Ethan Zuckerman on internet censorship and the limits of circumvention

by on March 8, 2010 · 0 comments

Just a heads up that on my weekly tech policy podcast, Surprisingly Free Conversations, we’ve just posted an interview with Ethan Zuckerman of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He recently published an excellent blog post on the limits to internet censorship circumvention technologies, and that’s the topic of our discussion. Ethan writes,

So here’s a provocation: We can’t circumvent our way around internet censorship.

I don’t mean that internet censorship circumvention systems don’t work. They do – our research tested several popular circumvention tools in censored nations and discovered that most can retrieve blocked content from behind the Chinese firewall or a similar system. (There are problems with privacy, data leakage, the rendering of certain types of content, and particularly with usability and performance, but the systems can circumvent censorship.) What I mean is this – we couldn’t afford to scale today’s existing circumvention tools to “liberate” all of China’s internet users even if they all wanted to be liberated.

You can listed to this episode here, and you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or RSS.

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