International Censorship News

 2017

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  .Iron.Curtain...

Russia plans to build its own DNS system to enable more censorship control of a local internet


Link Here 1st December 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

iron curtainThe Russian government is currently discussing plans to build its own independent internet infrastructure that will be used by BRICS member states 204 Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The Russian Security Council has today formally asked the country's government to start the building of a global DNS system that Russia and fellow BRICS member states could use to take control of the internet as used within the BRICS countries.

Russia and fellow BRICS nations would have the option to flip a switch and move Internet traffic from today's main DNS system to their own private system. The states will then have absolute and direct control of sites to be blocked. Furthermore, the alternative DNS system also allows oppressive regimes to deanonymize Tor traffic and hunt for dissidents, via an attack called DefecTor.

Russia, China, and many other countries have criticized the US for hoarding control over the domain naming system (DNS), a position they claim has allowed the US to intercept and tap global Internet traffic. Last year, the US handed over control over the DNS system to ICANN , an independent organization. While Russia and China welcomed the move, they actually wanted the DNS system to be controlled by the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union. This is because the two countries have more power in UN matters than control over an NGO, like ICANN.

 

  Freedom On the Net 2017...

Freedom house reports on the international emergence of new censorship trends such as employing social media discussion manipulators


Link Here 15th November 2017

freedom on the net 2017 Governments around the world are dramatically increasing their efforts to manipulate information on social media, threatening the notion of the internet as a liberating technology, according to Freedom on the Net 201 7 , the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of online freedom, released today by Freedom House.

Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries over the past year, including the United States, damaging citizens' ability to choose their leaders based on factual news and authentic debate. The content manipulation contributed to a seventh consecutive year of overall decline in internet freedom, along with a rise in disruptions to mobile internet service and increases in physical and technical attacks on human rights defenders and independent media.

"The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia but has now gone global," said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. "The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating."

"Governments are now using social media to suppress dissent and advance an antidemocratic agenda," said Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project. "Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it's dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it."

"The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself, leaving independent groups and ordinary citizens on the outside," Kelly said.

Freedom on the Net 2017 assesses internet freedom in 65 countries, accounting for 87 percent of internet users worldwide. The report primarily focuses on developments that occurred between June 2016 and May 2017, although some more recent events are included as well.

Governments in a total of 30 countries deployed some form of manipulation to distort online information, up from 23 the previous year. Paid commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites, and propaganda outlets were among the techniques used by leaders to inflate their popular support and essentially endorse themselves.

In the Philippines, members of a "keyboard army" are tasked with amplifying the impression of widespread support of the government's brutal crackdown on the drug trade. Meanwhile, in Turkey, reportedly 6,000 people have been enlisted by the ruling party to counter government opponents on social media.

Most governments targeted public opinion within their own borders, but others sought to expand their interests abroad--exemplified by a Russian disinformation campaign to influence the American election. Fake news and aggressive trolling of journalists both during and after the presidential election contributed to a score decline in the United States' otherwise generally free environment.

Governments in at least 14 countries actually restricted internet freedom in a bid to address content manipulation. Ukrainian authorities, for example, blocked Russia-based services, including the country's most widely used social network and search engine, after Russian agents flooded social media with fabricated stories advancing the Kremlin's narrative.

"When trying to combat online manipulation from abroad, it is important for countries not to overreach," Kelly said. "The solution to manipulation and disinformation lies not in censoring websites but in teaching citizens how to detect fake news and commentary. Democracies should ensure that the source of political advertising online is at least as transparent online as it is offline."

For the third consecutive year, China was the world's worst abuser of internet freedom, followed by Syria and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, the government shut down mobile networks for nearly two months as part of a state of emergency declared in October 2016 amid large-scale antigovernment protests.

Less than one-quarter of the world's internet users reside in countries where the internet is designated Free, meaning there are no major obstacles to access, onerous restrictions on content, or serious violations of user rights in the form of unchecked surveillance or unjust repercussions for legitimate speech.

Key Findings

  • Governments manipulated social media to undermine democracy : Governments in 30 countries of the 65 countries assessed attempted to control online discussions. The practice has become significantly more widespread and technically sophisticated over last few years.

  • State censors targeted mobile connectivity : An increasing number of governments have restricted mobile internet service for political or security reasons. Half of all internet shutdowns in the past year were specific to mobile connectivity, with most others affecting mobile and fixed-line service simultaneously. Most mobile shutdowns occurred in areas populated with ethnic or religious minorities such as Tibetan areas in China and Oromo areas in Ethiopia.

  • More governments restricted live video : As live video gained popularity with the emergence of platforms like Facebook Live, and Snapchat's Live Stories internet users faced restrictions or attacks for live streaming in at least nine countries, often to prevent streaming of antigovernment protests. Countries likes Belarus disrupted mobile connectivity to prevent livestreamed images from reaching mass audience.

  • Technical attacks against news outlets, opposition, and rights defenders increased: Cyberattacks against government critics were documented in 34 out of 65 countries. Many governments took additional steps to restrict encryption, leaving citizens further exposed.

  • New restrictions on virtual private networks (VPNs) : 14 countries now restrict tools used to circumvent censorship in some form and six countries introduced new restrictions, either legal bans or technical blocks on VPN websites or network traffic.

  • Physical attacks against netizens and online journalists expanded dramatically : The number of countries that featured physical reprisals for online speech increased by 50 percent over the past year--from 20 to 30 of the countries assessed. In eight countries, people were murdered for their online expression. In Jordan, a Christian cartoonist was murdered for mocking Islamist militants' vision of heaven, while in Myanmar, a journalist was murdered after posting on Facebook notes that alleged corruption.

Since June 2016, 32 of the 65 countries assessed in Freedom on the Net saw internet freedom deteriorate. Most notable declines were documented in Ukraine, Egypt, and Turkey.

 

 Offsite Article: Policing the internet...


Link Here 6th August 2017
may putin In the wake of the latest destabilizing cyber attacks, some Western leaders like Theresa May are joining Russia and China to urge state policing of the internet. This is not wise. By Alexander Klimburg

See article from thedailybeast.com

 

 Update: Extreme optimism...

Theresa May claims that social media censorship will be a panacea for religious violence


Link Here 26th May 2017  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Theresa MayTheresa May has urged world leaders to do more to censor online extremism, saying the fight against so-called Islamic State is moving from the battlefield to the internet.

Speaking about counter-terrorism at the G7 summit in Sicily, the PM said more pressure should be put on tech companies to remove extreme material and to report such content to the authorities. She led a discussion on how to work together to prevent the plotting of terrorist attacks online and to stop the spread of hateful extremist ideology on social media.

She said that the industry has a social responsibility to do more to take down harmful content. She acknowledged that the industry has been taking action to remove extremist content, but said it has not gone far enough and needs to do more.

She called for an international forum to develop the means of intervening where danger is detected, and for companies to develop tools which automatically identify and remove harmful material based on what it contains, and who posted it.

Update: Norway too

26th May 2017 See article from telegraph.co.uk

Norway is considering introducing uniformed police profiles which would patrol Facebook looking for criminal activity.

Kripos, Norway's National Criminal Investigation Service, is reportedly examining the legal aspects of how police accounts could be given access to areas of Facebook that are not open to the public. It would mean police gaining access to closed groups and interacting with members as they search for evidence of criminal activity.

Police in Norway and elsewhere have previously used fake Facebook profiles to investigate crimes including smuggling alcohol and tobacco.

 

  But does it include censorship by political correctness?...

Reporters Without Borders reports on the latest international rankings of press freedom


Link Here 26th April 2017

Reporters without Borders logoThe 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms 203 especially in democracies.

RSF's latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries. (Read our analysis entitled Journalism weakened by democracy's erosion.) Democracies began falling in the Index in preceding years and now, more than ever, nothing seems to be checking that fall.

The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous. This includes the United States (down 2 places at 43rd), the United Kingdom (down 2 at 40th), Chile (down 2 at 33rd), and New Zealand (down 8 at 13th).

Donald Trump's rise to power in the United States and the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom were marked by high-profile media bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation, and fake news.

rank - country - improvement in rank since 2016

1 Norway 2
2 Sweden 6
3 Finland -2
4 Denmark 0
5 Netherlands -3
6 Costa Rica 0
7 Switzerland 0
8 Jamaica 2
9 Belgium 4
10 Iceland 9
11 Austria 0
12 Estonia 2
13 New Zealand -8
14 Ireland -5
15 Luxembourg 0
16 Germany 0
17 Slovakia -5
18 Portugal 5
19 Australia 6
20 Surinam 2
21 Samoa 8
22 Canada -4
23 Czech Republic -2
24 Namibia -7
25 Uruguay -5
26 Ghana 0
27 Cabo Verde 5
28 Latvia -4
29 Spain 5
30 Cyprus -3
31 South Africa 8
32 Liechtenstein -4
33 Chile -2
34 Trinidad and Tobago 10
35 Andorra -2
36 Lithuania -1
37 Slovenia 3
38 OECS -8
39 France 6
40 United Kingdom -2
41 Belize -5
42 Burkina Faso 0
43 United States -2
44 Comores 6
45 Taiwan 6
46 Romania 3
47 Malta -1
48 Botswana -5
49 Tonga -12
50 Argentina 4
51 Papua New Guinea 4
52 Italy 25
53 Haiti 0
54 Poland -7
55 Mauritania -7
56 Mauritius 5
57 Madagascar -1
58 Senegal 7
59 Dominican Republic 3
60 Guyana -3
61 Niger -9
62 El Salvador -4
63 South Korea 7
64 Georgia 0
65 Bosnia-Herzegovina 3
66 Serbia -7
67 Fiji 13
68 Lesotho 5
69 Mongolia -9
70 Malawi -4
71 Hungary -4
72 Japan 0
73 Hong Kong -4
74 Croatia -11
75 Northern Cyprus 6
76 Albania 6
77 Guinea Bissau 2
78 Benin 0
79 Armenia -5
80 Moldova -4
81 Cote d'Ivoire 5
82 Kosovo 8
83 Tanzania -12
84 Bhutan 10
85 Sierra Leone -2
86 Togo 2
87 Seychelles 5
88 Greece 1
89 Kyrgyzstan -4
90 Peru -6
91 Israel 10
92 Nicaragua -17
93 Mozambique -6
94 Liberia -1
95 Kenya 0
96 Panama -5
97 Tunisia -1
98 East Timor 1
99 Lebanon -1
100 Nepal 5
101 Guinea 7
102 Ukraine 5
103 Brazil 1
104 Kuwait -1
105 Ecuador 4
106 Montenegro 0
107 Bolivia -10
108 Gabon -8
109 Bulgaria 4
110 Paraguay 1
111 Macedonia 7
112 Uganda -10
113 Central African Republic -3
114 Zambia 0
115 Congo-Brazzaville 0
116 Mali 6
117 Maldives -5
118 Guatemala 3
119 United Arab Emirates 0
120 Afghanistan 0
121 Chad 6
122 Nigeria -6
123 Qatar -6
124 Indonesia 6
125 Angola -2
126 Oman -1
127 Philippines 11
128 Zimbabwe -4
129 Colombia 5
130 Cameroon -4
131 Burma 12
132 Cambodia -4
133 Morocco / Western Sahara -2
134 Algeria -5
135 Palestine -3
136 India -3
137 Venezuela 2
138 Jordan -3
139 Pakistan 8
140 Honduras -3
141 Sri Lanka 0
142 Thailand -6
143 Gambia 2
144 Malaysia 2
145 South Sudan -5
146 Bangladesh -2
147 Mexico 2
148 Russia 0
149 Tajikistan 1
150 Ethiopia -8
151 Singapore 3
152 Swaziland 1
153 Belarus 4
154 Democratic Republic of Congo -2
155 Turkey -4
156 Brunei -1
157 Kazakhstan 3
158 Iraq 0
159 Rwanda 2
160 Burundi -4
161 Egypt -2
162 Azerbaijan 1
163 Libya 1
164 Bahrain -2
165 Iran 4
166 Yemen 4
167 Somalia 0
168 Saudi Arabia -3
169 Uzbekistan -3
170 Laos 3
171 Equatorial Guinea -3
172 Djibouti 0
173 Cuba -2
174 Sudan 0
175 Vietnam 0
176 China 0
177 Syria 0
178 Turkmenistan 0
179 Eritrea 1
180 North Korea -1

 

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