July 1, 2011 | By Jillian York

This Week in Internet Censorship: Arrests of Twitter Users and New Filtering

Pakistan

In Pakistan, where substantial online and offline censorship already exist, reports have emerged that users of the ISP Mobilink must add proxy 10.215.2.32 port 3128 to browse the Internet, resulting in censorship of key words and phrases in search engines, as well as several individual web pages, mostly related to Balochistan.

According to Shahzad Ahmad at the OpenNet Initiative, “Mobilink’s new filtering system will directly affect a large portion of Pakistan’s online community, which comprises 17 percent of the country’s population, or around 28 million people.”

Ahmad also notes that there is “no public knowledge of new legislation” that would have caused Mobilink to implement the new filtering.

Kuwait

Two Kuwaiti citizens, Nasser Abul and Lawrence Al-Rashidi, are to be tried for criticizing members of the royal families of neighboring states Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Twitter. According to a Reuters report, both men will remain in detention until a hearing is scheduled and will likely face charges of harming Kuwait’s interests and defamation.

Earlier this year, Bahrain arrested several bloggers and social media users, possibly as a result of content posted on Twitter. The country has also blocked access to individual Twitter accounts.

Though bloggers have previously been arrested in Kuwait, this is the first known case of the country arresting individuals for content posted on a social networking site.

China

According to numerous online reports (including one from the International Business Times), Google+--Google’s new social networking site--was blocked by Chinese authorities within 24 hours of its beta launch.

Various accounts have since emerged contradicting the reports, with some Chinese residents stating that they can access the new site. One blog post, from Shanghai resident Brian Glucroft, states that Google+ remained unblocked as of 8:30pm local time on July 1 (8:30am EDT/5:30am PDT), but that access to the site was “slowed.”


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