zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering

via Feminist Review by Feminist Review on 4/28/08
Edited by Ronald Diebert, John Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and Jonothan Zittrain
MIT Press

Access Denied is an amalgam of writings by legal scholars, IT professionals, academics, and government intelligence agents from around the world. This collaboration is groundbreaking not only in its scope, but its topic; Access Denied examines how internet filtering has created multiple internets, each accessed by the residents of different countries according to what governments decide its residents should see and the technical capabilities of those governments to enforce their dictates.

The book is certainly biased toward the freedom of information that American and many other Western countries experience on the internet. Researchers come from the OpenNet Initiative, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Oxford, University of Toronto, and Stanford. The first half of the book consists of essays about global internet filtering. One provides an excellent explanation of the measurements the collaborators used to study filtering methods, motives, targets, and techniques. Another essay addresses the "why" of internet filtering. Different countries censor different information and for different reasons, political, social, and moral. One essay explains the technical details of controlling the internet, a system that tends to automatically route around attempts at censorship. International policy towards the internet differ, and corporate interests and private citizens' legitimate privacy concerns only complicate the attempts to document regulation of the IT systems, equipment, and individual internet users. Standardization seems a distant dream.

The second half of the book begins with regional overviews of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the United States and Canada, and so forth. What follow are four or five page summaries of forty countries - including Afghanistan, China, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe - that are dense with information and thorough endnotes, while beginning with an easy to read summary abstract. A graph for each country presents information "at a glance" about the nature and type of filtering. Another graph presents key data like PDP and the number of internet users, while a background section provides a brief history of the country and overview of the current political and social climate. The rest of each regional overview describes the presence of the Internet in the respective county, the legal and regulatory frameworks, and the results of the OpenNet Initiative's testing. Access Denied is a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read, though the internet or freedom enthusiast could easily read this book cover-to-cover.

Review by Janine Peterson Wonnacott

Click here to buy:

Check out more reviews at http://www.feministreview.org

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog