Amnesty Int’l Warns Of Web Censorship “Virus”

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It may not be fatal, but it’s a pretty bad disease nonetheless; according to Amnesty International, “The virus of Internet repression is spreading.”

Those words were spoken by Tim Hancock, the organization’s campaigns director in the UK, during a conference.  “The ‘Chinese model’ – of an Internet that allows economic growth but not free speech or privacy – is growing in popularity, from a handful of countries five years ago to dozens of governments today who block sites and arrest bloggers,” he continued.

Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson, who recorded Hancock’s words, adds that Hancock linked Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to the Chinese model.  Each company has been called out (repeatedly) for its actions in that country; ironically, all of them have still pretty much failed to make headway, despite their concessions to government censorship.

Then Anderson notes, “even Amnesty admits that not all censorship is bad, making the entire debate more murky.  For instance, European countries often censor ‘hate speech’ or anything that appears designed to incite racial hatred – something that Amnesty supports.”

So view this next display – a “Global Internet Filtering Map” – with that caveat in mind.  Canada, Australia, and even the good ol’ U.S. of A. appear to employ forms of social censorship, and that doesn’t necessarily mean much.  Yet the worst areas for censorship appear to be the Middle East and Asia, and that, according to Amnesty International, is indeed the case.

There’s probably not much we, as individuals, can do about this – dictators don’t follow the advice of free speech groups on Facebook.  At least, by becoming aware of this “virus,” we might be able to avoid infection ourselves.

Amnesty Int’l Warns Of Web Censorship “Virus”
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