40 countries engage in Internet Censorship. They restrict access to many popular web sites which people in free countries can visit at any time and take for granted. Surprisingly, some American networking companies have installed systems in foreign countries which actually help to facilitate this violation of human rights.
The list of countries know to engage in Internet Censorship is as follows:
- China *
- Iran *
- Vietnam *
- Saudi Arabia *
- Tunisia *
- United Arab Emirates
- North Korea *
- South Korea (only blocks information about North Koerea).
- Burma *
- Cuba *
- Egypt *
- Syria *
- Turkmenistan *
- Uzbekistan *
* = Reporters Without Borders considers these countries to be “enemies of the Internet”.
One of the biggest offenders is China. According to Amnesty International, Chinese Internet activity is heavily monitored and people can be arrested and in some cases jailed or executed for using free speech to spread scientific information and political views. It has become difficult for large U.S. companies to do business. Some of them have even bowed down and restricted access to Chinese users per government request.
The Burmese government blocks sites which express dissident views or opposition to their government. In particular, websites advocating democracy in Burma are targeted. For a brief period in 2007, all Internet access was completely disabled. Use of a modem without authorization can result in a 15 year prison sentence.
Cuba has the lowest rate of computer owners per inhabitant in Latin America. Citizens often access the Internet via public access points which are heavily monitored.
Iran not only restricts anti-government free speech, they also suppress women’s rights information. Pornography and political blogs are strictly prohibited as well. Punishments can include imprisonment. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are amongst the list of sites which have been blocked at one point or another.
North Korea controls Net activity enough that it is practically used primarily as a propaganda tool. All content hosted in the country is controlled by the government. Routine browsing activities are watched extensively.
These are just a few examples of censorship on the Internet and its influence on limiting Human Rights. The issue is extensive and has global reach. Proxies are essential in allowing the citizens of these oppressive nations to access information freely and share ideas.
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