IGF Reception for Access Controlled

November 15, 2009 – ONI Reception at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Sharm El Sheikh

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An introduction to the work of the Open Net Initiative and OpenNet.Asia

The OpenNet Initiative is a collaboration among the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto; Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and the SecDev Group, Canada.

Our aim is to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. We intend to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and advocacy work in this area.

OpenNet.Asia is a collaborative research, advocacy, and networking project whose aim is to monitor Internet and digital censorship and surveillance practices in Asia, foster the respect for human rights online, and inform local, regional, and global public policy. ONI-Asia is sponsored by IDRC Canada.

A celebration of the forthcoming release of Access Controlled
(MIT Press).

Internet filtering, censorship of web content, and online surveillance are increasing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world, in democratic countries as well as in authoritarian states. The first generation of Internet controls consisted largely of building firewalls at key Internet gateways; China’s famous “Great Firewall of China” is one of the first national Internet filtering systems. Today the new tools for Internet controls that are emerging go beyond mere denial of information. These new techniques, which aim to normalize (or even legalize) Internet control, include targeted viruses and the strategically timed deployment of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, surveillance at key points of the Internet’s infrastructure, take-down notices, stringent terms of usage policies, and national information shaping strategies. Access Controlled reports on this new normative terrain.

Screening and discussion of Brave New Media, a new film presented by the Alternative Law Forum.

The film looks at the dynamics of internet censorship and surveillance across different parts of Asia – the role that information regulation plays in the struggle of Tibetans and Burmese for democracy and self-determination, the turmoil of individuals whose privacy has been violated online, the anger of those whose freedom to blog and express themselves has been taken away and the virtual connections, friendships and pleasures that we discover. The film explores the everyday life of internet cultures across Asia- gaming zones in Malaysia, small cybercafes in India and the ubiquitous warnet in Indonesia.

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