Opennet Initiative publishes alarming results on Internet filtering

By EDRi · May 23, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

On 19 May 2007 the Opennet Initiative (ONI) held a conference on the
state of global internet filtering. On the conference ONI presented the
results of its research over the last years. It concludes that an
increasing number of coutries is applying filtering to the Internet. The
core of the results can be found on ONI’s website and will be published
in a book in the end of 2007.

“It’s an alarming increase,” according to Ron Deibert, one of the
academics leading the ONI Initiative. “Once the tools are in place,
authorities realize that the Internet can be controlled. There used to
be a myth that the Internet was immune to regulation. Now governments
are realizing it’s actually the opposite.”

The academic study has categorized their findings on government Internet
filtering into four broad categories: political (such as opposition
material), social (such as pornography, gambling), conflict/security
(armed conflict, militant groups), and Internet tools (such as
anonimizers). There are country reports on 40 specific countries and
eight regional reports, including Europe, the last opening with: “In
less than a decade, the Internet in Europe has evolved from a virtually
unfettered environment to one in which filtering in most countries,
particularly within the European Union (EU), is the norm rather than the

An important conclusion of ONI is the lack of tranparency of the
filtering that was discovered. “What’s regrettable about net filtering
is that almost always this is happening in the shadows. There’s no place
you can get an answer as a citizen from your state about how they are
filtering and what is being filtered.”, according to John Palfrey,
director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, one of the
partners of ONI.

Internet filtering in Europe is a point on the agenda of the Council of
Europe Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society
(CoE MC-S-IS) in which EDRI is an observer. The first exchanges during
the March 2007 meeting of the MC-S-IS group on the technical filtering
of content seemed promising, EDRI-Gram reported on 12 April 2007, as a
large majority of participating member states expressed strong doubts on
both the usefulness of technical filtering measures and their
compatibility with Article 10 of the ECHR.

Research OpenNet Initiative

Governments using filters to censor Internet, survey finds (18.05.2007)

Global net censorship ‘growing’ (18.05.2007)

EDRI-gram: CoE to address the impact of technical measures on human rights

(Contribution by Joris van Hoboken – EDRI-member Bits of Freedom –