Internet Filtering - Be Careful What You Ask for
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute
January 16, 2007
FREEDOM AND PREJUDICE: APPROACHES TO MEDIA AND CULTURE, S. Kirca, L. Hanson, eds., pp. 74-91, Istanbul: Bahcesehir University Press, 2008
A growing number of states worldwide are imposing mandatory requirements on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent their subscribers from accessing overseas content that would be banned under local laws. It is well known that undemocratic states such as China implement online censorship; but a number of democracies with constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression are also imposing digital filters. States have further put pressure on Web publishers to remove content hosted outside their jurisdiction. This article critically examines the Internet filtering regimes and technologies used in a range of democratic and undemocratic states. It considers the effectiveness of filters, their impact on newer distribution systems such as peer-to-peer networks, and their compatibility with principles of freedom of expression. It concludes by contrasting the very limited effect of filters on determined users outside totalitarian states with their potential to impose mass censorship on mainstream Internet users.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
JEL Classification: O33, O38, K20
Date posted: November 2, 2007 ; Last revised: May 18, 2014
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