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The threat of web censorship

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

Repression grows but the fight isn't over yet.

Yep, repressive governments all over the world are terrified of the free flow of information.

A recent six-month investigation into whether 40 countries use censorship shows the practice is spreading, with new countries learning from experienced practitioners such as China and benefiting from technological improvements.

OpenNet Initiative, a project by Harvard Law School and the universities of Toronto, Cambridge and Oxford, repeatedly tried to call up specific websites from 1,000 international news and other sites in the countries concerned, and a selection of local-language sites.

The research found a trend towards censorship or, as John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said, “a big trend in the reverse direction”, with many countries recently starting to adopt forms of online censorship.

Censorship is terrible, no doubt about it. But as good as governments are at repressing information on the internet, people are better at figuring ways around the restrictions. Some of the ways I have found out about are absolutely amazing, even if I am not going to reveal details on a public web site.

And once people have wrested the information out from the control of government, they won't trust government to keep it safe.

Long term, this will spark freedom.

Posted: Thu - March 15, 2007 at 04:38 PM

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