Google to Launch Censored Search Engine in China

According to The Intercept, Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest. The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year. The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country. Google’s search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

Source: The Intercept

Posted on: August 1, 2018

Censored: China, Ukraine, Turkey, Bahrain, Philippines

The Center for International Media Assistance published a report this week by researcher Daniel Arnaudo, analyzing case studies in Ukraine, Turkey, the Philippines, Bahrain and China, which shows how new forms of online censorship have undermined freedom of expression and press freedom. Arnaudo found the goal is not always to block users, content or themes, but to attack the democratic discourse, weaken trust in institutions like the media, other governments, the opposition and civil society. Journalists, he notes in the key findings, need the expertise of an entirely new array of actors to protect them from online attacks, including data scientists, digital security experts, and large social media platforms.

Source: CIMA

Posted on: May 25, 2018

Censored: US Sets New FOIA Record

The federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn't find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis. The calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump. People who asked for records under the Freedom of Information Act received censored files or nothing in 78 percent of 823,222 requests. When it provided no records, the government said it could find no information related to the request in a little over half those cases. It turned over everything requested in roughly one of every five FOIA requests.

Source: Associated Press

Posted on: March 14, 2018

China Tightens Control of Chat Groups

China issued new rules on instant messaging chat groups, tightening control over online discussions. Beijing has been ramping up measures to secure the internet, a process that has accelerated ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. Group chats on instant messaging apps and online commenting threads have seen a surge in popularity in China partly because they are private for members and so in theory are subject to less censorship. Internet chat service providers must now verify the identities of their users and keep a blog of group chats for no less than six months.

Source: Reuters

Posted on: September 8, 2017

China Cracks Down On Internet Content

Over the last month, Chinese regulators have closed celebrity gossip websites, restricted what video people can post and suspended online streaming, all on grounds of inappropriate content. New regulations state that at least two "auditors" will be required to check all audiovisual content posted online to ensure they adhere to "core socialist values." Topics deemed inappropriate include drug addiction and homosexuality.

Source: Reuters

Posted on: July 5, 2017

Facebook Censors Investigative Journalist

Matthew Caruana Galizia, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Panama Papers team, was temporarily locked out of his Facebook account over four posts, which were deleted for violating the social network’s community standards. Caruana Galizia published a series of posts alleging corruption by the prime minister of Malta and his associates. Written in Maltese, each post included images of documents from the Panama Papers leak. The censorship comes amid political turmoil, where a snap election is scheduled for 3 June.

Source: The Guardian

Posted on: May 19, 2017