This is an update to our November 2011 report titledThe Canadian Connection: An investigation of Syrian government and Hezbullah web hosting in Canada, which examined the use of web servers based in Canada, the U.S., and European countries to host Syrian government websites and websites of the Lebanese political party Hezbullah. Our findings indicate that, while many of the websites we examined in 2011 have changed hosting providers, a number of Syrian government and Hezbullah websites still maintain an online presence through the services of North American and European web hosts.
Free Expression Online
Studies of Internet filtering, network interference, and other technologies and practices that impact freedom of expression online.
Ethiopia remains a dangerous country in which to express dissent online. The recent conviction of a number of bloggers and journalists, combined with the country’s history of filtering critical political content online, demonstrates the restrictive nature of the country’s information environment. This blog post describes recent developments in the country and reports on the results of ONI testing conducted in September 2012.
After years spent as one of the world’s most strictly controlled information environments, the government of Burma has recently begun to open up access to previously censored online content. Recent OpenNet Initiative testing has confirmed these changes, finding a variety of opposition websites, critical blogs and foreign news sites to be accessible after years of blocking. This ONI blog post discusses recent developments in Burma and reports on the results of testing conducted in Burma in August 2012.
Online freedom of expression continues to be threatened in Vietnam, as recently proposed regulations and the ongoing detainment and harassment of bloggers combine with an already strict regime of Internet filtering to further restrict information openness. This OpenNet Initiative blog post describes these new developments and reports on the results of testing conducted in Vietnam from April to August 2012.
OpenNet Initiative research has documented that web filtering applied by India-based ISPs is also filtering content for customers of an ISP in Oman. This “upstream filtering” is restricting access to news sites, political blogs and file sharing sites for customer’s of Omantel, who have limited opportunities for recourse. Combined with the significant filtering implemented by Omantel itself, this essentially puts users in Oman behind multiple layers of national-level filtering.
In response to the open call of the newly-established United Nations Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises for input regarding the Working Group’s key thematic priorities and activities, the Citizen Lab submitted its views on the urgent need for greater assessment of and guidance surrounding the surveillance and Internet filtering technology sector.
Additional evidence gathered by the Citizen Lab from Burma since the publication of Behind Blue Coat has provided further confirmation that Blue Coat’s devices are presently in use in the country.
A new report, entitled The Canadian Connection: An investigation of Syrian government and Hezbullah web hosting in Canada, continues Citizen Lab research into the intersection of the private sector, authoritarianism, and cyberspace regulation, turning our attention to a component of the Internet that does not typically receive the same amount of attention as filtering, surveillance, and computer network attack products and services: web hosting services.