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guide to by-passing internet censorship: For citizens worldwide
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or content filtering, has become a major global problem.
Whereas once it was assumed
that states could not control Internet communications, according
to research by the OpenNet Initiative (http://opennet.net) more
than 25 countries now engage in Internet censorship practices. Those
with the most pervasive filtering policies have been found to routinely
block access to human rights organizations, news, blogs, and web
services that challenge the status quo or are deemed threatening
or undesirable. Others block access to single categories of Internet
content, or intermittently to specific websites or network services
to coincide with strategic events, such as elections or public demonstrations.
Although some states
enact Internet filtering legislation, most do so with little or
no transparency and public accountability. Most states do not reveal
what information is being blocked, and rarely are there review or
grievance mechanisms for affected citizens or content publishers.
Compounding the problem is the increasing use of commercial filtering
software, which is prone to over-blocking due to faulty categorization.
Commercial filters block access to categorized lists of websites
that are kept secret for proprietary reasons, even for customers.
As a consequence, unaccountable private companies determine censorship
rules in political environments where there is little public accountability
or oversight. For example, commercial filtering software is used
to censor the Internet in Burma, Tunisia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and
This guide is meant to
introduce non-technical users to Internet censorship circumvention
technologies, and help them choose which of them best suits their
circumstances and needs.
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