The latest issue of the journal “Index on Censorship” is dedicated to the topic of Internet censorship and features an article, “Shifting Borders”, by Ross Anderson and me. In it, we argue that it is wrong to claim that the Internet is free from barriers. They exist, and while often aligning with national boundaries they are hopefully lower.
However, the changing nature of the end-to-end principle is increasing the significance of barriers that stem from industry structure — which companies are hosting controversial information, where they do business, what markets do they compete in and what corporate partnerships are involved. The direction these take will have a significant impact on the scale of Internet censorship.
The rest of the journal is well worth reading, with authors including Xeni Jardin, David Weinberger and Jimmy Wales. I can especially recommend taking a look at Nart Villeneuve’s article, “Evasion Tactics”, also published on his blog. Unfortunately access to the full online version is restricted to subscribers.
1 thought on “Index on Censorship: Shifting Borders”
Commercial censorship has been around for a long time, but most people have never noticed it.
Anyone can place a small advertisement in a newspaper column – until you try and use one to publicize your own small ads service and suddenly find it refused.
If you have a telephone, you can ring anyone – until you try to contact the Directory service of another telephone company (or in some cases even any 0800 number hosted by another telephone company).