Censorship: the nuclear option

Posted on June 20, 2009  /  1 Comments

Some governments shut down telecom networks including the Internet to control dissent. Others do not. What are the conditions that give rise to the former action? Why do others not do this? Israel never shuts down telecom networks but Sri Lanka does. Why?

And yet the Twittering goes on. As states such as Iran crack down on online speech and organizing, clever netizens find ways around the controls. In Iran as well as in China, Burma and parts of the former Soviet Union, there’s an on-again, off-again process of citizens speaking out and states pushing back.

Of course, governments always have the nuclear option when it comes to the Internet: They can shut it down and keep it down. It’s what Burma did when monks took to the streets in 2007. It’s the policy of North Korea and Cuba, where only very few people can access the Internet, usually for very narrow purposes.

Full story in Washington Post.

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