As I’ve been casting about looking for topics, search engines’ and other US technology companies’ agreements to block access to material adhere to local Chinese laws has hit the mainstream press. Showing once again how hip librarians are, there’s been talk (and publications) about this for quite a while. Here’s a citation that’s been in my in-box for a while. Now if I could just figure out how to make this question geographic:
The filtering matrix: Integrated mechanisms of information control and the demarcation of borders in cyberspace
by Nart Villeneuve
Increasingly, states are adopting practices aimed at regulating and controlling the Internet as it passes through their borders. Seeking to assert information sovereignty over their cyber-territory, governments are implementing Internet content filtering technology at the national level. The implementation of national filtering is most often conducted in secrecy and lacks openness, transparency, and accountability. Policy-makers are seemingly unaware of significant unintended consequences, such as the blocking of content that was never intended to be blocked. Once a national filtering system is in place, governments may be tempted to use it as a tool of political censorship or as a technological “quick fix” to problems that stem from larger social and political issues. As non-transparent filtering practices meld into forms of censorship the effect on democratic practices and the open character of the Internet are discernible. States are increasingly using Internet filtering to control the environment of political speech in fundamental opposition to civil liberties, freedom of speech, and free expression. The consequences of political filtering directly impact democratic practices and can be considered a violation of human rights.