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Study Shows At Least 25 Countries Block Websites

When friends tell me stories about their companies blocking their access to websites like geeksugar or to MSN chat or gmail, I am shocked with disbelief. Sure some of those sites might hinder productivity, but is it really fair to limit your employees' web access?

Could you imagine living in a country where websites are continually blocked for political, social or various other reasons? According to USA Today, a study shows that at least 25 countries are censoring internet content. Apparently, China, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam had the most extensive filters for political sites. Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen had the strictest social-filtering practices, blocking pornography, gambling and gay and lesbian sites.

The study comes from the OpenNet Initiative group which is comprised of researchers from Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Harvard University and the University of Toronto, who detail censorship in specific countries. This latest study was its attempt to compare filtering worldwide, although North American or Western European countries were not included.

How do you feel about this? Do you think internet censorship can be justified, whether in the workplace or country specific, or is this a total infringement to a person's rights and freedoms?

Join The Conversation
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 10 years
My husband works in China for extended periods of time about 4 times a year...he can NEVER get online, google doesn't exist and his emails are always really weird. It makes it really hard on us as a couple...but who is going to change the Chinesee government????? :?
smarler smarler 10 years
Controlling the internet at work seems perfectly fine. It's an issue of productivity and computer protection more than anything. It's frustrating to work while your coworker is updating their blog or checking their email all the time.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 10 years
Censorship is wrong. However, blocking personal/frivolous use of the internet may become necessary at my place of work - there are too many of us that use online tools to do our jobs who are not being productive because people shut their office doors and watch their missed TV shows online - bringing our connection to its knees, and making it almost impossible and super frustrating to do our jobs. I love being able to access my favorite sites, but if I can't, at least I'd spend lest time at work.
Beanalby Beanalby 10 years
>Do you think internet censorship can be justified, whether in > the workplace or country specific, or is this a total > infringement to a person's rights and freedoms? Censorship in the workplace is a completely different beast, and very justifiable, both from a productivity standpoint, and a sexual harassment slant. For a country though, it's despicable. It's nothing more than attempted thought control. They want to control what people see, think, say, and do, and the internet blows that stuff wide open.
ALSW ALSW 10 years
I know that at work, sites that predominantly feature sex and alcohol are both, mostly because both of them have caused problems in the past, with sexual harrassment or just poor use of company time. I'm with licia though in that if they took down some sites, I'd go out of my mind at work. Sometimes it's slow and I'm bored and need something to get me through the day. So, thank, Sugars!
licia licia 10 years
I've always had a problem with censorship, but in certain sitiuations it's needed. It should be a personal decision though, not one made by the government. As for the workplace, I don't think anything should be banned unless it's totally offensive. Employers should monitor internet activity though, and weed out the ones that can't get any work done because of that distraction. I waste a lot of time online at work myself (like I'm doing right.. now) but it's because work is slow and I don't have much to keep me occupied. I'd go crazy without it, hehe.
SugarShorts SugarShorts 10 years
While i think it's very sad and unjust that countries are blocking and limiting web access, I can see a reason for it in the workplace. In my office, we have unrestricted access to the internet, and two coworkers that share the same office with me will waste the better part of the day shopping online. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to whip out the plastic and charge a few dollars to my beloved overstock stores, but i cannot imagine using company time to do this. While I'm trying to make it through my huge list of to-do's, my coworkers are letting all of the work pile up... and we ALL get the blame. I feel that if our access was limited to only the sites we need to use on a daily bases for work, then productivity would go up (and my stress would go down). Perhaps companies should set up a "timed" internet session... in which each user/employee has 1 hour (or so) of unrestricted internet access per day. Employees could have that alloted time to use during lunch, breaks, etc... and wouldn't be so tempted to spend time online when they need to be working. Just my two little cents =0)
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I heard about this on ABC News when Diane Sawyer went over to China a few months back. So sad!
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