Internet censorship is a growing problem around the world (here in Iran, for example, Israeli paper Haaretz is available online, but the Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Australian are not. I’m told that such blocking is often random.)
Amnesty International is running a global campaign to highlight these issues and a recent conference documented the various ways in which Western multinationals are assisting repressive governments do their dirty work. Ron Deibert, co-founder of OpenNet, said:
“The prospect of an arms race in cyberspace is very real. The bottom line is we can no longer take the internet for granted as a structure that supports basic human rights. We have assumed it has some magical powers that support human rights and help us evade censorship, but states are actively intervening in the environment.”
This issue is relevant in Iran, where a number of bloggers I’m spending time with tell me that their sites are often blocked for hours or days, then magically re-appear. But these brave figures remain defiant.