Sunday, 3 June 2007

Internet Freedom

Phillip Roberts, in a recent post to the IAMEMS list, points out a forthcoming report on global web censorship. The report is the work of the Open Net Initiative (ONI), which is a partnership of four universities - Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Toronto. The report is titled Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering and the New Scientist has a recent article about it. A growing number of countries filter access to particular parts of the Internet, and the number of countries which do this appears to be increasing.

Amnesty International in the UK is running a webcast on 6 June from 18.30 to 21.00 UK time entitled Some People Think the Internet is a Bad Thing: the Struggle for Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace. You can check it out in advance.

Open Net has a couple of interesting features. There is a map showing which countries do block or filter Internet content, and a URL search facility, so that you can find out whether a site is blocked somewhere and, if so, where. It has some flaws, but it is interesting.

This should all be core business for librarians. If we believe in the free flow of information, we certainly do not believe in country-level restrictions on access to the world's major information source, the Internet. What do you think?

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