censorship Archives — Page 2 of 2


The long game of freedom

Posted on January 15, 2011  /  0 Comments

We are part of an ongoing conversation with Amartya Sen, Randy Spence and others on the freedom-enhancing possibilities of ICTs in general (including the question of whether the conventional Internet is better than the mobile Internet in this respect). Looks like it is a bigger conversation. Last week Morazov’s book was reviewed, this week Clayton Shirky enters the fray. Second, his essay distinguishes between short-term goals and long-term objectives. Most debates over cyberspace versus sovereignty get bogged down by looking for immediate effects.
Occasionally a piece on what the Internet is doing to our brains catches our attention. Sometimes we address topics of censorship and privacy though it is not our main focus. A review of a book on the early days of the printed book in Europe (not Korea) caught our attention. Should be interesting reading–the book. The review definitely is.

Chinese Internet

Posted on April 8, 2010  /  1 Comments

“Press control has really moved to the center of the agenda,” said David Bandurski, an analyst at the China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong. “The Internet is the decisive factor there. It’s the medium that is changing the game in press control, and the party leaders know this.” Today, China censors everything from the traditional print press to domestic and foreign Internet sites; from cellphone text messages to social networking services; from online chat rooms to blogs, films and e-mail. It even censors online games.

Living without Google

Posted on January 17, 2010  /  1 Comments

The censors among us (they do not live only in China) need to pay attention to the consequences of their actions and how it can alienate the next generation. “How am I going to live without Google?” asked Wang Yuanyuan, a 29-year-old businessman, as he left a convenience store in Beijing’s business district. China’s Communist leaders have long tried to balance their desire for a thriving Internet and the economic growth it promotes with their demands for political control. The alarm over Google among Beijing’s younger, better-educated and more Internet savvy citizens — China’s future elite — shows how wobbly that balancing act can be.
LIRNEasia’s focus is infrastructure, so we don’t write much about censorship and such, except when it becomes unavoidable. There are plenty of entities that have censorship as the primary focus, but few who deal with our specialization. Yet, we are increasingly being dragged into this area, as when our book on ICT infrastructure was detained in the Sri Lanka Customs under some unstated provision, when SMS was shut down on Independence Day and so on. In the midst of the controversy about Google threatening to withdraw from China because of their approach to censorship, it was mentioned in the NYT that some Chinese twitters saw it as a withdrawal from the world by China, not as a withdrawal of Google from China: China promptly tried to censor the ensuing debate about its censorship, but many Chinese Twitter users went out of their way to praise Google. One from Guangdong declared: “It’s not Google that’s withdrawing from China, it’s China that’s withdrawing from the world.
In the old days, you’d just take over the newspapers and the TV channels. Now you have to take over the phone company too. It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.

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.
Twitter postpones scheduled maintenance to keep service available for Iranian users. Journalists request video on twitter and get deluged with responses. The BBC’s Persian-language television channel said that for a time on Tuesday, it was receiving about five videos a minute from amateurs, even though the channel is largely blocked within Iran. One showed pro-government militia members firing weapons at a rally. “We’ve been struck by the amount of video and eyewitness testimony,” said Jon Williams, the BBC world news editor.