Top Government Efforts to Curb Social Media and Internet Freedom in 2012

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It was an eventful year for the tech geeks, where the government of different countries tried to curb social media and internet freedom in different ways. We are presenting here the top 7 government efforts to curb our internet freedom.

YouTube Ban in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Pakistan

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An anti-Islamic video called “The Innocence of Muslims” recently triggered violence in some countries and the governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Pakistan blocked the popular online video sharing website YouTube for not removing the video. The government asked the website to block access to the video but Google, which owns YouTube, explained that it doesn’t have any localized operation in these countries so it could not restrict access. There are millions of YouTube users in these countries so the ban has had a far reaching impact.

Internet Censorship in India

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Reliance Communications blocked a number of popular websites including The Pirate Bay, Dailymotion, Vimeo and Torrentz in 3 May, 2012 without any prior warnings. To protest this internet censorship, a hacker hacked the server of Reliance Communications. Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and journalist Alok Dixit also started a movement called “Save Your Voice” against Internet censorship in India. Some popular domain hosting sites like Fabulous.com, Buydomains.com were also blocked in July 2012.

VoIP Services banned by Ethiopian Government

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The Ethiopian government has only one state-owned ISP, Ethio Telecom and it has been filtering its citizen’s internet access for quite a while now. The government has also passed a law, according to which, VoIP service users can be punished by up to 15 years in prison. They banned popular VoIP services like Skype and Google Talk and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology can now also “supervise and issue licenses to all privately owned companies that import equipment used for the communication of information” under this new law.

Iran Censored Gmail and Google Search

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Iran blocked Gmail and Google search for a week back in September. However, after receiving complaints from people including members of their own parliament, the government decided to remove the barrier. Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of the committee said in a statement to the Mehr news agency, “We wanted to ban YouTube and then Gmail was cut off as well, and this was unintended.” The country continues to block any website or social network that shares anti-government views.

Twitter blocked Neo-Nazi Account in Germany

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Twitter used its local censorship policy for the first time in Germany and blocked access to a neo-Nazi account at the request of the government. The social networking site introduced the policy to users back in January but used it for the first time in October. “Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently,” that’s what Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgillibray said after announcing the decision.

China Unveiled Tight Internet Censorship Rules

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China legalized the deletion of pages or posts which are considered to contain illegal objects and information this December and unveiled tighter internet censorship rules. The new rule indicates that, Xi Jinping, the Communist Party chief will continue to stop the often attacking, not-so-government-friendly online chatting. From now on, the internet users have to use their real names for registration process with network providers.

The Philippines Bans Cybersex and Trolling

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The government of the Philippines has recently signed into the law the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The list of cybercrime includes getting naked on online video chat service and talking bad about people online. And that’s not all, the Filipinos have to abide by the rules even when they are not on their country’s soil.