International Bloggers and Internet Control

15 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011

See all articles by Hal Roberts

Hal Roberts

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Ethan Zuckerman

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Jillian York

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Robert Faris

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

John G. Palfrey

Harvard Law School

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

The Internet is an increasingly contested space, particularly in countries with repressive governments. Infringements on Internet freedom, particularly through Internet filtering and surveillance, have inspired activists and technologists to develop technological counter-measures, most notably circumvention tools to defeat Internet filters and anonymity tools to help protect user privacy and avoid online surveillance efforts. The widely heralded role of online activism in the Arab spring and the increasing incidence of Internet filtering around the world have spurred greater interest in supporting the development and dissemination of these tools as a means to foster greater freedom of expression online and strengthen the hand of activists demanding political reform. However, despite the perceived importance of this field, relatively little is known about the demand for and usage patterns of these tools.

In December 2010, we surveyed a sample of international bloggers to better understand how, where, why, and by whom these tools are being used.

From previous research, we know that circumvention tools are effective in evading national Internet filtering, though they can be slow, insecure and difficult to use. We also know that worldwide circumvention tool usage is limited. In our recent report on circumvention tool usage, we found that at most (and likely far fewer than) 3% of Internet users in countries that engage in substantial filtering use circumvention tools once a month or more. Through this survey, we aim to better understand usage of these tools by a specific community of politically- and internationally-oriented bloggers.

The full, aggregated results of the survey are available at: International Bloggers and Internet Control: Full Survey Results

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Hal and Zuckerman, Ethan and York, Jillian and Faris, Robert and Palfrey, John G., International Bloggers and Internet Control (August 1, 2011). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2011-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1940457

Hal Roberts

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/hroberts

Ethan Zuckerman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jillian York

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Robert Faris

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John G. Palfrey

Harvard Law School ( email )

1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Areeda Hall 511
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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