June 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) – State censorship of the Internet is growing and the techniques used are becoming increasingly sophisticated, according to the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a partnership of British, US, and Canadian universities.
The group has released an initial list of countries engaged in Internet censorship, which includes China, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The group believes that states will target other means of electronic communication next, such as mobile phone text messaging.
Although as many as 25 countries make the current list of countries that engage in Internet censorship, the list is by no means exhaustive, according to Ron Deibert, one of OpenNet Initiative’s principal investigators and director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.
I will be participating in Amnesty International’s Irrepressible.info one year anniversary conference, the details for which can be found here. We at the OpenNet Initiative have been providing background information and data for the campaign.
Here is a Guardian/Observer story on the upcoming event, and the way in which the campaign has had an impact so far.
The first ONI woodstock is over. I had a very productive time, and particularly enjoyed the debate at the Oxford Union.
Here are a few selected media stories about the ONI’s reports:
International Herald Tribue
archived here locally
…and here is a separate news item in the Guardian UK on Murdoch’s moves into China with a special version of MySpace.
Additionaly, I did a recent interview with SAP Online on the psiphon project.
The OpenNet Initiative is holding its first public conference to discuss the current state of play of Internet filtering worldwide. The conference will be hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute and held at the University of Oxford on May 18, 2007. The conference is free of charge and open to the public.
Results from the first global study of Internet filtering carried out by the OpenNet Initiative will be on the table for a day of discussion involving ICT development experts, speech and human rights advocates, journalists and bloggers, international laywers and scholars, and others interested in state responses to online information flows.
Click here for more information
I had the pleasure recently of giving a talk to the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, home of many friends and colleagues of the OpenNet Initiative. My talk was about securing human rights online, focusing in particular on the psiphon project.
You can see the entire talk here.
And here is a Radio Free Europe interview I did about psiphon.
The psiphon launch and worldwide public release went very well. Thanks to my colleague Rafal Rohozinski at the University of Cambridge, and lead engineer Mike Hull, Anton, Eugene, Nart, Jane, Sarah, and James for working so hard and getting it out there. It has, and continues to be, a real Citizen Lab team effort. Thanks also go to the Open Society Institute for supporting this and other Citizen Lab projects; to the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy (CILP) at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto; to the Clinical Program in Cyberlaw at Harvard Law School for legal advice, especially Alex Green and Matt Lovell; to the Parsons School of Design in New York City; and to numerous beta testers around the world.
The response has been tremendous, and we appreciate all of the feedback from the (as of the time of writing) 40,000+ psiphon node administrators worldwide.
We were fortunate to receive a lot of press coverage of psiphon, not all of it accurate unfortunately but that’s not unusual. Here are a few with some clarifications:
CBC The Hour
Globe and Mail *Note that the psiphon project is not funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The OpenNet Initiative is however. It is funded by the Open Society Institute and the CILP, as noted above.
IT Business *Note it is Mike Hull, not Hall.
I wrote an essay for the Far Eastern Economic Review that can be accessed here. The article discusses some of of the analytical findings raised by the research of the OpenNet Initiative project, and discusses the potential implications of our psiphon censorship circumvention tool.
In a recently issued report, ONI finds an increase in Internet censorship in Vietnam. Drawing from technical, legal, and political sources, ONI’s research finds that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is focusing its filtering on sites considered threatening to its one-party system. Furthermore, the technical sophistication, breadth, and effectiveness of Vietnam’s filtering are increasing with time. Similar to China, Vietnam has taken a multi-layered approach to controlling the Internet; Vietnam applies technical controls, the law, and education to restrict its citizens’ access to and use of information. Vietnam is carrying out this filtering with a notable lack of transparency – while Vietnam claims its blocking efforts are aimed at safeguarding the country against obscene or sexually explicit content, most of its filtering efforts target sites with politically or religiously sensitive material that could undermine Vietnam’s one-party system.
The full report can be found HERE.
Two recent interviews of mine have been published. The first is with the South Korean online publication Ohmynews, which discusses the Citizen Lab, the OpenNet Initiative and other projects in which I’m involved.
The second is a transcript of a conversation with Sharon Hom of Human Rights in China and Nart Villeneuve and me on the OpenNet Initiative, information warfare, and the state of online rights.