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WIKI | Internet Censorship

Internet blackholes
Reporters Without Borders Internet censorship ratings. No censorship Some censorship Under surveillance Internet black holes (most heavily censored nations)

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. The legal issues are similar to offline censorship.

One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. A government can try to prevent its citizens from viewing these even if it has no control over the websites themselves.

Filtering can be based on a blacklist or be dynamic. In the case of a blacklist, that list is usually not published. The list may be produced manually or automatically.

Barring total control on Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea, total censorship of information on the Internet is very difficult (or impossible) to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) allow unconditional free speech, as the technology guarantees that material cannot be removed and the author of any information is impossible to link to a physical identity or organization.

Circumvention

There are a number of resources that allow users to bypass the technical aspects of Internet censorship. Each solution has differing ease of use, speed, and security from other options.

Proxy websites

Main article: Proxy server

Proxy websites are often the simplest and fastest way to access banned websites in censored nations. Such websites work by being themselves un-banned but capable of displaying banned material within them. This is usually accomplished by entering a URL address which the proxy website will fetch and display. They recommend using the https protocol since it is encrypted and harder to block.

[edit] Java Anon Proxy

Java Anon Proxy is primarily a strong, free and open source anonymizer software available for all operating systems. As of 2004[update], it also includes a blocking resistance functionality that allows users to circumvent the blocking of the underlying anonymity service AN.ON by accessing it via other users of the software (forwarding client).[citation needed]

The addresses of JAP users that provide a forwarding server can be retrieved by getting contact to AN.ON’s InfoService network, either automatically or, if this network is blocked, too, by writing an e-mail to one of these InfoServices. The JAP software automatically decrypts the answer after the user completes a CAPTCHA. The developers are currently[citation needed] planning to integrate additional and even stronger blocking resistance functions.

[edit] Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Using Virtual Private Networks, a user who experiences internet censorship can create a secure connection to a more permissive country, and browse the internet as if they were situated in that country. Some services are offered for a monthly fee, others are ad-supported.

[edit] Psiphon

Psiphon software allows users in nations with censored Internet such as China to access banned websites like Wikipedia. The service requires that the software be installed on a computer with uncensored access to the Internet so that the computer can act as a proxy for users in censored environments.[6]

[edit] Tor

Tor is a free software implementation that allows users to bypass Internet censorship while granting strong anonymity; see Tor (anonymity network)#Weaknesses for its weaknesses.

[edit] Sneakernets

Sneakernet is a term used to describe the transfer of electronic information, especially computer files, by physically carrying data on storage media from one place to another. A sneakernet can move data regardless of network restrictions simply by not using the network at all.

The volunteer organization Information Without Borders is attempting to implement a sneakernet routing protocol for providing cheap Internet access to developing and post-conflict regions using donated flash drives, PDAs and mobile phones. The protocol is also useful for providing free and open Internet access to people living under repressive regimes that restrict free expression by limiting access. This protocol is still under development, but actual flash-drive sneakernets are known to exist in Cuba. Flash-drive sneakernets were used in 2008 to distribute a video of a student asking why Cubans are not permitted to access web sites like Yahoo.

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