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Study shows many countries censor web

Study shows many countries censor web

How free is your net? Twenty-six of forty countries censor theirs.

Since I've just spent a week in China, I'm enjoying the freedoms that my country has allowed me. This includes the ability to browse the entire Internet free of censorship. Apparently, I need to be a lot more thankful for that - a new study shows that a free and available internet may be more rare than we all think.

A recent study conducted by four major universities has shown that over half of the 40 countries surveyed conduct some form of censorship. Twenty-six countries, in fact, actively engage in some form of state-sponsored Internet censorship. The study was conducted by Harvard University, the University of Toronto, Cambridge University and Oxford University.

The list included a lot of countries one would expect, including most of the Middle East. These countries actively filtered International news sites and pornography, along with gambling for certain countries. Also on the list was South Korea, which filters all sites North Korean. The worst offender by far on the list was China, but most people wouldn't be surprised by that.

What was more interesting than who does filter content, though, is who doesn't. Against expectations, Russia and Iraq both have unfiltered Internet access. Israel, Egypt, Hong Kong and Venezuela, each with a strong political presence in the World (and therefore reasons to try and censor information) also do not engage in the practice. So though it's not all perfect, apparently even some countries with poor individual rights are starting to ease up.

Do you have a thought on the rash of censorship across the world? If so, tell us about it in our forums. Assuming you are allowed to browse them, that is...

5 Comments

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r4tch3t 21st May 2007, 10:22 Quote
This is not unexpected really, the governments want to control us. For America, it would go against freedom of speech if they censored the net. Personally I think the internet should be completely uncensored and unrestricted.
Not surprised that South Korea blocks North Korea.
capnPedro 21st May 2007, 12:50 Quote
It takes a lot of time and money to censor the web. Some of these countries have much better things to spend the money on at the moment.

To me, censorship isn't just a crappy thing to force upon people, it's an irresponsible thing to do.
completemadness 21st May 2007, 14:10 Quote
What about the UK and US ?

i bet they do filter some stuff, like child pornography at least
Bauul 21st May 2007, 19:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
What about the UK and US ?

i bet they do filter some stuff, like child pornography at least

As far as I'm aware: nope. About the only filtering that goes on is some ISPs deliberately slow down data transfers over known Bit Torrent ports to maintain high bandwidth across their network, but that's about it. The USA wouldn't dare touching the 'net when one of their priding glories is their freedom of speech. It's for that reason I'm perfectly happy to let the US government look afer the Internet's structural allocations.
completemadness 22nd May 2007, 18:03 Quote
slowing it down isn't filtering

Its QoS, and its a reasonably fair thing to do, would you prefer that sumone Else's bittorrent screws up your phone call, or would you rather that it was queued a bit better so that you can both have very good service

However, where i would draw the line is when people suffer seriously degraded service because the ISP doesn't have the bandwidth
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