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OpenNet Initiative Releases Report on Filtering in Asia

OpenNet Initiative Releases Report on Filtering in Asia

According to a report just release by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) on filtering in Asia, Asian governments are taking increasingly sophisticated steps  to control access to Web content. From the ONI blog:

New research from the OpenNet Initiative reveals accelerating restrictions on Internet content as Asian governments shift to next generation controls. These new techniques go beyond blocking access to websites and are more informal and fluid, implemented at edges of the network, and are often backed up by increasingly restrictive and broadly interpreted laws.

The reports also point to an emerging inclination for states to actively engage in cyberspace as a way to achieve the same effects of information controls:

'Since 2006, many Asian governments have quickly realized the potential benefits of exploiting opportunities for conducting propaganda or public relations strategies over the Internet, even while cracking down on independent and critical voices thriving in these online spaces– an example of the evolution towards next generation controls,' said Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and one of four principal investigators at the ONI. CONTINUED...

You can view the regional overview of filtering in Asia here and checkout ONI's country profile for China here.

ONI releases this report on the heals of the Chinese government's directive that Green Dam filtering software must be installed in all computers sold in the country. ONI issued an evaluation of the software last week, concluding that

The mandate requiring the installation of a specific product serves no useful purpose apart from extending the reach of government authorities. Given the resulting poor quality of the product, the large negative security and stability effects on the Chinese computing infrastructure and the intense backlash against the product mandate, the mandate may result in less government control. CONTINUED...

For more on Internet filtering and surveillance around the world, including the latest from Iran, visit the ONI blog.

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A collaborative project between the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and…