Internet Policing in Syria and Around the World

A while back I tweeted Fred Benenson’s chart of the Syrian internet shutdown. His post also included a video, which I share below.

It turns out there are about 61 countries around the world that could be “unplugged” pretty easily by governments. On the private side, Google regularly receives takedown requests for specific websites from authorities. Slate mapped these across the world:

Google received nearly 2,000 requests from more than 50 countries to strike content from its websites in the first half of this year. Turkey is the most vigorous meddler. Among other efforts, Turkey requested that Google strike more than 400 YouTube videos that criticized the Turkish government.

The U.S. ranks second. Most of its 273 requests are court orders, many of which relate to defamation lawsuits against individuals or organizations.

Because Google is beholden to the laws of each country, Google’s legal constraints determine its compliance. According to Google’s website, it does not always comply with a request. Some orders are falsified. In other cases, it can’t find the described content to take it down.

The map is kind of terrible–circles are a notoriously bad way of comparing information when they require comparison by area–but I did not want to go to the trouble (for this post at least) of getting the underlying data and mapping it myself. If any brave souls want to try, please do. The underlying point is important–internet politics is becoming more and more relevant to everyday life.

2 thoughts on “Internet Policing in Syria and Around the World

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