A Worldwide View of Nation-state Internet Censorship

Authors: Alexander Master (Purdue University), Christina Garman (Purdue University)

Year: 2023
Issue: 2
Pages: 1–21

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Abstract: Nation-states impose various levels of censorship on their Internet communications. As access to Internet resources has grown among the global population, some governments have demonstrated an increased willingness to filter content, throttle connections, or deny access to Internet resources within their sphere of influence. Researchers, policymakers, and civil liberty advocates need an understanding of the technical means that Internet censors implement. This work presents a worldwide view of nation-state Internet censorship derived from Internet measurement data and prior research. We performed a cross-sectional study of 70 countries during a one-year period, illuminating current online censorship trends. We then conducted a systematic study of prior work to illustrate if and how those same countries performed censorship over the past two decades. Our research contributions are three-fold: (1) a snapshot of current and emerging Internet censorship methods around the globe, (2) a holistic view of changes in censorship trends over the past two decades as the Internet has become a primary means of human communication, and (3) a research framework to allow for ease of continual analysis.

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