A daily battle for rights and freedoms in cyberspace is being waged in Asia. At the epicenter of this contest is China--home to the world’s largest Internet population and what is perhaps the world’s most advanced Internet censorship and surveillance regime in cyberspace. Resistance to China’s Internet controls comes from both grassroots activists and corporate giants such as Google. Meanwhile, similar struggles play out across the rest of the region, from India and Singapore to Thailand and Burma, although each national dynamic is unique.
Internet filtering, censorship of Web content, and online surveillance are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world, in democratic countries as well as in authoritarian states. The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous “Great Firewall of China” is one of the first national Internet filtering systems. Today the new tools for Internet controls that are emerging go beyond mere denial of information.
Many countries around the world block or filter Internet content, denying access to information that they deem too sensitive for ordinary citizens--most often about politics, but sometimes relating to sexuality, culture, or religion. Access Denied documents and analyzes Internet filtering practices in more than three dozen countries, offering the first rigorously conducted study of an accelerating trend. Internet filtering takes place in more than three dozen states worldwide, including many countries in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.