Tag - Internet Censorship

Article 13 – Changes in EU copyright law can end your freedom of expression online

Update, June 21st: 

The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs voted in favor of Article 13 yesterday.  This isn’t a final vote, but since the committee decided to push Article 13 forward, it seems there is only one small step to the final stage of the legislation process.

Changes in Article 13 won’t become official until next month, when the general assembly of the Parliament gives the last vote. One way to reverse the decision would be if all 751 MEPs agree to dissolve the controversial article and let the world wide web the way it is.

So, there is still time. Convince your MEP to vote against Article 13!

Update, June 18th: 

Several digital activists have been warning us about Article 13 from EU’s copyright law since last year.

If you think it’s nothing important, think again! This could highly impact your entire web experience.

Imagine you have to pay a fee to online platforms and websites for every little piece of content you take over from them. Whether you use short snippets of text from an original article as part of a link in one of your posts (it could be blog article or social media post) or upload a photo or a video on your platform. Up until now it was considered fair and legal to simply mention the source. However, Article 13 wants everyone to pay for all these small bits of content everyone is supposed to be free to use.

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The end of net neutrality knocks on our doors

Update, May 18th: 

Two days ago, the U.S. Senate has made a successful first step in the long battle towards restoring net neutrality. The Senate achieved a 52-47 vote in favor of an equal and open internet for all American citizens. Senators succeeded by invoking the CRA (Congressional Review Act) which allows them to revoke recent decisions of government agencies.

This is good news and instills hope for all Americans who opposed the FCC and have been fighting against the repeal of net neutrality. This is the result of the ongoing efforts of several organizations and activists that chose to not give up and defend their rights. And we applaud that!

Yet, as mentioned, the winning battle is just starting!

The next step: members of the House of Representatives have to pass their vote as well. To get a positive outcome, a full majority of House members have to support the reinstatement of net neutrality. If that will happen, the final move is for Donald Trump to sign and have the policy reversed. Everyone knows the White House always backed FCC’s decision in dissolving net neutrality.

But let’s not lose hope! Good things can still happen. Many probably didn’t dare to believe net neutrality is actually important for American senators. They proved they care. We should all continue to fight for it.

Here are useful resources if you want to follow more updates on this topic:

Update, December 15th: Despite everything, the inevitable occurred and the FCC’s final vote for dismantling net neutrality took place yesterday. U.S. ISPs have now full power to block websites, suppress services, and censor online content.

After the vote, it appears that several Republican voters declared to be against the resolution to put a stop to net neutrality. In addition, many attorney generals and state officials including members of the Congress plan to sue the FCC over the repeal.

The effects of the end of net neutrality will become official in a few months so maybe there is still hope.

However, CyberGhost VPN can still help you enjoy internet freedom like you used to and access any website you please.

As recently announced, the FCC had to come up with the final proposal regarding net neutrality until November 22nd. Yesterday, Ajit Pai announced that it will dismantle net neutrality rules, giving giant telecom and web companies full power on deciding what online content to deliver to their customers. Additionally, the end of net neutrality would mean that ISPs can either slow down or speed up web services at their own will. Clearly, only big companies will afford to offer the best connections to consumers.

FCC Chairman mentioned the new proposal would actually mean restoring internet freedom since it forces ISPs to be transparent on the costs they require users for each web service they provide. Customers can simply choose a service plan according to their needs and preferences. Basically, American citizens will pay different costs for a basic internet service and will have to pay more if they want to access music or movie websites, for example.

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Map of Internet Censorship [Infographic]

For most of us, internet is something we take for granted. We’ve got used to going online whenever we need to gather information, communicate with friends and family or update our social media profiles. We do it whenever we feel lonely or bored. Getting our phones out for the sake of correcting a friend, winning an argument or simply checking the latest updates of our acquaintances has become a knee jerk reaction.

There are, however, plenty of countries in which access to internet is regarded as a privilege rather than a right. For them, internet is not synonymous with freedom of speech and quick and unlimited access to exhaustive information. Their governments restrict or completely block access to torrents, file-hosting websites, social and political media and pornography, with justifications that range from combating software piracy to looking out for the well-being of their citizens, known also as state-enforced morality.

Below, you can find an infographic (click to see the entire infographic) presenting the censorship situation on 5 continents, based on several criteria, such as the restrictions they imposed on torrents, social and political media and pornography, as well as their level of censorship ranging from very low restrictions to no access at all. Read More

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