Talk:Internet censorship and surveillance by country

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Hi all, i've began this talk page because i found an inconsistency with the sources of the "Venezuela" classification, in fact, neither "Reporters Sans Frontiers" nor the "Open Net Initiative" classify this country as a "Pervasive" internet control. Even worse, the only reference on that article is a newspaper reference. Chiguireitor (talk) 17:42, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done This section has been updated to reflect that Venezuela is on RWB's "countries under surveillance" list in 2011. A ref to the RWB list was added. However, most of the text of the section is unchanged and the reference to the newspaper article remains. Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:38, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Censorship in the United States[edit]

I am pretty sure it is possible in the US to sue somebody in court for publishing illegal material and getting the court decision enforced. In respect of other countries, such enforcement is called censorship. And has there never been a website shut down or blocked by a US authority or whatever because of child pornography? What about websites that conflict with the US war on terror? Why is all that not mentioned in the article? Henning Blatt (talk) 18:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

  • See Internet censorship in the United States.
  • If you still think something is missing, research the subject and add the information to this article or the article on Internet censorship in the U.S.
  • When you talked about suing in U.S. court, were you talking about suits by individuals or organizations for defamation, liable, slander, copyright violation, or trade secret/contract enforcement or were you asking about suits by the government itself? There is a big difference and I don't think that private suits are usually considered censorship, although one could argue that some suits are brought purely to intimidate people and that that is a form of censorship. Suits or criminal complaints brought by the government on its own behalf are trickier, but such actions would usually only be considered censorship if the laws upon which they are based are unreasonable. Of course people will differ about what is reasonable. And in theory the courts, if they are truly independent, are a neutral forum that can sort out such differences.
  • Do you know of actual cases where web sites were shutdown because of conflicts with the U.S. war on terror? I'd be interested to learn more.
  • Child pornography is generally considered obscene in the U.S. and is therefore illegal and so the question is often "what is child pornography?" That is something where disputes are sorted out by the courts.
Jeff Ogden (talk) 19:15, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done The U.S. section in this article has been shortened and the article on Internet censorship in the United States has been updated/expanded. I hope these changes address some of the comments that Henning Blatt made back on 8 March 2011. Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:44, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

I think the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (also known as H.R.3261) bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 should be mentioned somewhere in the article. Its quite controversal. A number of internet users are saying its America’s first Internet censorship system. Just my 2 cents. Henry123ifa (talk) 03:44, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done - Someone added a comment about SOPA, but I removed it. SOPA didn't pass (at leat not yet), SOPA is covered in the Internet censorship in the United States article and in an article specifically about SOPA. The comment I removed seemed misleading in that it implied prior restraint by the government and, while I think SOPA would have been a bad law, I don't think it allowed the government is exercise prior restraint. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 11:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Does MegaUpload[1] count as censorship in the US? It was taken down by the government. pkmn2539 (talk) 09:09, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Some people would say it was censorship and others would not. While MegaUpload isn't mentioned specifically, this comment from the Internet censorship in the United States article covers the issues behind this:
Proponents of protecting intellectual property online in the United States have been much more successful, producing a system to remove infringing materials that many feel errs on the side of inhibiting legally protected speech.[1]
1. "Unintended Consequences: Twelve Years under the DMCA", Electronic Frontier Foundation, March 2010
If someone wanted to add something specific about MegaUpload as an example of censorship, I think the Internet censorship in the United States article would be the place to do it. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 11:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Hmm. I doubt think US should be in the green zone. Nor should UK. Apparently UK has blocked TPB (ThePirateBay) and US ISPs are doing something (i'm too lazy to put it in words) as of July 1st. Here's the link American ISPs to launch massive copyright spying scheme on July 2012 Jacnoc (T)(CELB) 16:27, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

This is pretty biased. A little look out of wikipedia, and world is not really as black/white with Tehran and Pyongyang for black side and US & its friends for white side! Many authors even consider threats to internet freedom posed by US as overwhelming biggest: while censorships in India, EU and DPRK are easily considered as practicing state's souvereignty! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Konikula (talkcontribs) 14:46, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Should the U.S. and U.K. really be in the same category as China and Iran? That seems ridiculously inaccurate... There needs to be some distinction between legitimate and illegitimate censorship--There's a difference between censoring child pornography versus censoring political and religious content. And "changing situation"?? Must I even explain why this is a VERY unclear (and not at all helpful) label? --Plokmijnuhbygvtfcdxeszwaq (talk) 02:21, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

The U.S. and U.K. are in the same category as China and Iran based on the fact that Reporters Without Borders has placed all four on their list of "Enemies of the Internet". The U.S. and to some extent the U.K. are on that list largely because of their surveillance practices.
Who is to say what is "legitimate" and what is "illegitimate" censorship? We'd need to find reliable third-party sources that make that distinction. If there are some, we could certainly consider adding them to the sources that are summarized in this article. Are there such sources?
Yes, I think it would be good to explain your feelings about the "changing situation" category. Remember that the categories are based on the ratings by other organizations, so please explain what you think should be done differently and what reliable third-party sources should be used to back up whatever classifications are made. Here is what the article currently says about "Changing situation":
Countries in this category are on the RWB "Under Surveillance" list, but are not already included in the pervasive, substantial, or selective censorship classifications. Included are countries in which changes are underway or are being considered that give cause for concern about the possibility of increased Internet censorship.
Is the problem with "changing situation" just a problem with the name or is it something bigger? What would be a better name for the category label? Or should we simply ignore RWB's "Under Surveillance" list and move these countries into the "little or no censorship" category?
-Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:01, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

It seems to me that the core of the problem is that "censorship" and "surveillance" are being classed together, but at various points in the article(s), the words are used together as "censorship and surveillance" and at other times rather inaccurately written only as "censorship". In regard to censorship specifically, I doubt the US is much stricter than other advanced countries and what can be published online is fairly close to what can be published on paper. But of course the US does surveillance big-time, and the Reporters without Borders link says that's why RwoB doesn't like US policies. (This is leaving aside whether users in other countries are any less surveilled by the NSA than users in the US, and also leaving aside that Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand participate in Echelon with the US.)

It would take some work, but I think a better presentation of the data would be to separate censorship and surveillance into two categories which would be displayed separately. It might also be worth bringing out the RwoB list explicitly, explaining what RwoB doesn't like about each country on its enemies list. DWorley (talk) 17:57, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Censorship in Russia[edit]

This Wikipedia article claims that Russia has no censorship. However, it does have censorship, which should be noted here. This blog post does not give the full picture, and obviously isn't good source material, because it's a blog post, but it gets the idea across. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done The section on Russia was updated on 26 April 2011 and hopefully gives a more complete picture now. Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:20, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Comment removed from Turkey section[edit]

On 9 May 2011 the following comment was added to the section on Turkey (in the middle of a ref) by

On May 2011, xvideos, youjizz and a few more internet sites were banned and this time they can not be reached using different dns numbers and proxies. In August 2011, Telecommunication and Communication Establishment plans to impose a handful of filters, which are said to be selectable to the internet users of the country, whom are still under the effect of internet filters.

I copied the information here and will delete the comment from the article. This would be good information to include in the article, if there is a source to cite. Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:07, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I came across a source for the 2nd sentence above and so I added the information to the Turkey section of this article and also to the Internet censorship in Turkey article.
I haven't come across anything about the information in the first sentence and so that hasn't been added back (yet).
Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:11, 11 May 2011 (UTC)


I think we can officially upgrade Australia to a Black Hole. - (talk) 02:12, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I added something about this to the Australia section of this article and also to the Internet Censorship in Australia article. I think we need to leave declaring a country to be an Internet "black hole" up to Reporters Without Boarders or a similar organization. Jeff Ogden (talk) 03:17, 25 June 2011 (UTC)


Would someone be so kind to write up something and add to France's section? - (talk) 01:01, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I did this. I added a new section to the Internet censorship in France article too. Jeff Ogden (talk) 02:23, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Misleading "Censorship" Label?[edit]

I think some of the labels used is somewhat misleading... to my understanding "censorship" means a larger entity's deliberate attempt to hide or withhold information from their people which, in turn, is seen as a negative "freedom harming" act by said people.... or at most a "better of two evils" kinda thing (but still "an evil"), such as the censoring of letters sent home during WW2 by the US Gov't, to prevent people from accidentally (or even deliberately) revealing sensitive information. This, as opposed to, say the banning of child pornography from US-based websites, which I doubt anyone would consider to be any form of "censorship".

As such, perhaps the map and similar text be replaced with a range that covers BOTH people-approved and people-unapproved censorship? Or make a clear separation between states which censor information in the traditional sense of the phrase, and states which censor information in the technical sense of the phrase, or something along those lines? For example, the way it stands right now, Canada, the United States and most of Europe has censorship levels equal to some the more repressive regimes in the Middle East, namely "Some Censorship". However, I'm sure the reasons for those levels are different; that is, while people in Libya are probably less keen on the Kadaffi Government censoring their internet traffic (well, all things considered), I doubt people in the United States and Canada are protesting the fact that the US Government censors child pornography.

Likewise, it is my understanding that "No Censorship" implies that the right of a person to read and post stuff online is protected along the lines of the tenants of "freedom of speech", versus a more literal interpretation of "No Censorship", such as those nations are a safe-haven for stuff like child porn and data covering human trafficking "tips and tricks".

Now if these ratings ("No Censorship", "Some Censorship") are those set by some kind of organization with their own set definitions of that "censorship" is, and is NOT one that based on the aforementioned understandings, then I feel that the graphic showing that data SPECIFICALLY state this as well as give the specific definitions of how "No Censorship", "Some Censorship", etc is defined by that organization. That is to say, as it stands now, it seems like the data shown in the graphic is based on the ACTUAL fact of the matter according to common understandings of those terms, versus a specifically defined rating which runs contrary to common understanding and/or is based on the more literal interpretations of them.

At least this is how I see it... -- (talk) 22:41, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

The map needs to be updated so that it better matches the text of the article or it could be replaced with a map or maps from the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) and/or Reporters Without Borders (RWB), assuming we can get permission to use their maps. However, having said this, I want to note that the map caption does have two references to the sources on which the map is based (ONI and RWB). The text of the article uses somewhat different terminology from the map and explains the classifications near the top of the article and gives a definition at the start of the sub-section for each classification. And while the map and the article text don't match up exactly, they aren't really all that far off either. Jeff Ogden (talk) 19:50, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Earlier today I replaced the map with a new/updated map with new colors that matches the categories given in the main text of the article. The new map, unlike the previous map, shows countries that aren't categorized in gray. The previous map showed these countries as "No censorship" (blue). Jeff Ogden (talk) 21:44, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
On the larger question of the definition, you seem to be calling for two definitions, one for "acceptable" censorship (child pornography, hate speech, ...) and "unacceptable" censorship (political censorship, suppression of decent, ...). While I agree that most people probably think about censorship in that way, I think it is still all censorship and that what is acceptable and unacceptable will be different for different people, for different countries, and different cultures. And censorship isn't just control by one party being forced on another party, it also includes self-censorship. There is government censorship and non-government censorship including censorship by corporations and other organized non-governmental groups and censorship by individuals. And most of this discussion isn't just about Internet censorship, but applies to censorship in general and as such might best be discussed in the general Censorship article or the Internet censorship article rather than the Internet censorship by country. Jeff Ogden (talk) 19:50, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Censorship in UK[edit]

Censorship does appear to take place in the UK, through transparent filtering. There is no official legal policy to disclose what has been censored and why, or to whom. Some people report apparent per-user censorship, and legal policies do exist in the country for the continuous surveillance of targeted individuals without a requirement to inform them of the process which led to the decision. (Some people report being surveilled for years, both physically as well as online).

The absence of a declared policy on censorship in a country does not justify the assumption that none takes place there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what, if anything, the above comment is suggesting needs to be done to the article. Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 00:33, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
He/she is saying the graphic is wrong/needs updating. (talk) 20:16, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the graphic needs updating. As of 2012 the UK are adding opt-out censorship - meaning that users have to deliberately request access to uncensored internet, in which case their activities are monitored, while the default position is to heavily restrict access to any 'controversial' (meaning porn, gambling, libertarian, pro-choice...) sites. I can site sources for this if you need them, but really just search 'uk opt in censorship' and you'll find plenty of results. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
The graphic/map and pretty much the rest of the article are a summary of information from RWB and ONI. The graphic/map was just updated to reflect information from RWB and ONI through mid-March. Did that address the concern about the UK? Or is the concern that the RWB and ONI information does not properly describe Internet censorship in the UK? Or perhaps that the summaries for the UK in the article do not fairly represent the information from RWB or ONI? Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 16:01, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
If the RWB and ONI figures state that there is no discernible censorship in the UK then perhaps they are not an accurate source of information regarding censorship in the UK. Using other sources, it is easily possible to discover that the UK has had a full scale internet censorship system called "Cleanfeed", capable of restricting access to any web site. The system was originally implemented as a way of filtering child pornography however, the end result is that the UK has the infrastructure in place for a full scale censorship system.
Most recently the high profile web site "Pirate Bay" ( has been blocked, which should be taken as proof of concept that the UK can and will censor the internet when deemed appropriate by the UK government and / or UK legal system. Other sites that have no connection with sexual abuse have also been blocked using this system since it's implementation. Indeed, the wiki for cleanfeed itself provides enough information to prove that the UK is now using this system to actively censor other parts of the internet.
Given these facts, I think that it is inappropriate for the UK to be classified as having "no evidence of censorship" and should instead be classified as having "selective censorship". Selective censorship in this case is defined according to this wiki as "Countries where a small number of specific sites are blocked or filtering targets a small number of categories or issues".
Even within the original scope of the Cleanfeed system, censoring child pornography is actually also "selective censorship". (Whether or not one believes that this type of censorship is a good or bad thing is a matter for separate political and legal discussion) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
The UK section says "However, the U.K. openly blocks child pornography Web sites, for which ONI does not test." And elsewhere in the article it says "Due to legal concerns the OpenNet Initiative does not check for filtering of child pornography and because their classifications focus on technical filtering, they do not include other types of censorship." By not testing for filtering of child pornography ONI is not making a statement about the goodness or badness of this type of filtering. In many jurisdictions accessing or attempting to access child pornography is a serious crime and so including it in ONI's tests places their testers at risk, something ONI has chosen not to do.
The most recent ONI testing for the UK was reported in December 2010 and so it covers a period of time prior to that. As a result it does not include the court ordered blocking of Netzbin in 2011 or The Pirate Bay in 2012. If that filtering is still going on, I would expect it to be included in future reports. I do not know when to expect a new UK report from ONI. Also, it is widely reported that the blocking of Netzbin and The Pirate Bay isn't very effective and is easily bypassed. If that is true and the websites remain readily available, the filtering might not be detected by standardized tests.
The Freedom on the Net 2011 report from Freedom House gives the UK's "Internet Freedom Status" as "Free" based on ratings of 1 out of 25 on "Obstacles to Access", 8 out of 35 on "Limits on Content", and 16 out of 40 on "Violations of User Rights" for a total 25 out of 100 where lower ratings indicate more freedom. This ranks the UK as the fifth most free country for network freedom of the 37 countries included in the 2011 report. The UK portion of the report does talk about Cleanfeed, the IWF, the Terrorism Act of 2006, and the The Digital Economy Act of 2010. The report was issued in April 2011 and so, like the ONI report, does not include the court ordered blocking of Netzbin later in April 2011 or The Pirate Bay in 2012.
The UK is not included on the RWB "Enemies of the Internet" or the "Countries under Surveillance" lists. On RWB's more general press freedom ratings the UK is shown as having a "Good situation" at 28 out of 179 on the worldwide index.
The article Internet censorship in the United Kingdom includes information on all of the items mentioned above (Cleanfeed, blocking of Netzbin and The Pirate Bay) and the three paragraph summary in the UK section of this article covers this material briefly as well. So, I don't think it is fair to say that "The UK censorship system has not been addressed in this article". The main problem seems to be in which of the five classifications the UK belongs (Pervasive, Substantial, Selective, Under surveillance, and No evidence). It is classified as "No evidence" now, based on the classifications from ONI, RWB, and to a lesser extent Freedom House.
It occurs to me that this discussion is really about more than just "Censorship in the UK" and is probably about issues that apply to the entire article and all countries.
The "no evidence of censorship" classification begins with the statement that "This classification includes countries where there is no evidence of blocked Web sites or other technical filtering, although other controls such as voluntary filtering, self-censorship, and other types of private action to limit child pornography, hate speech, defamation or theft of intellectual property may exist." One possibility is that "no evidence of censorship" isn't a good name for this classification and that we should pick a better name for this and perhaps some of the other classifications. I'm not feeling too creative tonight and so would welcome suggestions for better names.
Yes check.svg Done I changed "No evidence of censorship" to "Little or no censorship". --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 19:51, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
And perhaps the description should be changed to be explicit about the sources of evidence, perhaps something like: ""This classification includes countries where no evidence of blocked Web sites or other technical filtering was found by ONI, the country is not on either the RWB Internet Enemies or Under Surveillance lists, and the country is classified as "free" in the Freedom on the Net report from Freedom House, although censorship in the form of voluntary filtering, self-censorship, and other types of private action to limit child pornography, hate speech, defamation or theft of intellectual property may exist." Would a change such as this help?
Yes check.svg Done I made changes to make the classification descriptions more explicit. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 19:51, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Another possibility is that we don't have agreement about what this article is doing or perhaps given the pace of change on the Internet and with Internet censorship we should consider changing the goals for the article. Today, I see the article as summarizing the information and classifications from the ONI, RWB, and to a lesser extent Freedom House (FH isn't given as much weight because its report includes fewer countries than ONI or RWB). Others seem to feel that this article should make its own judgements about country classifications based on all of the available evidence and not be limited to the classifications from ONI, RWB, and FH. That would seem to require us to do original research and OR is something we are to avoid. We'd certainly need to apply the same criteria to all countries and not just make an adjustment for the UK. So, we need to answer the question, what should this article be doing?
And still another possibility is that we need to identify additional sources beyond just ONI, RWB, and FH that report on and classify Internet censorship for multiple countries to see if they add a different or more up-to-date perspective to this article. Are there other such sources that we should consider using?
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 05:10, 5 August 2012 (UTC)


Denmark has a filtering system for "child pornography". It was "accidentally" used to block Google and Facebook.[2] -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:12, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

For legal reasons ONI does not test for filtering of child pornography and so that is not reflected in the map or the summary classifications used in the article. Child pornography is mentioned in the text for Denmark. Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 16:16, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Which map?[edit]

At 14:22 on 19 January 2012‎ Northamerica1000 replaced an updated 2011 map with an older version of the map from 2009 with the following explanation: (+[citation needed]. Replaced image with one that is referenced by empirical research / academic sources Image:Internet blackholes.svg: (Open net initiative, University of Toronto, Harvard University))

Here is the map that was removed:

Internet Censorship and Surveillance World Map.svg

Internet censorship by country

Note: Internet censorship in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya has changed since the Arab Spring of 2011.

I'm the person who created the updated map that was removed. My update was based on the 2009 map and is a summary of the data in this article and in the Censorship by country Wikipedia articles (the same 2011 to 2009 map swap was done in the Censorship by country article).

I am uneasy using a map with data that is now three years old and out-of-date wrt to the current Wikipedia articles. The articles and the 2011 map should be updated again to include or summarize new information that has been made available and that is going to be made available next week by ONI and RWB.

Unless there are strong objections I am inclined to revert back to the updated 2011 map. Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 21:25, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - I switched to a new version of the map, updated to reflect information from RWB and ONI through mid-March 2012. Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 15:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Where is Japan?[edit]

Seriously. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:25, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Good question. Something on Japan should be added, but so far, with just a little bit of looking, I haven't been able to find much about Internet Censorship in Japan. Japan is not classified by, there is no country profile for Japan, and Japan is not mentioned in the regional report for Asia from the OpenNet Initiative. Japan was not included in Freedom House's Freedom on the Net Report (2011). According to Reporters Without Borders Japan is not an "Enemy of the Internet" or on the "Countries under Surveillance list". There is no Internet censorship in Japan Wikipedia article, censorship is not mentioned in the Internet in Japan article, and Internet censorship is not mentioned in the Censorship in Japan article. Internet censorship related to child pornography is briefly mentioned in the Human rights in Japan article. There were some charges of censorship of information related to the earth quake in Japan, but I'm not sure that that was specific to the Internet.
I'll keep looking, but if anyone has suggestions about possible sources for information about Internet censorship in Japan please mention them here.
-Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 23:03, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The Japan Country Report in the Human Rights Report issued in April 2011 by the U.S. State Department says:
Internet Freedom - There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or reports that the government monitored e-mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. Approximately 78 percent of the population used the Internet.
Freedom of Speech and Press - The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to ensure freedom of speech and of the press.
And Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2011 report for Japan says "Internet access is not restricted."
Based on what I've found so far, I think Japan would go into this article under "No evidence of Internet censorship". I'll keep looking and wait a few days to see what others have to say before adding Japan to the article.
-Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:39, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done - I added an entry for Japan in the "No evidence of Internet censorship" section of the article. I will update the map shortly. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 20:13, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Indonesia content[edit]

The following content was added to the Indonesia section by Miguetlastra (talk | contribs) at 5:07 and 5:12 on May 1st:

In April 2011 Indonesia began blocking almost all proxy servers. In addition, they are blocking some news feeds from the US and Europe. Attempts to circumvent these filters are largely unsuccessful and have caused high levels of frustration. This seems to be widespread, but there is little news on the subject. Ultra right wing conservative religious elements in Indonesia are trying to impose their beliefs and restrict access to the internet. Recent laws concerning postings on the internet which are deemed to be false by any party and which subject the writer to criminal charges are causing fear about speaking out, as the law is very vague.
Under the new law, the censors are becoming even more restrictive under the guise of filtering porn sites. This trend seems to be growing, and affecting many sites and content which have nothing to do with sex or porn. For this reason, we believe that Indonesia should be moved to the category of Substantial Censorship.

After copying the content here I deleted it from the article. To be included in the article the content needs to cite some reliable sources. In addition Wikipedia isn't in the position of rating a country's level of censorship, but summaries ratings by the OpenNet Initiative, Reporters Without Boarders, Freedom House, and the U.S. State Department's Human Rights report and places the country in the appropriate categories based on that information. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 15:00, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

This prompted me to go back and look at the ONI Website to see what it says about Indonesia. Previously there was no ONI country report for Indonesia, but one is included as part of the 2011 book Access Contested. In that report Indonesia is rated as engaged in substantial filtering in the social area, in selective filtering in the Political and Internet tools areas, and as no evidence of filtering in the conflict and security area. The substantial classification means that Indonesia should be moved from the selective section into the substantial section of the article. I will update the section and move it later today or tomorrow. I want to check some other sources first to be sure my update is complete. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 16:28, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done - I moved the Indonesia section from "selective" to "substantial" and updated the material with content from the 2011 ONI Country Profile. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:13, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Before I moved the Indonesia section, Miguetlastra (talk | contribs) made two edits at 21:45 and 22:17 on 1 May that added the following content:

In April 2012 Indonesia began blocking almost all proxy servers. In addition, they are blocking some news feeds from the US and Europe. Attempts to circumvent these filters are largely unsuccessful and have caused high levels of frustration. This seems to be widespread, but there is little news on the subject. Recent laws concerning postings on the internet which are deemed to be false by any party and which subject the writer to criminal charges are causing fear about speaking out, as the law is very vague.[1]Under the new law, the censors are becoming even more restrictive under the guise of filtering porn sites and under the guise of blocking sites that incite terrorism[2]. This trend seems to be growing, and affecting many sites and content which have nothing to do with porn or terrorism.

I left the new content in the article for now, but edited it a bit and added a number of templates to flag serious problems that I see. The new content does include two references, but the references do not support the new content except in the most general way and they are both to sources from 2011, when the new content is making claims for April 2012. Unless the new content can be improved within the next few days, I suspect that it should be deleted. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:27, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - I went ahead and deleted the new content. It can be restored, if on point reliable sources can be found. Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 12:49, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Map Descrepancies[edit]

Looking at the map, I can't help but wonder, how is Germany filed under "no evidence of censorship"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Because that is what the cited studies and surveys say. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 19:30, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Flags mix-up[edit]

Romania, at fist look. Could be a Commons problem. (talk) 09:14, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

The map icon for Romania in this article seems to match the flags shown in the Romania and Flag of Romania articles. What specifically is the problem? --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 13:07, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
It does now. It showed the Philippine or Czech one earlier today. Who knows. I checked in two different browsers, though. (talk) 17:53, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Placement of country TOC list within the article[edit]

I just reverted a change made at 11:00, 17 September 2012‎ by User:My very best wishes. The edit summaries for the change and my revision are:

11:00, 17 September 2012‎ My very best wishes (moving this template down because article below template was unreadable)
12:34, 17 September 2012‎ W163 (Undid revision 513173244 by My very best wishes. Move country list back up near the top of the article. The list acts as a TOC to individual countries in the article.)

I would like to understand more about why the "article below template was unreadable". It looks OK to me using Firefox and Safari with a wide window, a narrow window, and everything in between. But, if there is something that needs to be fixed, once we understand the problem we should fix it. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 16:45, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

South Korea[edit]

It is ridiculous to equate South Korea with North or China. Yes, censorship in South Korea (where I currently live) is much more pervasive then in all other OECD countries. This has been pointed by others at File talk:Internet Censorship and Surveillance World Map.svg and commons:File talk:Internet Censorship and Surveillance World Map.svg. The map should distinguish between countries better; for example North Korea is classified as the "enemy of the Internet" (pervasive censorship everywhere); China is listed as pervasive in two areas, and substantial in another two, whereas South Korea has onlyone pervasive, one substantial and one selective. I'd sugget implementation of weighted score. Until this is done, with SK in the same color as NK, the map is, as somebody has described it already, sadly ridiculous. (And no, I am not defending SK censorship, but any argument which equates it with what's going on in NK or China is deeply flawed and worse, misleading to our readers). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:09, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think that the above argument is entirely fair. There is only so much that one can do with a colored map or an article with five groupings. And having many more groups is hard to represent on a map and hard for people to understand and remember. And coming up with a weighted score of our own would be original research, which is something that we need to avoid. I am not aware of any studies or reports that attempt to rank the level of Internet censorship in countries by giving a numeric score as is given for Press Freedom and some other measures of freedom.
The key things to keep in mind here, in my view, are:
  • That the map and the groupings help convey the big picture (for example, that there is more censorship in Asia and the Middle East than in other parts of the world), if you want more detailed comparisons you need to look at more detailed descriptions. Fortunately there are several sources of more detailed information about Internet censorship by country available in Wikipedia.
  • That countries in one group experience more or less censorship than countries in another group (pervasive vs. substantial, substantial vs. selective, ...).
  • That two countries that are in the same group do not necessarily experience the same kind or amount of censorship.
  • If you want more detail about particular countries than is conveyed by the groupings or if you want to compare two countries, you need to read the text for the individual countries in this article, look at the table in the Censorship by country article, or read the individual Internet censorship in <country> articles, if they exist, for the countries you are interested in.
  • Using loaded words like "ridiculous" seldom advances an argument in constructive ways.
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 02:43, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

United Kingdom - new filter[edit]

A new filter is being brought in which trys to block all porn (and only porn). One can however opt-out of having the filter imposed on you (provided you are over 18 and are the one paying for your internet). Does this count and should the be added to the part about the UK? Also would this change the colour on the map in the top right hand corner? Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

When the filter has been put in place I see no reason not to include that in the UK section. The colours of the map are determined by international organisations and not Wikipedians per se but I'm sure those organisations will somehow respond to this madness. Stefán Örvar Sigmundsson (talk) 23:33, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Presence of "Enemies of the Internet" suggests existence of friends[edit]

If Internet has enemies it must has friends, for example, countries that have not been using any filtering software, have not been spying on its own citizens or citizens of other countries. Is that possible? Or Internet has no friends at all?


>United Kingdom >No evidence of censorship

That's a joke for a start. This really needs updating. - (talk) 13:40, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

In March 2014 Reports Without Borders placed the UK on their "Internet Enemies" list, so this article was updated and the UK was moved to the pervasive censorship and surveillance category. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 02:30, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Internet censorship map colors?[edit]

There is a discussion going on over in Wikipedia Commons about possible changes to the colors used in the Internet Censorship map and elsewhere. It would be good to get some additional editors comments on this. If you are willing, would you pop over to Commons:File talk:Internet Censorship and Surveillance World Map.svg and let us know what you think? --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 21:11, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Gaza and the West Bank deletion?[edit]

At 11:28 on 12 January 2014 IP deleted the following sentence from the sub-section on Gaza and the West Bank with an edit summary that said "Removed a non relevant line. Media censorship in general is out of scope for this article, and since there is no merit to the claim that Israel censored any Internet resources on Gaza strip, the sentence was also misleading":

Media freedom is constrained in Gaza and the West Bank by the political upheaval and internal conflict as well as by the Israeli forces.[1]

  1. ^ "ONI Country Profile: Gaza and the West Bank", OpenNet Initiative, 10 August 2009

At 22:19 the same day I restored the deleted sentence with an edit summary that said "The material was sourced so evidence is needed to backup the claim used to justify the deletion. See talk page.

As mentioned the material was sourced, so there should be some evidence given for the claim that "there is no merit to the claim that Israel censored any Internet resources on Gaza strip". The source was the OpenNet Initiative and they are all about the Internet. In today's world the Internet is one part of the media and so this is not out of scope for this article. And while the Israeli forces are mentioned, so are "political upheaval and internal conflict". Israel shouldn't be assumed to be the only source of the media constraints mentioned in this sentence.

--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 03:44, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Enemies of the Internet 2014[edit]

RWB's "Enemies of the Internet 2014" newly includes the US, the UK, India and other countries as well as some private sectors and inter-governmental cooperations, while Burma is no longer included. But in this article, there is still 2012 version of the list. Will we have to update this? --ImpMK (talk) 18:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure what we should do. The last year for which RWB published their "traditional" Enemies of the Internet and Countries Under Surveillance lists was 2012. In 2013 they issued their Special Report on Internet Surveillance that includes two new lists: State Enemies of the Internet and Corporate Enemies of the Internet. But they explicitly stated that: "The fact that countries that figured in the 2012 list of “Enemies of the Internet” do not appear in the 2013 list does not mean there has been any improvement in online freedom of information in those countries." The 2014 Internet Enemies report isn't a traditional report either. Instead the 2014 report focuses on "Institutions that are enemies of the Internet". The 2014 report does not contain a statement about how the report relates to the lists from the 2012 and 2013 reports.
A possible approach is to start with the lists from the 2012 report and then add any countries from the 2013 and 2014 lists that aren't already listed as "Enemies of the Internet". I think this would work. I am a little uncomfortable because the 2012 lists are getting a little stale and we only seem to be adding and not removing enemies from our lists.
It turns out that all of the State Enemies of the Internet from the 2013 report are already listed as Enemies of the Internet in 2012. We could add the countries where the 2013 Corporate Enemies of the Internet are headquartered to our list, probably as "under surveillance". This would mean adding Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And looking at the 2014 report in a similar fashion would mean adding or promoting the following countries to Internet Enemies list: Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And adding the following countries to the "under surveillance" list: Brazil, Czech Republic, Qatar, and South Africa.
An alternative is to start fresh with the 2014 list. As mentioned by ImpMK (talk) above, that would add Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Russia, the UAE, the UK and the US to and remove Burma from the list of Internet Enemies. Not sure what we'd do about the countries under surveillance list, but we could include just those countries that host the censorship and surveillance trade shows (Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Malaysia, Qatar, and South Africa).
Thoughts? Suggestions?
-Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 23:51, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
The report "Enemies of the Internet 2014: Entities at the heart of censorship and surveillance" is dated 11 March 2014 and is available on the RWB web site. The 2014 report does not update or mention the "countries under surveillance list", so that list was last updated in March 2012.
To add to the confusion, if you use the drop down menu under "Internet Enemies" on the RWB home page, you get the enemies and countries under surveillance lists from 2012 rather than 2014.
-Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 12:54, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
yellow tickY Partly done - The section on the RWB Internet Enemies list has been updated to reflect the March 2014 report from RWB. The Countries Under Surveillance list was not changed. Both lists now explicitly include the years when countries are on the lists. The classifications within the article that are based in part on the Enemies list still need to be updated followed by an update to the Internet censorship map. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 15:25, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done - The classifications within the article and the map have been updated. So this update is complete. Some fairly big changes. One country, Burma/Myanmar, moved from the pervasive to the substantial category. Six others moved to the pervasive category from the substantial (Pakistan, Sudan), selective (India, Russia), and little or no evidence (UK, US) categories. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 00:41, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

A new name for this article?[edit]

I'm starting to think that this article should be renamed from "Internet censorship by country" to "Internet censorship and surveillance by country". In the last two years or so more and more emphasis is being placed on issues related to surveillance in addition to more purely censorship issues. Of course it is hard to do censorship without some form of surveillance. And while it is possible to practice surveillance without engaging in censorship, surveillance on its own can lead to intimidation and self-censorship. A few of the countries on the RWB "Internet Enemies" list are there because they engage in surveillance even though they practice little or no direct censorship.

What do others think about a new name? -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 00:50, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. I went ahead and did the move / rename. -Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 14:48, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Well done :-) --Atlasowa (talk) 14:51, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Main sources for this article going away, what should be done?[edit]

In an 18 December 2014 announcement the OpenNet Initiative said that:[1]

After a decade of collaboration in the study and documentation of Internet filtering and control mechanisms around the world, the OpenNet Initiative partners will no longer carry out research under the ONI banner. The [ONI] website, including all reports and data, will be maintained indefinitely to allow continued public access to our entire archive of published work and data.

The ONI website also stated that ONI's summarized global Internet filtering data will be updated in early 2015.[2]

Note: The ONI website no longer says anything about an update in 2015. Their summarized global Internet filtering data was last updated on September 20, 2013. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 14:02, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

The ONI data and reports together with the "Enemies of the Internet" and "Countries under Surveillance lists" from Reporters Without Borders make up the primary sources upon which the classifications in this article are based. The RWB Enemies list wasn't updated in 2015 and the Under Surveillance list hasn't been updated since 2012.

Because ONI will be updating their summarized global Internet filtering data and the RWB Enemies list was updated in 2014, we have a bit of time to figure out what we want to do about maintaining the classifications in this article on into the future. But it would be good to start developing a plan now. Suggestions?

  1. ^ "Looking Forward: A Note of Appreciation and Closure on a Decade of Research", OpenNet Initiative, 18 December 2014. Accessed 11 April 2015.
  2. ^ "OpenNet Initiative Home Page", OpenNet Initiative. Accessed 11 April 2015.
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 20:56, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

The article currently says:

The classifications are based on the classifications and ratings from both the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) and Reporters Without Borders (RWB). When a country has not been classified by ONI or RWB, the reports from Freedom House and in the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor's Human Rights Reports are used.

One possibility for the future is to de-emphasize the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) and Reporters Without Borders (RWB) since their reports are going away and to rely more heavily on the Freedom on the Net report from Freedom House. The FOTN report covers 65 countries. Would this be a good approach?

Are there other sources that classify or rank Internet censorship and/or surviellance that we should be considering?

--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 13:35, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

internet censorship vs surveillance[edit]

i feel that these topics deserve their own separate articles, according to the way information is portrayed in this article, one is led to believe saudi arabia and iran are in the same catagory as the UK and the United states.

Midgetman433 (talk) 18:08, 26 April 2015 (UTC)


Can Portugal really be classified as having little or no censorship? Despite having an article in its Constitution that bans all forms of censorhip, Portugal blocks at least two high-profile sites: The Pirate Bay and Uber. Shouldn't that be classified as selective censorship? -- (talk) 10:45, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

There would need to be some reliable sources that we could cite saying that. It would be best if the sources were a broad evaluation of the Internet censorship situation in Portugal rather than being narrowly focused on individual cases such as The Pirate Bay or Uber. Although, if we have some specific citations about TPB and Uber, we could certainly mention that blocking or filtering in the text even if it didn't change Portugal's overall classification.
Portugal is not individually classified in the main sources used by this article (country or regional reports by the OpenNet Initiative or in Freedom House's Freedom on the Net 2014 report, and does not appear on the Reporters Without Borders lists). And other sources say that "Internet access in Portugal is not restricted" (Freedom in the World 2013 by Freedom House)[1] and there "are neither government restrictions on access to the Internet nor reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority" (the Portugal section of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 from the U.S. State Department).[2]
The Internet censorship and surveillance section of the Internet in Portugal article includes the following statement:
As of March 2015, Portuguese ISP's have been ordered to block The Pirate Bay and many of it's proxies by a court order, following the European trend, after a law suit brought by the Association for Copyright Management, Producers and Publishers (GEDIPE). This is the first time ever a website is blocked by ISP's in Portugal.[3]
I will add this information to this article.
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 14:45, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Portugal", Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Portugal", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ "The Pirate Bay Will be Blocked in Portugal", TorrentFreak, 2 March 2015, Retrieved 5 March 2015.

Map is Completely Misleading[edit]

The map's title is updated but the data does not match what it supposedly portrays. Coloring countries such as the United States which practice no active censorship as "pervasive" when you indicate the definition centimeters away as "Pervasive: A large portion of content in several categories is blocked." The picture either needs to be altered to show accurate data, or removed from the article because it's actively deceiving users who are coming to this page. (talk) 18:56, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

The definition that you cite is the definition for the pervasive category used by the Open Net Initiative (ONI). ONI is just one of several sources that are summarized in this article. Another is Reporters Without Borders (RWB). RWB listed the U.S. as an Internet Enemy in 2014 mostly because of its surveillance practices. And that puts the U.S. into the article's pervasive classification according to the criteria in use and explained in the article. The map simply summarizes the article. So, if you think the map needs to be changed, then the criteria used in the article need to change.
The criteria used in the article do need to change, because both the RWB and ONI ratings are no longer being updated. There is an item earlier on this talk page about this, but that item has gotten little discussion from other editors. Nevertheless, I've been slowly working to include more of the ratings from Freedom House's Freedom on the Net (FOTN) report into the article. When that is finished, my plan is to rework the article's criteria to deemphasize RWB and ONI and to give more weight to FOTN, to move countries to new categories according to the updated criteria, and to rework the map based on the revised classifications in the updated article.
Of course, I'm not the only person who can do this work. If others are willing to help, it will get done sooner. Or others can suggest other approaches that they think would work better. It might be possible to create three maps, one that summarizes this article, one that deals with censorship, and one that deals with surveillance. Or this article could be split into two, with one about censorship and one about surveillance, and separate new maps to summarize each article. One difficulty is that there are not many reliable sources that rate countries' surveillance practices. FOTN is one. If people know of others, please suggest them. Another difficulty is that any of the changes will take a fair bit of work.
What I don't think is appropriate, is to treat the U.S. as a special case and deal with it by itself without applying the same criteria to all of the countries summarized in the article and displayed on the map.
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 07:28, 29 December 2015 (UTC)


Restriction to the opening of public wifi have been partially removed 3 years ago. -- (talk) 11:34, 20 January 2016‎

Yes check.svg Done. I updated the Italy section with this information. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 03:56, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

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Why is censorship and surveillance combined?[edit]

I think combing them together when ranking nations is very misleading. My reasoning is that these two topics are not mutually inclusive. You can have high levels of survellience without very little censorship such as in the United States.

Combining them together paints a very misleading picture when referring to the map. Most people would not be under the impression that the United States and the United Kingdom have the same level of internet censorship and surveillance as North Korea and Iran. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xanikk999 (talkcontribs) 23:54, 24 November 2016 (UTC)