Internet Censorship: As Bad As You Thought It Was

Maybe a bit worse, actually

2 min read
Photo of a computer user.
What They Don’t See: China is one of the 25 countries found to systematically filter its citizens’ Internet content.
Photo: Ryan Pyle/Corbis

“In the dot-com heyday of the ’90s and early 2000s…there was a myth that the Internet can’t be controlled,” says Ronald Deibert, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. “There was some mysterious, magical property associated with it that will route around censorship.” The most exhaustive study yet of Internet censorship—Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering, published this month by the MIT Press—pretty much disproves that notion.

The report’s authors, the OpenNet Initiative—a multi­disciplinary team at the University of Toronto, and Cambridge, Harvard, and Oxford universities—sent investigators to 41 countries that had been rumored to filter Internet content, whether to silence political dissent or to block access to pornography or religiously and culturally divisive material.

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How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
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 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer
Green

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

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