Access Denied: Mapping Web 2.0 Censorship

John Musser
Nov. 20 2007, 02:00AM EST

See how censorship targets online communities around the world with the Access Denied Map (see our full mashup profile here). As mashup creator Sami Ben Gharbia describes:

In order to shed light on the battle being waged between state censorship and anti-censorship groups, I've created the Access Denied Map, an interactive Google Maps mashup that provides information about the censorship efforts targeting various online social networking communities and web-based applications. Each marker on the map highlights the situation in a specific country that is barring access to major websites. Clicking on the marker opens an information window containing text, images or video describing the nature of censorship and the efforts to combat it.

Over the last half-year, governments in China, Tunisia, Syria, Turkey, Burma, Thailand and Morocco have all cut off access to video-sharing websites. In the space of two months, between September 3rd and November 2nd, 2007, Tunisia has blocked access to two popular video-sharing websites, Dailymotion and Youtube, preventing Tunisian Internet users from both viewing and posting videos. Both websites remain blocked in Tunisia. Access to the Flickr photo-sharing site was recently restored in China, but it remains blocked in Iran and in the United Arab Emirates. Metacafe and Photobucket are also banned in few Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

Blogging services are being targeted as well. Over the last three months, Turkey, Thailand and China have banned wordpress.com, while Blogspot is over-blocked in Syria and Pakistan and only recently restored in China. The Livejournal blogging service is blocked in Morocco and in Iran and it has been reported to be also blocked in China. Other popular services like Technorati, Blogrolling, Xanga, Movable Type, Typepad, Feedburner and Blogsome have been blocked on and off for the past couple of years in countries such as China and Iran.

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John Musser

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[...] BBC News has additional coverage on how the American Association of Science is using satellite imagery to track human rights abuses in Burma. On a related note, the Access Denied Map shows how censorship targets online communities throughout the world [via ProgrammableWeb]. [...]