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Building a Wall
Internet Censorship Worldwide

Building a Wall
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  • Censorship and Art (by )
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The Information Age has impacted the way we navigate our lives, from how we work to how we communicate and shop. The Internet has become a necessary tool for many worldwide, but remains off limits to a vast number of people.

According to a study by Freedom on the Net, two-thirds of all internet users (67%) reside in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family is subject to censorship. An article posted on cited that only a quarter (24%) of the internet’s population had completely free access. In 2016, “internet freedom” worldwide declined for the sixth consecutive year. While Freedom House—a blog developed by Center for International Private Enterprise states that Estonia, Iceland, and Canada are the most open in terms of Internet freedom—China, Syria, and Iran are among the most restrictive.

China’s communist regime only allows its people to visit websites that meet party standards. Its system, nicknamed the Great Firewall, omits access to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Other highly restrictive countries include North Korea where all websites are under government control, and Cuba where internet service is available only at government controlled access points. Saudi Arabia’s highly restrictive regulation imposes severe punishments for online activism and support for human rights.
Recent headlines highlighted a story about a Saudi woman who caused quite a stir when she shared a video of herself via Snapchat. In the video, she donned a miniskirt and crop top in public. Some Saudis called for her arrest since she violated the rules of dress, which demand that women wear abayas in public.

As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” There are a variety of ways to circumvent internet censorship through tools such as Tor, Freegate, and UltraSurf, as well as VPN (Virtual Private Network)—a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks such as WiFi hotspots and the internet. 

For more on censorship, explore British Censorship and Enemy Publications by Theodore Wesley Koch; The Censorship of the Church of Rome by George Haven Putnam; and Censorship and Art by John Galsworthy. 

By Regina Molaro

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