Modern people are used to the free Internet access wherever they are all the time. Internet has become such a common thing for us, it’s almost indispensable from our everyday life. It gives us freedom of mind and information we couldn’t live without.
When things are like this, it’s hard to imagine somebody has no Internet access or is forbidden to use some Internet resources. However, even in our free world with unlimited possibilities there are still countries where Internet is strictly controlled by government and speaking one’s mind can get people in serious trouble.
As the study of the Committee to Protect Journalists concludes, top ten of such countries are:
- North Korea. The government of this country keeps all websites under strict control while only about 4% of North Koreans can enjoy Internet access at all.
- Burma. The Burma’s authorities think it’s OK to filter personal emails of their citizens and block their access to sites of any groups revealing human rights violations and disagreeing with the Burma’s government.
- Cuba. In Cuba you can use Internet only at so called “access points” which are controlled by the government. To monitor the Internet users’ online activity, they use IP blocking, browsing history checking and keyword filtering. Uploading content is allowed only to pro-government users.
- Saudi Arabia. Over 400,000 sites have already been blocked in Saudi Arabia due to the focus of those sites on some political, social and religious topics which go separate ways with the monarchy’s Islamic beliefs.
- Iran. The government forces Iranian bloggers to register at the national Ministry of Art. Mullahs running the country see to those who oppose them are harassed or jailed.
- China. This country has developed the world’s most rigid program of censorship. China’s authorities have their way with blocking sites, filtering searches, erasing “inconvenient” content and even rerouting the search terms on such unwanted issues as the Tiananmen massacre or Taiwan independence to some more favorable items for the Communist Party.
- Syria. Bloggers in Syria are forbidden to “jeopardize national unity” and are arrested for this crime. Cybercafes are forced to ask every customer for identification, they also record their time of Internet use and report that information to authorities.
- Tunisia. Fortune also doesn’t favor Tunisian bloggers – their Internet service providers are forced to report every blogger’s IP address as well as personal information to the government. All the traffic is going through the central network for the government to filter the uploaded content and monitor the emails.
- Vietnam. Vietnamese Internet users are also controlled by the Communist Party which requires Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to divulge the data on all the bloggers using their platforms. Along with sites critical of the Chinese government, the party also blocks the sites advocate for democracy, religious freedom and human rights.
- Turkmenistan. The government of this country is the only Internet provider, it blocks user access to great number of sites as well as monitors email accounts in Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail.
With so many places with different Internet control issues, the humanity seems to have a long way to go build an ideal world with modern technologies available for everybody.