Internet Censorship: Australia Abandons Net Censorship Plans; Google Blocked in China, UAE Restrictions and Iran Sanctions

Australia Abandons Net Censorship Plans; Google Blocked in China

Australia, which surprisingly has a checkered history in terms of internet censorship, has abandoned a plan to filter all internet content.  Instead, the government is working with Australian ISPs to block 1,400 child abuse websites on INTERPOL’s “worst of” list.  When Australia initially announced the filtering program, it received global condemnation and was compared to China.

China decided to use the launch of the Communist Party Congress (an event that happens once every ten years) to block Google for a twelve hour period.  The Washington Post denounced the action as “an extraordinary step in Web censorship even for the Chinese government.”  China also recently blocked access to the New York Times after it published a report on the wealth of  Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his family.

Finally, the United Arab Emirates is cracking down on internet debate through a new law that imposes jail time for using electronic media  “to deride or damage the reputation or stature of the state or any of its institutions.”

US Imposes Sanctions on Iran for Internet Censorship

The State Department announced that sanctions were being imposed against certain Iranian interests (including forfeiture of all US assets) involved in an

ongoing campaign to censor its own citizens, curtail their freedoms, and to prevent the free flow of information both in to and out of Iran.  . . . We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an “electronic curtain” to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world.

Those sanctioned include an Iranian software companies and one of their founders and the Communications Minister.