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France enacts law to block sites hosting terror, child abuse content

02/09, 10:17am

French ISPs have 24 hours to block content following government request

The French government is now able to order Internet service providers to block websites relating to terrorism and child pornography. The new law, brought into effect following its publication in an official journal and in development since mid-2014, forces ISPs to prevent access to specific content discovered by government officials within 24 hours of a request.


China blocks privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo

09/22, 1:21pm

DuckDuckGo unavailable in China since start of month

The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo is unable to be used in China. Selling itself as a service which does not collect personal information about its users, DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in the country since earlier this month, and though there is no official explanation from any party, it is believed to be an act of censorship by the Chinese government.


Google starts removing 'Right to be Forgotten' requests from search

06/26, 9:13am

European search results for names carry warnings of possible removed listings

Google has started to remove search results in Europe, in accordance with a recent ruling over the "Right to be Forgotten". After receiving requests from Internet users wanting links to be removed from search listings, Google is not only leaving out the URL, but also warning users their search results may have been adjusted to conform to the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling.


Twitter blocks 'blasphemous' content in Pakistan, attacked by EFF

05/23, 10:33am

Censorship requests from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority performed by Twitter

Twitter has come under fire for agreeing to requests by a bureaucrat in Pakistan to block certain content from the site. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has attacked Twitter for complying with the requests from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, suggesting the agency does not have any legal authority to demand the removal of the content.


Apple pulls censorship-circumventing iOS app from Chinese App Store

12/13, 5:04pm

Company criticized for bowing to government pressure

Apple has reportedly pulled a censorship-circumventing app from the Chinese iOS App Store. The app, titled FreeWeibo and developed through collaboration with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, is said to have worked around the government's censorship filters for content posted on the Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo.


Egyptian court blocks YouTube for 30 days over video

02/10, 2:57pm

Incendiary video continues to trouble Google

A court in Egypt has ordered for video sharing site YouTube to be blocked for hosting a video deemed blasphemous by a number of parties. Access to YouTube will be restricted over a 30-day period as it continues to offer the film "Innocence of Muslims" for viewing, something which has already provoked strong reactions in the last few months.


South Korea to censor swear words on teenagers' smartphones

12/30, 11:18pm

Filter to also block pornography, harmful information

Teenagers in South Korea may be required to have censorship software installed onto their mobile phones, if government plans come to fruition. The proposals would see profanity and pornography blocked from view on smartphones, and is hoped to curb "illegal and harmful information" being sent to teenagers in the country.


Pakistan lifts, reinstates YouTube 'blasphemous' block

12/30, 9:44pm

Temporary unbanning of YouTube quickly reversed

Pakistan lifted its ban on video-sharing site YouTube, only to block it shortly afterwards. The block, originally started due to content deemed blasphemous appearing on the service, has seen the website inaccessible within the country, though both the length of time and the reasons for the block being reinstated varies between reports.


Syrian government disconnects Internet access nationally

11/29, 11:50am

Internet, telecommunications disrupted as fighting escalates

Syria is cut off from the Internet, according to an access monitoring firm, in what is being seen as a bid for censorship by the local government. All 84 of Syria's IP address blocks are currently unreachable, "effectively removing the country from the Internet," and appears to be linked to the current battle between the country's armed forces and Syrian rebels.


Iran blocks access to Google, Gmail over YouTube video

09/24, 1:48pm

Confirms first step in private national network complete

Iran has blocked its citizens from accessing Google and Gmail. The country is blocking access to the web giant's websites as part of the ongoing protests over a YouTube video deemed blasphemous by religious leaders, however some see it as the first stage in the country creating its own national network, separate from the Internet.


Pakistan blocks YouTube over 'blasphemous' video

09/17, 5:12pm

Prime minister demands block following protests

YouTube has been banned in Pakistan after Google refused to remove a video deemed "blasphemous" from the site. Prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered the Ministry of Information and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block the site, preventing the country's inhabitants from viewing a controversial video mocking the prophet Muhammad.


Iran blocks HTTPS sites to prevent protests

02/10, 11:20am

Stoppage likely to continue for weeks.

Iran is apparently proactively censoring selected Internet sites. Reports out of that country claim that the government there is blocking access to Google, Yahoo, and Gmail, It is also preventing access to sites using the secure Https protocol, effectively preventing any online banking services.


Bill aims to restrict exports of censorship software

12/01, 8:15pm

Legislators to limit spyware distribution

Legislators are currently drafting a bill that aims to impose export restrictions on software that can be used by foreign governments to monitor citizens or censor Internet content. Republican Representative Chris Smith, the bill's sponsor, suggests such legislation is necessary to help prevent certain governments from using American-produced software to quash political dissent.


Australian ISPs Optus, Telstra to opt to censor 500 websites

06/25, 7:50pm

Optus and Telstra opt for voluntary censorship

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published a commentary critical of new voluntary censorship measures adopted by two of Australia’s largest ISPs, Optus and Telstra. Optus and Telstra have taken the decision to block a list of websites that depict child abuse provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). While most people would support the blocking of child porn websites, critics have argued that there is no transparency in the selection of URLs to be blocked and no accountability required of the regulatory bodies that develop the lists.


Baidu and China sued for Internet censorship

05/19, 7:25am

“Great Firewall of China” leads to lawsuit

Chinese Internet search giant Baidu has been sued in the US by a group of free speech advocates for censoring Chinese freedom of speech websites. The group of eight New York residents has also included the Chinese government in its complaint. The group claims that as the Baidu site can be utilized in the US, that it violates the US Constitution by reportedly colluding with the Chinese government to omit search results.


Apple bars Danish Android magazine from App Store

11/26, 8:10pm

"Eye Candy" models also a problem for publishers

Apple has rejected a "magazine" app from Danish publisher Mediaprovider because the content was exclusively about Android, the rival mobile OS to Apple's own iOS -- reinforcing charges that Apple's censorship is heavy-handed, arbitrary and in some cases hypocritical -- in fact, a magazine app from the Netherlands called Androidworld Reader is already available on the App Store. While the App Store features dozens of magazines that have some discussion of other mobile operating systems in them -- Wired's popular iPad app being a prime example -- the fact that Android Magasinet is devoted exclusively to Google's smartphone OS was cited as the deciding factor, says publisher Brian Dixen.


Google, Microsoft help found anti-censorship group

10/29, 11:50am

New anti-censorship group

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are among the founding members of a new anti-censorship group called the Global Network Initiative, reports indicate. The organization also has the backing of investor, human rights and press freedom groups, such as the Center for Democracy and Technology. The GNI is specifically aimed at forming a consistent approach to dealing with countries that block free speech on the Internet, such as China. Many governments around the world filter search results, or simply prevent citizens from accessing certain websites.


Apple bans Murderdrome iPhone app

08/26, 3:40pm

Apple pulls comic app

Apple has banned the comic book iPhone app Murderdrome, its creators claim. This adds to a growing list of titles that have been banned from the App Store for one reason or another, including Tetris clone Tris, lightsaber emulator PhoneSaber, and the "bling" app I Am Rich. Apple has used a variety of reasons for each pull, this time the iPhone SDK's assertion that content cannot offend Apple's "reasonable" sensibilities.


China reopens iTunes access, blocks Tibet album

08/26, 10:15am

China resumes iTunes

Access to Apple's iTunes Store is once again available in China, although some content is no longer visible, according to SFGate. The service was apparently blocked by the Chinese regime last week; a controversial pro-Tibet album, however, is still unavailable to shoppers in the country. The album is suspected as the main reason for the earlier blockage of iTunes.


Activist groups turn to FCC to prevent SMS blocking

12/12, 12:50pm

FCC to address SMS blocks

Several activist groups have submitted a petition to the FCC regarding SMS blocking, filings indicate. The problem, says a coalition include Public Knowledge, Educause and six other groups, is that cellular networks are sometimes blocking bulk text messages without legitimate pretext, hurting operations. One recent example comes from September, when Verizon refused to provide short codes to NARAL Pro-Choice America; although the group only wanted to send out opt-in alerts, Verizon said it would not allow "highly controversial" texts on its network.



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