Internet censorship on the rise worldwide, finds OpenNet Initiative study

According to recently published results by the OpenNet Initiative, the governments of 25 out of 41 nations across the globe exercise some sort of censorship over the Internet for social, political and other reasons. This is highly worrying because the world wide web is supposed to have no borderlines; it’s the great equalizer for easy exchange of information.

To no one’s surprise, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are the top blockers of websites deemed inappropriate by the powers that be. The nations noted in this survey are not just preventing their citizens from accessing certain sites, they’re also filtering out applications like Skype and Google Maps.

What’s even more worrying is not only the scale at which this is happening, but also the increasingly advanced techniques these countries’ governments are using to censor the Internet and web-based apps. The online censorship tactics are often disguised as network errors, meaning citizens are in the dark about it.

The 41 countries surveyed were selected based on where testing could be done safely and where there was the most to discover about government online surveillance. No proof of filtering was found in 14 nations including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Nepal, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

About OpenNet Initiative:

OpenNet Initiative is a partnership between Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Toronto. It is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.