A study by Open Net Initiative indicates that all over the world governments are increasing censor on the Internet to filter out websites with themes such as politics, religion and sexuality:
The survey was conducted among 41 countries across the globe and found that at least 25 countries indulged in active filtering of offensive websites. According to the research, countries such as Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen carried out the most active Internet filtering among other countries.
Ron Deibert, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto who participated in the research, believes that with more and more countries becoming aware that filtering out content is easy, the number will rise in future.
"It's an alarming increase. Once the tools are in place, authorities realize that the Internet can be controlled. There used to be a myth that the Internet was immune to regulation. Now governments are realizing it's actually the opposite", he said.
In the report, researchers said that the main reasons of filtering are either human rights, political opposition to the government or pornography. However each country turned their focus on different types of websites. For example governments in Vietnam and Uzbekistan were concerned mainly in blocking out local websites.
Middle East countries focused more on international websites, with Iran filtering out websites such as BBC and Saudi Arabia focusing more on sites that promote pornography and gambling. Rafal Rohozinski, Research Fellow of the Cambridge Security Programme said that the increasing amounts of filtering could be seen as an attempt by governments to control cyberspace.