Tag: censorship

Internet Filtering Being Debated in Cabinet


I have recently blogged about the possibility of Internet Filtering being introduced in Mauritius.

I guess this is being confirmed now, with the publication of this piece of news in the local newspapers. Le Mauricien, if I’m not mistaken. For now, I think it’ll only be filtering out pr0n. No word on whether it filters everything by default, or whether you need to opt-in, or if there is an opt-out clause, or whether you need to install some client. Nothing.

Let’s wait and see. I fear that, it starts with protecting children, and ends with censoring websites the government or other powerful lobbies don’t like. Even legitimate websites with good-intent.

I still stand by my view that education is still the best way to inform children about the dangers on the Internet. So they may in turn educate their friends, and children afterward. Censoring the content is just denying the truth. Or, implement local censoring. This task is left to parents. ISPs could provide filtering software whenever there is a new customer registration, and inform the parents about how to install the software (or install it as part of customer support).

What are your views, dear readers?

Internet Filtering Coming To Mauritius Soon?


I have found an interesting article coming from Le Mauricien newspaper of Friday 21st of May. You can see a shot below.

It deals with some measures ICTA (Information Communication Technology Authority) wishes to introduce or see implemented. While some are laudable, such as promotion of ICT as education tools and enhancing performance of communication systems, the last part of the article ticks off my Paranoia Alarm.

The shot of the scary paragraph, with highlighted portions can be seen below.

Well, what do I see? ICTA wants to implement Internet filtering in Mauritius.

I remember Ex-President, Mr. Cassam Uteem’s wish to see some pages of Facebook blocked due to some offensive content. There have also been past instances of Facebook being blocked in Mauritius, for example, due to the usurpation of our PM’s identity to create a profile. These cases may have warranted a blocking of the incriminating pages, but I doubt censorship was the only possible solution.

Now imagine if our local politicians or authorities have the power to block sites at a whim. Tomorrow, Mr. X doesn’t like a parody video of his speech on Youtube, and the site is blocked? No thanks!

Something strikes me as funny in this article: “the idea is not to implement censorship”. Can somebody enlighten me about the difference between “filtering” and “censorship”? I thought that content that was filtered out was censored. Am I wrong?

Giving censorship powers to a Government is too much in my opinion. The Internet should be a free-flow of information, and not to be controlled by anybody. I agree that there are some content that deserve censorship, but I believe it’s best left to its users to know what should be accessed and what should not. Such situations exist in real-life too. There are some places in cities where it is dangerous to go. However, I do not see any barriers erected to prevent people, especially children from going there. So why should this apply to the Internet?

If parents do not want their kids accessing unauthorized contents, well, they can be educated into how to implement filtration software on their machines locally. Or make the government-filtering opt-in. So people who want to see the Internet filtered can install software locally to do the job, with the use of a Government-managed database. Others can continue using the Internet as they see fit, taking their responsibilities if ever they are caught doing nasty stuff.

On a side note, we see the Internet from the social and crowd aspect nowadays. You have social networking, social bookmarking, social music discovery, social-tea-making, social-what-not. Why not social filtering? I have no idea how this would work, but hey, we do democratic voting to elect out leaders, we could do some democratic voting on what we want off the Internet too right?

I leave you to the views and your comments…

China Channel Firefox Addon: Experience Internet Censorship


I’ve seen my fair share of Firefox addons. There are addons that can make your browser do virtually anything, including controlling your music player from your browser if you wish, or get live weather info, or draw diagrams, or… or anything else I can’t think of.

Today, however, I encountered an addon in my feeds that I found particularly interesting. It’s called the China Channel Addon.

What does it do? It gives you a taste of what it means to surf the Internet in China.

As you probably know, the Great Chinese Firewall (or Golden Firewall) is used to censor the Chinese Internet and prevent people from looking up subjects like “Free Tibet”. I guess they just get a “Page cannot be found” or “Error 404” or possibly very long wait times with no page displayed at the end.

Well, this addon recreates this effect. It places you behind the Great Firewall, and allows you to see what Internet Censorship means.

Personally, I don’t find any day-to-day use to this addon. It’s just a curiosity I wanted to share with you.

Now, if ever you are preparing a project or paper on Internet censorship or something like that, you may want to experience this effect first hand, and the China Channel Addon is what you will need.

Any other interesting Firefox Addons you would like to share?

Rapidshare.com DOWN in Mauritius only? (Solved)


This article is now out-dated. Rapidshare is back online in Mauritius, discarding the concept of orange applying Internet Censorship. It was probably a problem with their servers, or a broken thing somewhere.

It’s back to normal now. I can access it and download normally. πŸ™‚

I don’t know since when, but it’s impossible for me, an Orange ADSL user, to access rapidshare.com. I can access rapidshare.de though.

Rapidshare.com can be pinged, can be trace-routed, albeit very slowly, but when loading rapidshare.com in a browser, you get a “page loading” thing (progress bar starts filling) then it freezes.

I managed to get 1 download going, but it failed after 7KB downloaded, with a miserable speed of 1.5KBps, which is lame.

This can mean 2 things:

– There are issues with the Rapidshare servers and they are doing some kind of maintenance.

– Access to rapidshare.com has been blocked by the local ISPs, or Orange.

I had a friend using Nomad’s network to try to access rapidshare.com and launch the same download I’ve been trying to get. No result. It was blocked too.

This is not a local DNS issue since I’m using OpenDNS. Trace-route to rapidshare.com works. If there was a blocking, the request would have stopped at the ISP, or maybe they are letting requests go through but block HTTP requests or something similar?

For now, I don’t know. I’m writing this article without having every fact, so take what you read with a pinch of salt. It might be censorship. Or it could be a simple server problem. Still, Rapidshare is unusable on Orange’s network.

Another weird issue. If you try accessing rapidshare.com via a proxy, it works fine. This is making me seriously consider censorship. Nothing confirmed yet. It might be that Orange started blocking access to Rapidshare to prevent heavy downloading or some kind of weird reason. If you want to check, go to YouHide and use it to access rapidshare.com.

However, if there is censorship in place, there will be an all-out war between Orange and Internet users. They are violating the basic philosophy of the Internet, which is the free and unrestricted flow of information. We can accept capping, but we can’t accept being censored and restricted like that.

I agree that Rapidshare has loads of illegal content, but also, loads of totally legal content. That doesn’t mean that it should be totally blocked. This is plain unfair. If there is indeed censorship, we could send an email to rapidshare, telling them that their premium users are being denied service in Mauritius, and we demand a refund? That should get their attention! πŸ˜›

The Media Guru also wrote about this problem, so you might give his article a check.

More on this as I get updates… Nothing confirmed yet, remember this!

Ps. Sorry for the lack of articles on GeekScribes. Both Guru and myself are in exam period and will finish by end of May. So, if there are no frequent updates, you now know why. πŸ™‚