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Month: May 2004

U.S. Government Censorship

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

The U.S. government concocted a brilliant plan a few years ago: Why not give Internet surfers in China and Iran the ability to bypass their nations’ notoriously restrictive blocks on Web sites?

But an independent report released Monday reveals that the U.S. government also censors what Chinese and Iranian citizens can see online. Technology used by the IBB, which puts out the Voice of America broadcasts, prevents them from visiting Web addresses that include a peculiar list of verboten keywords. The list includes “ass” (which inadvertently bans usembassy.state.gov), “breast” (breastcancer.com), “hot” (hotmail.com and hotels.com), “pic” (epic.noaa.gov) and “teen” (teens.drugabuse.gov).

That’s the sad irony in the OpenNet Initiative’s findings: A government agency charged with fighting Internet censorship is quietly censoring the Web itself.

Should the US government be involved in circumventing foreign censorship at all? If it is in fact important to our national security, why not just support the many private groups already doing this?