China is perhaps the clearest example. Its internet censorship and clampdown on dissent online is sophisticated and widespread. But Amnesty International has documented internet repression in countries as diverse as Iran, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Israel, the Maldives and Vietnam.
Another massive change since 1961 has been the rising power of multinationals, but some companies have been complicit in these abuses. So Amnesty is increasingly lobbying not just governments but powerful firms to respect the rights of ordinary people.
The internet is big business, but in the search for profits some companies have encroached on their own principles and those on which the internet was founded: free access to information. The results of searches using China-based search engines run by Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and local firms are censored, limiting the information users can access. Microsoft pulled down the work of one of China's most popular bloggers who had made politically sensitive comments. Yahoo gave information to the authorities that led to people being jailed for sending emails with political content. We do not accept these firms' arguments that it is better to have a censored Google, Yahoo or Microsoft in China than none at all.
From the article in today's Observer launching Amnesty International's campaign, irrepressible.info, demanding freedom of expression over the internet. The campaign works by websites, myspace pages and blogs spreading the word and undermining unwarranted censorship publishing censored material from Amnesty's database of sources such as Reporters Without Borders.
On An Overgrown Path was one of the first sites to highlight the Chinese internet censorship here, and here, and here. I fully support the Amnesty initiative, and this campaign should also extend to include the widespread censorship of internet content by companies and institutions using web proxy software which was experienced by An Overgrown Path recently.
* More detail on the Amnesty International campaign via this link.
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Access denied