Recently on on 12 March 2011 the website Reporters Without Borders(http://march12.rsf.org/en/) and Amnesty International decided to observe the World Day Against Cyber Censorship.Various geeks on Reporters Without Borders has carried out a new survey of online freedom of expression for World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on 12 March. Of course Cyber Censorship is an early issue routing over WWW but the above step had taken it to next level.Being not to exaggerate too much on topic ot not to create any dispute we share the news we got .
“One in three of the world’s Internet users does not have access to an unrestricted Internet,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said.” Around 60 countries censor the Internet to varying degrees and harass netizens. At least 119 people are currently in prison just for using the Internet to express their views freely. The above statements appears to be freaky and anxious , doesn’t it?.Whether it’s true or not but recent events in Egypt, cuba ,china adds to the above points much lot.Does this mean that the “democracy” and “freedom” so often talked about in relation to the internet is under threat?.
The idea of government or big corporations somehow limiting the scope of people to interact with each other freely is worrying the creator of the world wide web itself,Tim Berner Lee too pointed out that “”Do not let it be controlled by governments or by large corporations. It is a network of people.” But there are signs that the web is becoming dominated by the few.According to the think-tank Reporters Without Borders, a large proportion of the Europe & Some parts of Asia has at least some form of censorship in place.In countries where the traditional media are controlled by the government, the only independent news and information are to be found on the Internet, which has become a forum for discussion and a refuge for those who want to express their views freely.
However, more and more governments have realised this and are reacting by trying to control the Internet. Never have so many countries been affected by some form of online censorship .
On a different perspective But some experts says that “we can’t blame too much on restricting sites or cyber censorship since most of the government related websites faces cyber security threats and irrational protests”.
In some cases, Internet censorship may involve deceit. In such cases the censoring authority may block content while leading the public to believe that censorship has not been applied. This may be done by having the ISP provide a fake “Not Found” error message upon the request of an Internet page that is actually found but blocked .
Some commonly used methods for (partial) censoring content (According to wikipedia) are:
- IP blocking. Access to a certain IP address is denied. If the target Web site is hosted in a shared hosting server, all websites on the same server will be blocked. This affects IP-based protocols such as HTTP, FTP and POP. A typical circumvention method is to find proxies that have access to the target websites, but proxies may be jammed or blocked, and some Web sites, such as Wikipedia (when editing), also block proxies. Some large websites like Google have allocated additional IP addresses to circumvent the block, but later the block was extended to cover the new IPs.
- DNS filtering and redirection. Don’t resolve domain names, or return incorrect IP addresses. This affects all IP-based protocols such as HTTP, FTP and POP. A typical circumvention method is to find a domain name server that resolves domain names correctly, but domain name servers are subject to blockage as well, especially IP blocking. Another workaround is to bypass DNS if the IP address is obtainable from other sources and is not blocked. Examples are modifying the Hosts file or typing the IP address instead of the domain name in a Web browser.
- Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering. Scan the requested URL string for target keywords regardless of the domain name specified in the URL. This affects the HTTP protocol. Typical circumvention methods are to use escaped characters in the URL, or to use encrypted protocols such as VPN and TLS/SSL.
- Packet filtering. Terminate TCP packet transmissions when a certain number of controversial keywords are detected. This affects all TCP-based protocols such as HTTP, FTP and POP, but Search engine results pages are more likely to be censored. Typical circumvention methods are to use encrypted connections – such as VPN and TLS/SSL – to escape the HTML content, or by reducing the TCP/IP stack’s MTU/MSS to reduce the amount of text contained in a given packet.
- Connection reset. If a previous TCP connection is blocked by the filter, future connection attempts from both sides will also be blocked for up to 30 minutes. Depending on the location of the block, other users or websites may also be blocked if the communication is routed to the location of the block. A circumvention method is to ignore the reset packet sent by the firewall.Reverse surveillance. Computers accessing certain websites including Google are automatically exposed to reverse scanning from the ISP in an apparent attempt to extract further information from the “offending” system.
Since news on Net neutrality is popping around Web , Cyber Censorship too has got much importance.It’s really not a specific geographical based issue rather a world wide issue.