Tag - Internet Censorship

The end of net neutrality knocks on our doors

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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A sad, censored internet world – a potential risk of the EU copyright law

Clearly, the internet world and online content are constantly changing.  Apparently, the European Commission believes it has become a far greater and wider world than anyone can bear so the organization found its way to make it just a little smaller. One specific article from the EU copyright law has become a cause for concern for many worldwide organizations and ministers.

This is what Article 13 says:

“Information society service providers that store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users shall, in cooperation with rightholders, take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders for the use of their works or other subject-matter or to prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightholders through the cooperation with the service providers. Those measures such as the use of effective content recognition technologies shall be appropriate and proportionate. “

This change contradicts a former EU policy, passed in 2000, which states that websites should act as “mere conduit”, which means simply offering a platform for online users. The policy does not indicate the fact that website owners should be held responsible for material posted to their sites.

Where would the implementation of Article 13 lead to?

Limitations on freedom of speech and expression

Based on Article 13, internet service providers will have to implement upload filters for all online content such as music, movies, and any text such as news and information.  At a first glance, this largely affects big companies like YouTube or Wikipedia, but at large, it affects all online users simply because the freedom of expression is reduced. This also means the worldwide digital content will be drastically diminished.

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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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