ODHIAMBO BIBIAN ADHIAMBO
I extend my gratitude to the almighty God for his divine grace and more so during this demanding time of my term paper. I am heartily indebted to Mr. Kengere Kibwage who guided me throughout the term paper tenure without which it would be impossible to complete the report. I also express my sincere thanks to my family for their moral and financial support they accorded me during the term paper. Special thanks also to all my colleagues and friends for their support in helping me come up with a successful report. Once again I would like to thank all those people who gave their valuable support by helping me in this report which is a great learning experience. Thank you.
TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS
TABLE OF CONTENT
Internet censorship is the suppression or control of what can be accessed, published and viewed on the internet enacted by regulators or on their own initiative. Internet censorship puts restrictions on what information can be publicized or viewed on the Internet. Individuals, governments and other organizations commonly use internet censorship to block access to copyrighted information as well as to harmful or sensitive content for moral, religious or business reasons. However, internet censorship can also be used as a propaganda method to promote specific religions and political agendas. The areas of censorship include copyrights, defamation, harassment and obscene material.
In the beginning, the Internet was monitored by the Internet community rather than by governments or official organizations. The goal was to avoid government interference in order to promote freedom of speech and lack of prejudice. Though these initial sentiments were admirable in theory, governments and other bodies have been increasingly monitoring the Internet after concluding that self-monitoring was no longer adequate to solve emerging issues. Several examples of these issues included the increase of criminal activity on the Internet, the evolution of the Internet as a social phenomenon, the diversity of Internet users, and the advent of various political doctrines on the Internet.
FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS
Internet censorship exists to, prevent individuals accessing copyrighted information, stop people from viewing harmful or sensitive content, promote particular religions and political ideas, control Internet- related and Internet-communicated crime and monitor the billions of people on the Internet with varying opinions and preferences.
Thus, internet censorship acts as a viable method by governments and official organizations to manage what their citizens can view. Internet content is subject to technical censorship methods, including:
Internet Protocol (IP) address 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 such as Google have allocated additional IP addresses to circumvent the block, but later the block was extended to cover the new addresses. Due to challenges with geolocation, geo-blocking is normally implemented via IP address blocking.
Domain name system (DNS) filtering and redirection: Blocked domain names are not resolved, or an incorrect IP address is returned via DNS hijacking or other means. This affects all IP-based protocols such as HTTP, FTP and POP. A typical circumvention method is to find an alternative DNS resolver that resolves domain names correctly, but domain name servers are subject to blockage as well, especially IP address blocking. Another workaround is to bypass DNS if the IP address is obtainable from other sources and is not itself blocked.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering: URL strings are scanned 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 can also be blocked for some variable amount of time. Depending on the location of the block, other users or websites may also be blocked, if the communication is routed through the blocking location. A circumvention method is to ignore the reset packet sent by the firewall.
Network disconnection: A technically simpler method of Internet censorship is to completely cut off all routers, either by software or by hardware turning off machines, pulling out cables.
Portal censorship and search result removal: Major portals, including search engines, may exclude web sites that they would ordinarily include. This renders a site invisible to people who do not know where to find it. When a major portal does this, it has a similar effect as censorship. Sometimes this exclusion is done to satisfy a legal or other requirement, other times it is purely at the discretion of the portal.
Computer network attacks: Denial-of-service attacks and attacks that deface opposition websites can produce the same result as other blocking techniques, preventing or limiting access to certain websites or other online services, although only for a limited period of time. This technique might be used during the lead up to an election or some other sensitive period. It is more frequently used by non-state actors seeking to disrupt services.
Internet Censorship in China
Internet Censorship in USA
Internet Censorship in Egypt
The researcher used online research methodology. This is the use of information available in the internet for research (Hargittai, 2002). The researcher chose the design because it provides quick, immediate access to wide range of information.
Sample and sampling procedure
The researcher analyzed the information found in the web based on their relevancy with the topic under study.
Data collection materials
The information for the research was obtained from online archives, articles, and Wikipedia.
The Internet is and has always been a space where participants battle for control. This paper makes it clear that there is no global consensus on what mechanisms of control are best suited for managing conflicts on the Internet, just as there is none for other fields of human endeavor. That said, there is optimism that with vigilance and continuing efforts to maintain transparency the Internet can stay as a force for increasing freedom than a tool for more efficient repression. The motivations for censorship range from well-intentioned desires to protect children from unsuitable content to authoritarian attempts to control a nation’s access to information. No matter what the censors’ reasons are, the end result is the same: They block access to the web pages they identify as undesirable. Internet censorship isn’t just a parental or governmental tool. There are several software products on the consumer market that can limit or block access to specific Web sites.
• Introduction to Special Issue on Internet Censorship and Control by Steven J. Murdoch and Hal Roberts.
• Not by Technical Means Alone: The Multidisciplinary Challenge of Studying Information Controls by Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Ronald J. Deibert, and Adam Senft.
• Assessing Censorship on Microblogs in China: Discriminatory Keyword Analysis and Impact Evaluation of the ‘Real Name Registration’ Policy by King-wa Fu, Chung-hong Chan and Michael Chau.
• Censorship V3.1 by Derek E. Bambauer.
• Anarchy, State, or Utopia? Checks and Balances of Power in Internet Governance by M. Christopher Riley.
• Steven J. Murdoch University of Cambridge, Hal Roberts Harvard University Internet Censorship and Control IC-17-03-GEI.indd 64/5/13 2:27 PM Internet Censorship and Control MAY/JUNE 2013