As the countdown to the Beijing Olympics nears four months, James Fallows explains the intricacies of China's internet censorship tools and how the Chinese government will allow foreign visitors access an unfettered web. Chinese citizens are often blocked from information, such as reports on crack downs in Tibet, that the government prefers to cover up. This article reveals the government’s motives behind the censorship and how the “Great Firewall of China” works.
China’s system of Internet censorship and surveillance, popularly known as the “Great Firewall,” is the most advanced in the world. In this report, Human Rights Watch documents how extensive corporate and private sector cooperation – including by some of the world’s major Internet companies – enables this system of censorship. Research was performed through interviews and extensive testing of search engines inChina, and includes 18 screen shots to illustrate examples of censorship. The report vividly illustrates how various companies, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype block terms they believe the Chinese government will want them to censor.
This report argues that while the Republic of Yemen substantially filters material on topics related to sex, sexuality and gambling, the state does not try to control broadly what its citizens see on the Internet. For instance, unlike certain other states that filter Internet content, Yemen does not block political content and its blocking of religious content is limited, focusing only on a small number of anti-Islam sites.
Following the revelation of USAID's deployment of a secret Twitter-inspired communications platform in Cuba, Julia Sweig reflects, in her column, on U.S.-Cuba relations and on the loose definition of democracy-promotion in foreign policy.
Joshua Kurlantzick and Elizabeth Leader discuss how the newest threats to expression and access on the Internet are not coming from authoritarian states, but instead from somewhere more surprising: electoral democracies like Thailand, Turkey, and South Korea.
Jerome A. Cohen states, "The Chinese government's current suppression of rising internet protests against its barbaric abuse of the blind 'barefoot lawyer' Chen Guangcheng raises fundamental questions about the impact of legal reforms on real life in China."
The flow of data across international borders creates jurisdictional challenges and causes international tensions. Increasingly, countries have responded by imposing new requirements to store data locally, threatening cross-border data flows, which generate approximately $2.8 trillion of global gross domestic product each year. CFR Senior Fellow for Digital Policy Karen Kornbluh argues that the United States should take the lead in addressing these tensions.
The U.S. government's effort to persuade other countries to adopt norms of responsibility for cyberspace faces a significant obstacle: computers located in the United States host much of the malicious software used to carry out cyberattacks. Robert K. Knake explains.
The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability.