist.

13 "Enemies of the Internet"

In 2006 the organization Reporters without Borders published a list of the 13 "enemies of the Internet": [ List of the 13 Internet enemies] RSF, 2006 November]


While there is no universally agreed upon definition of what constitutes "pervasive censorship", organization Reporters without Borders (RSF) maintains an internet enemy list while the OpenNet Initiative categorizes some nations as practicing extreme levels of Internet censorship. Such nations often censor political content and may retaliate against citizens who violate the censorship with measures such as imprisonment.


Cuba is on ONI's watchlist and on RSF's internet enemy list. Cuba has the lowest Latin America ratio of computers per inhabitant, and the lowest internet access ratio of all the Western hemisphere. [cite web|title= Minister blames US embargo for low number of Cubans online|publisher= Reporters Without Borders|url=|accessdate= 2007-02-13] Citizens have to use government controlled "access points", where their activity is monitored through IP blocking, keyword filtering and navigation history checking. According to the government, access to internet services by the Cuban population are limited due to high costs and the American embargo, but there are reports concerning the will of the government to control access to uncensored information both from and to the outer world. [cite web|title= Press Freedom Group Tests Cuban Internet Surveillance|publisher= World Politics Watch|url=|accessdate= 2006-11-30.] The Cuban government continues to imprison independent journalists for contributing reports through the Internet to web sites outside of Cuba [cite web|title=Journalist sentenced to four years in prison as “pre-criminal social danger|publisher= [ Reporters Without Borders] |url=|accessdate=2007-03-05]


Iran is in ONI's pervasive category and on RSF's internet enemy list. Iran Internet censorship is delegated to ISPs who attempt to filter contents critical of the government, pornographic websites, political blogs, and especially recently women's rights websites, weblogs, and online magazines. [cite web|url=|title= Authorities urged to halt threats to “cyber-feminists” - Iran|accessdate= 2008-05-18|publisher= Reporters Without Borders] Iranian bloggers have been imprisoned for their Internet activities by the Iranian government. [cite web|url=|title= Internet "black holes" - Iran|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Reporters Without Borders] Most recently, the Iranian government has blocked access to video-upload sites such as [citeweb|url=|title= Iran blocks access to video-sharing on YouTube|accessdate=2006-12-12|publisher= USA Today]


Maldives is not categorized by ONI and RSF removed it from its internet enemy list in 2006. Maldives filtersFact|date=October 2007 opposition websites and had imprisoned cyber dissidents in 2004 and 2005, all since released. [cite web|url=|title= Internet "black holes" - Maldives|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Reporters Without Borders] [cite web|url=|title= Maldives: Life imprisonment for publishing Internet article|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Amnesty International]


Burma (also known as Myanmar) is in ONI's pervasive category and on RSF's internet enemy list. Burma has banned the websites of political opposition groups, sites relating to human rights, and organizations promoting democracy in Burma. During the 2007 anti-government protests, Burma completely shut down all internet links from its country. [ [ Burma 'cuts all Internet links'] Bangkok Post, September 28, 2007]

North Korea

North Korea is not categorized by ONI but is on RSF's internet enemy list. Only a few thousand citizens in North Korea, a tiny minority of the total population, have access to the Internet, which is heavily censored by the national government. [cite web|url=|title= The Internet "black holes" - North Korea|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Reporters Without Borders The only site known active in North Korea's .kp Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is that of the Korea Computer Centre (Europe), located not in Korea but in Berlin, Germany.]

People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. China blocks or filters Internet content relating to Tibetan independence, Taiwan independence, police brutality, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech, democracy, pornography, some international news sources (such as the VOA), certain religious movements (such as Falun Gong and the Roman Catholic Church), and many blogging websites. Some 52 cyber dissidents are reportedly imprisoned in China for their online postings. [cite web|url=|title= The Internet "black holes" - China|accessdate= 2007-02-11|publisher= Reporters Without Borders] Note: In the past weekwhen China has said it will allow access to many parts of the US Wikipedia. However, due to the significant media coverage, international pressure and the conflicts within the Chinese government, in recent years many websites have been blocked or unblocked many times and available in different locations from different ISPs. Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions do not censor materials from internet. Fact|date=August 2008


Syria is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. Syria has banned websites for political reasons and arrested people accessing them. [cite web|url=|title= Syrian jailed for internet usage|date= 2004-06-21|publisher= BBC News]


Tunisia is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. Tunisia has blocked thousands of websites (such as pornography, mail, search engine cached pages, online documents conversion and translation services) and peer-to-peer and FTP transfer. This filtering is performed using a transparent proxy and port blocking. Cyber dissidents including pro-democracy lawyer Mohammed Abbou have been jailed by the Tunisian government for their online activities. [cite web|url=|title= The Internet "black holes" - Tunisia|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Reporters Without Borders]


Uzbekistan is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. Uzbekistan prevents access to websites regarding banned Islamic movements, independent media, NGOs, and material critical of the government's human rights violations. Some Internet cafes in the capital have posted warnings that users will be fined for viewing pornographic websites or website containing banned political material. [cite web|url=|title= The Internet "black holes" - Uzbekistan|accessdate= 2006-08-31|publisher= Reporters Without Borders]


Vietnam is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. The main networks in Vietnam prevent access to websites critical of the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others.cite web|url=|title= ONI: Internet Filtering Map|accessdate= 2006-08-31|format= Flash|publisher= Open Net Initiative|pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=] Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned for advocating democracy. [cite web|url=|title= The Internet "black holes" - Vietnam|accessdate= 2006-08-31|date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= Reporters Without Borders]


outh Korea

South Korea is in ONI's substantial category but is not on RSF's internet enemy list. South Korea's internet censorship policy is highly political and particularly strong toward suppressing anonymity in the Korean internet. In 2007, numerous bloggers were censored and their posts deleted by police for expressing criticism of, or even support for, presidential candidates. This even lead to some bloggers being arrested by the police. [cite web|url=|title= Tough content rules mute Internet election activity in current contest: Bloggers risk arrest for controversial comments |accessdate= 2007-12-17|date= December 17 2007|year= 2007|month= 12|format= |work= |publisher= JoongAng Daily] Subsequently in 2008, just before a new presidential election, a new law legislation that required all major internet portal sites to require identity verification of their users was put into effect. This applies to all users who add any publicly viewable content. For example, to post a comment on a news article, a user registration and citizen identity number verification is required. For foreigners who do not have such numbers, a copy of passport must be faxed and verified. Although this law was initially met with public outcry, as of 2008, most of the major portals, including Daum, Naver, Nate, and Yahoo Korea, enforce such verification before the user can post any material that is publicly viewable.

Also, South Korea has banned at least 31 sites considered sympathetic to North Korea through the use of IP blocking.

Furthermore, search engines are required to verify age for some keywords deemed inappropriate for minors. For such keywords, age verification using national identity number is required. For foreigners, a copy of passport must be faxed to verify the age. As of 2008, practically all large search engine companies in Korea have complied with this legislation as well, including foreign-owned companies (e.g. Google Korea and Yahoo Korea).

audi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is in ONI's substantial category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. Saudi Arabia directs all international Internet traffic through a proxy farm located in King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology. Content filtering is implemented there, based on software by Secure Computing. [ Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia in 2004] - An OpenNet Initiative study] Additionally, a number of sites are blocked according to two lists maintained by the Internet Services Unit (ISU): [ [ Introduction to Content Filtering - Saudi Arabia Internet Services Unit] ] one containing "immoral" (mostly pornographic) sites, the other based on directions from a security committee run by the Ministry of Interior (including sites critical of the Saudi government). An interesting feature of this system is that citizens are encouraged to actively report "immoral" sites for blocking, using a provided Web form. The legal basis for content-filtering is the resolution by Council of Ministers dated 12 February 2001. [ [ Saudi Internet rules (2001)] - Arab Media] According to a study carried out in 2004 by the OpenNet Initiative:

The most aggressive censorship focused on pornography, drug use, gambling, religious conversion of Muslims, and filtering circumvention tools.

See the [ report by Harvard University's Law School on Documentation of Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia] .

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is in ONI's substantial category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. The United Arab Emirates forcibly censors the Internet using Secure Computing's solution. The nation's ISPs Etisalat and du(telco) ban pornography, politically sensitive material, and anything against the moral values of the UAE. They both block Skype as well.


Yemen is in ONI's substantial category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Yemen's two ISPs block access to contents falling under the categories of gambling, adult contents, and sex education as well as material seeking to convert Muslims to other religions.



Australia is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list.
An opt-out filter is in the process of being implemented, this system will block content that is deemed illegal or inappropriate. [ Labor’s Mandatory ISP Internet Blocking Plan] However, according to recent blog posts by Internode blogger Mark Newton, the government's plan in reality includes two block-lists, one that filters content deemed unsuitable for minors, and the second filtering content deemed illegal or unsuitable for adults. In this system, "opting out" simply removes the first filter, therefore, in essence, it is impossible to receive an unfiltered connection in this plan.


Brazil is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. A judicial order by judge Ênio Santarelli Zulianio forbade access to a YouTube video depicting Brazilian model and TV host Daniela Cicarelli performing sexual acts on a beach in Cádiz, Spain. With the widespread circumvention of YouTube policy by video uploaders, two Internet providers - Telefonica and Brasil Telecom - denied all YouTube access to customers - although it was still possible to access YouTube with the aid of proxies. Four days after Brasil Telecom blocked YouTube, judge Zulianio ordered the reestablishment of free YouTube browsing, maintaining that only the Cicarelli video was to be restricted. Cicarelli later was denied the right to keep the video off the Internet by higher courts.

The state of São Paulo was the first state to enact an act requiring cybercafés to keep a user's list with address, full name, date of birth, phone number, and an identity card number. [ [ Governo Do Estado De São Paulo] ]


Canada is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. In a few cases, information which the government is actively attempting to keep out of Canadian broadcast and print media (such as names of young offenders or information on criminal trials subject to publication bans) is available to Canadian users via Internet from sites hosted outside Canada.


Chile is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list and it's considerated one of the most liberal countries in terms of internet freedom in Latin America. Many universities and schools block the access to websites like YouTube, Fotolog, Flickr, Blogger, Rapidshare, Twitter and Facebook depending of the institution filters and popular portals like,, are also blocked or any kind of pornographic website. The Chilean Government also block the access in their computers to blogs or electronic versions of the local newspapers with opinions against the Government or the ruling colalition, for example, during the first days of Transantiago or the 2006 Student Protests or the Chile-Microsoft relationship. Some local ISP also block the access to websites with contents against them or any kind of policy promoted by them.


Denmark is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Denmark's biggest Internet service provider TDC A/S launched a DNS-based child pornography filter on October 18, 2005 in cooperation with the state police department and Save the Children, a charity organisation. Since then, all major providers have joined and as of May 2006, 98% of the Danish Internet users are restricted by the filter. [da icon cite news|title=TDC aktiverer filter mod børneporno| date=2005-10-18|last=Krabbe|first=Klaus|publisher=Computerworld|url=|accessdate=2006-07-19] The filter caused some controversy in March 2006, when a legal sex site named [] was caught in the filter, sparking discussion about the reliability, accuracy and credibility of the filter. [da icon cite news|title=Politisk strid om politiets børneporno-filter| date= 2006-03-20|last=Madsen|first=Kristoffer|publisher=Computerworld|url=|accessdate=2006-07-19] Also, as of October 18 2005, TDC A/S has blocked access to [] , a popular MP3 download site, through DNS filtering. [ [ TDC lukker for adgangen til] - ComputerWorld]

February 4 2008 a Danish court has ordered the Danish ISP Tele2 to shutdown access to the filesharing site [] for all its Danish users. [da icon cite news|title=Danish ISP shuts access to file-sharing Pirate Bay| date= 2008-02-04|publisher=Computerworld|url=|accessdate=2008-02-04]


Fiji is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. In May 2007 it was reported that the military in Fiji had blocked access to blogs critical of the regime.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Fiji muzzles critical blogs | date=May 18, 2007 | publisher= | url = | work =The Sydney Morning Herald | pages = | accessdate = 2007-05-18 | language = ]


Finland is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Following a "voluntary law" [ [ FINLEX ® - Ajantasainen lainsäädäntö: 1.12.2006/1068 ] ] enacted by Finnish parliament in 2007-01-01, most of the Finland's major Internet service providers decided on November 22, 2006 to begin filtering child pornography and first ISPs started filtering on January 2008. The blacklist is provided by Finnish police and should contain only foreign sites. Technically filtering was planned to be URI based like the United Kingdom's Cleanfeed, but so far implementations have been DNS based.

A majority of these censored Internet sites, however, are actually not censored by the Finnish ISPs due to actual child pornography, but due to "normal" adult pornography instead, including images of interracial and homosexual sex. Most of the known sites are also located in EU or United States where child pornography is strictly illegal anyway. Two-thirds of the Finnish internet censorship list of the filtered domains can currently be seen on, [ [ The Finnish Internet Censorship List ] ] the homepage of Matti Nikki, a Finnish activist criticizing Internet censorship in the European Union and especially in Finland. On February 12th 2008, Nikki's page was also added to National Bureau of Investigation's blacklist (). At September 2008 problems with accuracy continued, when websites of main international standards organization for World Wide Web W3C was briefly blacklisted as childporn by mistake. [Tietokone, 2008-09-27, [ W3C:n sivut joutuivat Suomen sensuurilistalle] ( [ translation] in slashdot)] ]

More recently, a government-sponsored report has considered establishing similar filtering in order to curb online gambling. [cite journal
title = Censorship is the answer
journal =
date = 2008-01-18
url =
issn = 1797-1993
accessdate = 2008-01-18


France is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. French courts demanded Yahoo! block Nazi material in the case LICRA vs. Yahoo. The case is currentlyFact|date=October 2007 on appeal for an en banc rehearing. France is at point to promote the Hadopi law to filter the Internet in its territory.


India is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. As of July 2006 the Indian government has directed ISPs to block seventeen websites, including some hosted on the Geocities, Blogspot and Typepad domains. Initial implementation difficulties led to these domains being blocked entirely. [cite news|title=Blocking the Blogs| date= 2006-07-18|publisher=Outlook India|url=|accessdate=2006-07-19] [cite news|last=Sengupta|first=Somini|title=India Blocks Blogs in Wake of Mumbai Bombings| date= 2006-07-18|publisher=The New York Times|url=|accessdate=2006-07-19] Access to sites on these domains other than the specifically banned ones was restored by most ISPs after about a week. [cite news|title=Bloggers are back in business|date=2006-07-25|publisher=The Hindu|url=|accessdate=2006-07-30] The first documented incident of Internet censorship in India was the Yahoo! Groups ban of 23 September 2003. Kynhun, a Yahoo! group linked to the outlawed "Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council", a minor separatist group, was ordered banned by the Department of Telecommunications. Difficulties in implementing the ban by the ISP's ultimately led to all Yahoo! groups being banned for a period of about two weeks.

Recently, Indian law enforcement has entered an agreement with the popular social networking site Orkut to track down what it deems defamatory content which, in their example, includes content critical of Bal Thackeray. [ [ Orkut In Pact With Indian Law Enforcement] Slashdot]

REcently irc undernet is banned by all isp's secretly.


Israel is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. The religious parties in Israel proposed and internet censorship legislation would only allow access to adult-content Internet sites for users who identify themselves as adults and request not to be subject to filtering. In 27/02/2008 the law passed in its first of three votes required. [cite news |url= |title=Ministerial committee approves bill to censor adult websites |author=Zvi Zrahiya and Eran Gabay |date=09/07/2007 |publisher=Haaretz]


Italy is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Italy bans the use of foreign bookmakers over the Internet by mandating certain edits to DNS host files of Italian ISPs. [ [ Italy's ban on foreign operators opens a new front in Europe's battle for a 'common market' for gambling] ] [ [ I Know This Is A Trite Title, But ... It's Not Just China] (strong language)] . Italy is also blocking access to websites containing child pornography. [ [ Sed Lex/Quando il Ministro viola la legge] (Italian)] From August 2008, Italy is blocking also The Pirate Bay website [ [ "Sequestro preventivo" del giudice: così l'Italia blocca The Pirate Bay] (Italian)] [ [ Fascist state censors Pirate Bay] (strong language)] , basing this censorship on a law on electronic commerce and it's the absolutely first in Italy making a block not only for the present, but also for the future [ [ Il blocco di Pirate Bay: confermato anche su alias e ip] (Italian)] . On this last block, a consumer-association, Altroconsumo, have announced reappeal.


Morocco is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. As of March 2006, Morocco had blocked access to a few blogging sites, such as LiveJournal. Reporters Without Borders says that Morocco now censors all political websites advocating Western Sahara's independence, however many Western Sahara-related blogs are still accessible. Google Earth has also been added to the list of filtered Web sites in Morocco. In 2007 Morocco's main telecommunication operator Maroc Telecom also censored YouTube for nearly a month, without giving any reason.Fact|date=October 2007


Since 2007 in the Netherlands one major ISP, UPC, blocks access on DNS level to sites authorities claim are known to provide child pornography. In the second quarter of 2008 all other Dutch ISP's have agreed with Ernst Hirsch Ballin of the Ministry of Justice to also block all the sites that are on the list. The blacklist is compiled by the National Police Forces (KLPD) [Karin Spaink, February 19, 2008, [ Child pornography: fight it or hide it?] (Het Parool, Feb 19, 2008)] . Ernst Hirsch Ballin has said [Ernst Hirsch Ballin, March 27, 2008, [ Vragen van het lid Gerkens (SP) aan de minister van Justitie over kinderporno op Nederlandse sites.] ] that at the moment 150 websites are blocked. It contains no websites that are hosted in EU countries and they are checked once every 2 months by Productteam Bestrijding Kinderpornografie.


Norway is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Norway's major Internet service providers have a DNS filter which blocks access to sites authorities claim are known to provide child pornography, [cite web|url=|title=Barnepornofilter (Norwegian language)|accessdate= 2008-02-03|] similar to Denmark's filter. A partial sample of the Norwegian internet censorship list can be seen at [ a Finnish site criticizing internet censorship] .


Pakistan is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Pakistan has blocked access to websites critical of the government. CurrentlyFact|date=October 2007, the government has blocked blogs hosted on A ban on pornographic websites has also been enacted.Fact|date=October 2007


Russia is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Russia pressured Lithuania into shutting down the Kavkaz-Center website, a site that hosts videos on attacks on Russian forces in Chechnya, and reports on the Second Chechen War from a Chechen separatist perspective. In February 2008, it became known that six Russian internet providers with ties to the government were blocking access to an opposition aggregate news site. After this became public, the biggest of these companies dropped the block and explained that it was "testing content filters". The other five blocks remain in place. Levine, Yasha. [ Russia Toying With Internet Censorship?] . "The eXile". 29-02-2008.]

In 2007 a lawsuit against Savva Terentiev, a musician from Syktyvkar, was started because of a commentary in a LiveJournal blog, in which he sharply criticised local police forces. He was accused of "provoking antagonism between social groups". Although several philological expert examinations of the text denied this accusations, arguing that this was just a relational expression, the lawsuit is still not closed. [ The records on the case of a blogger from Syktyvkar Savva Terentiev were sent to court. He may be fined for 300000 roubles] . "". 13-03-2008.]


Singapore is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. In Singapore, three people were arrested and charged with sedition for posting racist comments on the Internet, of which two have been sentenced to imprisonment.Fact|date=October 2007


Sweden is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Sweden's major Internet service providers have a DNS filter which blocks access to sites authorities claim are known to provide child pornography, similar to Denmark's filter. A partial sample of the Swedish internet censorship list can be seen at [ a Finnish site criticizing internet censorship] . The Swedish police are responsible for updating this list of forbidden Internet sites. On July 6, Swedish police said that there is material with child pornography available on torrents linked to from the torrent tracker site Pirate bay and said it would be included in the list of forbidden Internet sites. This, however, did not happen as the police claimed the illegal material had been removed from the site. Police never specified what the illegal content was on TPB. This came with criticism and accusations that the intended The Pirate Bay's censorship was political in nature, as The Pirate Bay has been an embarrassing site for the Swedish government with the exception of The Pirate Party.


Thailand is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. Significant efforts have been made in Thailand to oppose sites that are representing illegal activities. Activities such as gambling, drug usage and pornography are strictly banned, using DNS control in Thailand and, more effectively, a transparent proxy. This makes the website appear to be inaccessible. Also, the government has banned sites that discuss circumventing Internet censorship.Fact|date=October 2007


: main|Internet censorship in TurkeyMany minor and major websites in Turkey have been subject to censorship until now, including the oldest and most popular Turkish social blogging community Sourtimes and widely popular poetry and literature community On March 6, 2007, the government of Turkey blocked access to the video-upload site, with the following statement parked on the domain: "Access to site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/384 dated 06.03.2007 of Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court." [cite web|url=,8599,1596870,00.html|title= YouTube banned in Turkey|accessdate= 2007-03-06|publisher= Time] The ban was met with widespread protests and lifted two days later. Youtube was banned again in 12.03.2008 with decision no 2008/251, which was then soon lifted. As of August 2008, Youtube is still banned in the country since 5th of May 2008, due to two court decisions.

Beside Youtube, 853 minor and major websites are currently banned in Turkey, including the widely popular blogging site, which has been banned since August 2007 complete with all subdomains. Other prominent websites currently on ban in Turkey include Youporn, The Pirate Bay, Megaupload, Deezer, Virb, Dailymotion, Google Groups, Tagged, Netlog, Slide, GeoCities, CareerBuilder and Alibaba. Ironically, The Internet Movie Database had been lucky enough to get away from being censored due to a misspelling of its domain, resulting in a futile ban on

As of September 2008, Turkey filters access to prominent evolutionist Richard Dawkins' Web site. The filtering was in response to a complaint from Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar ("nom de plume" Harun Yahya). Oktar is also behind the filtering of Wordpress and Google Groups.

Turkey is not categorized by ONI and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. However, beside the old media control and censorship association RTÜK, a new governmental association has been recently established just for Internet control and censorship without prior court judgement as it was before.Fact|date=October 2007 According to the 5651st law of Turkish Penal Code, all media including websites directing people to suicide, child abuse, drugs, pornography, prostitution, insulting and gambling are forbidden. Turkish Telecommute Foundation has also a website for public reports [cite web|url=|title=Turkish Telecommute Foundation inconvenient reporting web site] . Nevertheless due to the public profile of the major websites currently on ban; juridicial, technical and ethical arguments for their complete censoring have been painfully lacking, which resulted in extensive piercing of the prohibitions via the use of proxies or change of DNS servers.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom is in ONI's watchlist and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. British Telecommunications passes internet traffic through a service called Cleanfeed which uses data provided by the Internet Watch Foundation to identify pages believed to contain indecent photographs of children. [" [ IWF/BT Project CleanFeed] ", Internet Watch Foundation. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] " [ How net providers stop child porn] ", BBC News, 7 February 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] When such a page is found, the system creates a 'URL not found page' error rather than deliver the actual page or a warning page.

In 2003, after the murder of Jane Longhurst by a man who claimed to have an obsession with Internet pornography, [" [ Man guilty of teacher murder] ", BBC News, 4 February 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] the family campaigned to tighten laws regarding pornography on the Internet and have gained support such that possession may become illegal. [ MP calls for violent porn ban] , BBC News, 9 February 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] What the Government has termed "extreme pornography" could now become illegal to possess. [ [ 'Extreme' porn proposals spark row] ] The government has begun to crack down on sites depicting rape, strangulation, torture and necrophilia. [" [ UK police seek web porn crackdown] ", BBC News, 5 February 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] [" [ Crackdown due on violent web porn] ", BBC News, 15 August 2005. Retrieved 29 May 2006.]

In Scotland, 2004, a committee of Members of the Scottish Parliament has backed a call to ban adult pornography as the Equal Opportunities Committee supported a petition claiming links between porn and sexual crimes and violence against women and children. [" [ MSPs back pornography ban calls] ", BBC News, 2 November 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2006.] A spokeswoman said "While we have no plans to legislate we will, of course, continue to monitor the situation."

United Kingdom, the new Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker set a deadline of the end of 2007 for all ISPs to implement a "Cleanfeed"-style network level content-blocking platform. Currently,Fact|date=October 2007 the only web sites ISPs are expected to block access to are sites the Internet Watch Foundation has identified as containing images of child abuse. However such a platform is capable of blocking access to any web site added to the list (at least, to the extent that the implementation is effective), making it a simple matter to change this policy in future. The Home Office has previously indicated that it has considered requiring ISPs to block access to articles on the web deemed to be "glorifying terrorism", within the meaning of the new Terrorism Act 2006. [ [ (UK) Government sets deadline for universal network-level content blocking] ]

United States of America

The United States of America is in ONI's nominal category and is not on RSF's internet enemy list. The United States enacted in 1996 the Communications Decency Act, which severely restricted online speech that could potentially be seen by a minor – which, it was argued, was most of online speech. Free speech advocates, however, managed to have most of the act overturned by the courts. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes the discussion and dissemination of technology that could be used to circumvent copyright protection mechanisms, and makes it easier to act against alleged copyright infringement on the Internet. Many school districts in the United States frequently censor material deemed inappropriate for the school setting. In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which requires schools and public libraries receiving federal funding to install internet filters or blocking software. [ [ Children's Internet Protection Act] ] Congress is also considering legislation to require schools and libraries to block access to social networking websites, The Deleting Online Predators Act. Opponents of Internet censorship argue that the free speech provisions of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars the government from any law or regulation that censors the Internet. [ [ Internet Censorship: United States v. American Library Association] ]

A January 4, 2007 restraining order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein forbade a large number of activists in the psychiatric survivors movement from posting links on their websites to ostensibly leaked documents which purportedly show that Eli Lilly and Company intentionally withheld information as to the lethal side-effects of Zyprexa. The Electronic Frontier Foundation appealed this as prior restraint on the right to link to and post documents, saying that citizen-journalists should have the same First Amendment rights as major media outlets. [ [ Eli Lilly Zyprexa Litigation] ] It was later held that the judgement was unenforcable, though First Amendment claims were rejected. [ [ Eli Lilly Loses Effort to Censor Zyprexa Documents Off the Internet | Electronic Frontier Foundation ] ] In March 2008, library employee Brenda Biesterfeld was fired from her job after she alerted police over a man who was then arrested for allegedly viewing child pornography on a computer in the local library. However, County officials claimed that her firing had nothing to do with her report to police. [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-03|url=,0,4178216.story||title=Firing of library worker causes uproar|author=Chawkins, Steve|date=March 26 2008]

The Department of Defense filters certain IP addresses. The US military's filtering policy is laid out in a report to congress entitled [ Department of Defense Personnel Access to the Internet] .

Portal censorship

Major portals occasionally exclude web sites that they would ordinarily include. This renders a site invisible to people who do not know where to find it. When a major portal does this, it has a similar effect as censorship. Sometimes this exclusion is done to satisfy a legal or other requirement, other times it is purely at the discretion of the portal.


* [] and [] remove Neo-Nazi and other listings, 2002 [ [ Google excluding controversial sites] , Declan McCullagh, CNET News, October 23, 2002, 8:55 p.m. PDT, retrieved April 22, 2007 00:40 UTC]

Major web portal official statements on site removal

*Google: [ [ Why does Google remove sites from the Google index?] , retrieved April 22, 2007 00:43 UTC] "Google may temporarily or permanently remove sites from its index and search results if it believes it is obligated to do so by law, if the sites do not meet Google's quality guidelines, or for other reasons, such as if the sites detract from users' ability to locate relevant information."

Commonly targeted websites

*Pornographic, Pedophile-related, and other websites considered objectionable [ [ SoulCast - Censorship on pedophilia Blog posts. 2 tags on Censorship on pedophilia Blogs ] ]
*Social Networks (e.g. Facebook and MySpace) [ [ Global Voices Online » Palestine: Facebook Censorship ] ]
*Political Blogs [ [ Blog censorship gains support | CNET ] ]
*YouTube [ [ YouTube Blocked in…Thailand ] ]
*Nazi and similar websites — particularly in France and Germany. [ [,25197,22885402-12335,00.html Wikipedia sued over Nazi symbols | The Australian ] ]
*Religious websites.
*Google - particularly in mainland China and Cuba. [ [ BBC NEWS | Technology | China blocking Google ] ]
*Censorship-circumvention websites.


There are a number of resources that allow users to bypass the technical aspects of Internet censorship. Each solution has differing ease of use, speed, and security from other options.

Proxy websites

Proxy websites are often the simplest and fastest way to access banned websites in censored nations. Such websites work by being themselves un-banned but capable of displaying banned material within them. This is usually accomplished by entering a URL address which the proxy website will fetch and display. They recommend using the https protocol since it is encrypted and harder to block.

Java Anon Proxy

Java Anon Proxy is primarily a strong, free and open source anonymizer software available for all operating systems. As of 2004, it also includes a blocking resistance functionality that allows users to circumvent the blocking of the underlying anonymity service AN.ON by accessing it via other users of the software (forwarding client).Fact|date=October 2007

The addresses of JAP users that provide a forwarding server can be retrieved by getting contact to AN.ON's InfoService network, either automatically or, if this network is blocked, too, by writing an e-mail to one of these InfoServices. The JAP software automatically decrypts the answer after the user did a CAPTCHA. The developers are currentlyFact|date=October 2007 planning to integrate additional and even stronger blocking resistance functions.


Psiphon software allows users in nations with censored Internet such as China to access banned websites like Wikipedia. The service requires that the software be installed on a computer with uncensored access to the Internet so that the computer can act as a proxy for users in censored environments.Fact|date=October 2007


Tor is a free software implementation that allows users to bypass Internet censorship while granting strong anonymity (though it has its weaknesses).


Sneakernet is a term used to describe the transfer of electronic information, especially computer files, by physically carrying data on storage media from one place to another. A sneakernet can move data regardless of network restrictions simply by not using the network at all.Sullivan, Bob (April 13, 2006) [ Military Thumb Drives Expose Larger Problem] "MSNBC" Retrieved on January 25, 2007.]

The charity relief organization [ Information Without Borders] is attempting to implement a sneakernet routing protocol for providing cheap Internet access to developing and post-conflict regions using donated PDAs and mobile phones, and also for providing free and open Internet access to repressive regimes that restrict free expression by limiting access. [ [ Sneakernet email] network diagrams from IWB]

ee also

*Computer surveillance
*Content-control software
*Criticism of Wikipedia, Censorship
*Electronic Frontier Foundation
*International Freedom of Expression eXchange — monitors Internet censorship worldwide
*Internet brigades - flooding rather than censoring
*Jingjing and Chacha
*Proxy list
*Scieno Sitter
*Tunisia Monitoring Group


External links


* [ Wikia Censorship] at Wikia
* [ Internet censorship wiki] at

Campaigns against

* [ Electronic Frontier Foundation] US-based organization promoting online freedoms.
* [] Committee against censorship.
* [ Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)] International campaign against all censorship based in Thailand.
* [] Amnesty International campaign to combat Internet repression.
* Erik Ringmar, [ A Blogger's Manifesto: Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet] (London: Anthem Press, 2007)
* [ Picidae] Break through the Internet Censorship!

Circumvention resources

* [ Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents] Reporters without Borders guide on Internet anonymity, censorship circumvention, and blogging.
* [ Psiphon] software that is installed on a computer in a non-censored country to allow unhindered access to selected users in censored countries.
* [ AnonWatch Web Proxy] Bypass Internet Censorship
* [ VPN Service] VPN service bypassing Internet censorship.
* [ Tor] is an anonymity-network capable of bypassing Internet censorship. Slow, but very effective.
* [ OpenNet] A world map that shows world access powers.
* [ ISP "Voluntary" / Mandatory Filtering] (2008 review of state of the internet filtering)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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