Entries categorised as Censorship of Cyberspace:

We’re not the Internet content police, says ICANN

ICANN has declared it is not, and cannot be, a content regulator.

In a recent blog post, ICANN’s Chief Contract Compliance Officer, Allen R. Grogan, states ICANN “was never granted, nor was it ever intended that ICANN be granted, the authority to act as a regulator of Internet content”.

Accordingly, despite calls for it to do so, ICANN will not use the 2013 Registry Accreditation Agreement to require a registrar to determine whether a website is engaged in illegal activity, to demand that a website operator or registered domain name owner cease illegal activity, or to suspend a domain name if a website operator or registered domain name owner does not cease illegal activity.


Google report shows steady rise in government surveillance

Posted On January 28, 2013
In Censorship of Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace / Comments Off

US internet giant Google has released a report showing a steady climb in government surveillance online.

Google’s latest Transparency Report details the number of requests the company received from U.S. law enforcement from July through December — for the first time breaking down the total number of requests to show which requests came with judicial warrants, issued upon a showing of probable cause, as opposed to mere subpoenas.

TechFreedom described the report as revealing “a disturbing growth in government surveillance online”, noting that the report shows a 136% growth in total requests received during the same period in 2009.

European Human Rights Court: Internet restriction violates Freedom of Expression

Posted On January 2, 2013
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The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that “restriction of Internet access without a strict legal framework regulating the scope of the ban and affording the guarantee of judicial review to prevent possible abuses amounts to a violation of freedom of expression”, reports IP Watch.

Blocking of Internet traffic common in Europe – EU report

Posted On March 15, 2012
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Operators and internet service providers in Europe resort mostly to blocking voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) and peer-to-peer traffics to guard the security of and prevent congestion on their networks, according to a preliminary report from the European Union telecommunications regulator, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (source: IP Watch)

Australia remains under surveillance as an “Enemy of the Internet”

Posted On March 15, 2012
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In its just-published 2011 report on The Enemies of the Internet, Reporters Without Borders lists Australia as a country “under surveillance” due to it readiness to create a repressive Internet filtering system which would be managed in a non-transparent manner by a government agency based on very broad criteria.

US Anti-piracy Bills postponed, copyright infringers charged and jailed

Posted On January 23, 2012
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The US Department of Justice has trumpeted the bringing of charges against the principals of one online copyright infringement site, and the jailing of the founder of another, at the same time as voting on the controversial US Anti-piracy legislation was postponed.

Megaupload.com and seven individuals associated with it have been charged with criminal copyright offences alleged to have caused more than half a billion dollars of loss to copyright owners, according to a DoJ press release. In a separate statement, the DoJ reported that Matthew David Howard Smith had been sentenced to 14 months in prison for his role in founding the illegal movie and TV show download site NinjaVideo.net.

On the same day, voting on the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act was postponed, following protests culminating in the Wikipedia day-long blackout. As the sponsor of the Congress Bill, Chairman Lamar Smith, explained: “I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

EU announces “No-Disconnect” strategy to promote global Internet freedom

Posted On December 13, 2011
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The European Union’s Commissioner for the Digital Agenda has announced a “No-Disconnect” strategy, to support cyber-activists living under authoritarian regimes.

According to the Commission’s press release, the “No-Disconnect” strategy will:

  1. Develop and provide technological tools to enhance privacy and security of people living in non-democratic regimes.
  2. Educate and raise awareness of activists about the opportunities and risks of social networks and blogs.
  3. Gather high quality intelligence about the level of surveillance and censorship that is occurring in repressive countries.
  4. Assist human rights stakeholders to share information on their activities and build cross-regional cooperation.

The Commission’s strategy is part of a wider commitment to build up civil society infrastructure in Arab Spring uprising countries.


US files WTO request for details of China’s Internet censorship

Posted On November 4, 2011
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The United States Trade Representative has used a World Trade Organization process to seek details of China’s policies and processes for censoring Internet content. According to the USTR, “a number of U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, have expressed concerns regarding the adverse business impacts from periodic disruptions to the availability of their websites in China”.

The USTR has requested, amongst other things, information on: the ministry responsible for determining if and when a foreign website should be blocked; the criteria for blocking access to a foreign website; the process for implementing a block; whether a decision to block can be appealed; and whether there are differences in the processes used to block foreign and domestic websites.

The filing of a request such as this is often the first step in initiating a formal trade dispute in the WTO. A country found guilty of breaching WTO free trade rules can be ordered to change its policies and process, or face retaliatory trade sanctions.

Site ‘names and shames’ operators restricting Internet access

Posted On September 27, 2011
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Two civil society organisations have launched a website on which users can ‘name and shame’ ISPs restricting access to sites and services. The website, which began on 22 September 2011, permits users to report ‘net neutrality violations’, such as denial of use of VoIP services, and blocking or throttling access to streaming services. The founding organisations, La Quadrature du Net and Bits of Freedom, say they will submit reports of net neutrality violations to national and EU regulatory authorities.