The Cycles of Global Telecommunication Censorship and Surveillance

Santa Clara Law School - High Tech Law Institute, Internet Law Work-In-Progress Paper Series No.3, March, 2014

University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2015

61 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2014 Last revised: 13 Jun 2015

See all articles by Jon Penney

Jon Penney

Harvard Law School; Harvard Kennedy School - Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Citizen Lab, University of Toronto

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Internet censorship and surveillance is on the rise globally and cyber-warfare increasing in scope and intensity. To help understand these new threats commentators have grasped at historical analogies often with little regard for historical complexity or international perspective. Unfortunately, helpful new works on telecommunications history have focused primarily on U.S. history with little focus on international developments. There is thus a need for further internationally oriented investigation of telecommunications technologies, and their history. This essay attempts to help fill that void, drawing on case studies wherein global telecommunications technologies have been disrupted or censored — telegram censorship and surveillance, high frequency radio jamming, and direct broadcast satellite blocking. The case studies suggest remarkable regulatory patterns or cycles with insights for current censorship and privacy threats and challenges.

Keywords: internet censorship, privacy, surveillance, telecommunications, international law, global telecommunications, telecommunications history, NSA, surveillance, encryption, communications law, international policy

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Penney, Jonathon, The Cycles of Global Telecommunication Censorship and Surveillance (2014). Santa Clara Law School - High Tech Law Institute, Internet Law Work-In-Progress Paper Series No.3, March, 2014; University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2398491 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2398491

Jonathon Penney (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard Kennedy School - Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA Nova Scotia 02138
Canada

Citizen Lab, University of Toronto ( email )

Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7
Canada

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