Educational CyberPlayGround ®

There are Many Tools used for Censorship

Censorware vs. privacy & anonymity
Filters - Censorship, Cyber Patrol , Net Nanny, blacklisted,
Gator in schools, homes and libraries.

Censorship Software is a $1.02 billion market

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. -- Emma Goldman

Internet Freedom




Project Shield, a free program run by Google to help protect journalists from online censorship. And make no mistake, DDoS attacks are uniquely effective weapons for stomping on free speech. To ensure that absolutely would not happen, Krebs asked Akamai to redirect his site to — effectively relegating all traffic destined for into a giant black hole.



Online Censorship How social media companies moderate content - Account suspensions, the most stringent form of moderation, were the most frequent type of content takedown in our dataset.

Censorship in China

Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference has been organized around supporting dissenters, especially how to support hackers or hacktivists who are targeted by the government. A number of talks highlighting the government's targeting of hackers and the nexus this has with the government's war on whistleblowers were held on July 18 in the “Manning room,” which was a room in the Hotel Pennsylvania renamed to honor Chelsea Manning.

@firstlook creates Press Freedom Litigation Fund to provide legal support to journalists/others for press freedoms Promoting and Protecting Free Speech and Free Expression ~Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 21, 2014

Dark Mail - lavabits dark mail initiative
Meet the “Dark Mail Technical Alliance” Planning to Keep the NSA Out of Your Inbox.
To bring the world our unique end-to-end encrypted protocol and architecture that is the 'next-generation' of private and secure email. As founding partners of The Dark Mail Technical Alliance, both Silent Circle and Lavabit will work to bring other members into the alliance, assist them in implementing the new protocol and jointly work to proliferate the world's first end-to-end encrypted 'Email 3.0' throughout the world's email providers. Our goal is to open source the protocol and architecture and help others implement this new technology to address privacy concerns against surveillance and back door threats of any kind.

Click to read more on:

Simple Chrome Extension Already Bypasses UK ISP Porn Filters a simple Google Chrome extension highlights the futility of trying to censor the Internet's naughty bits.
Bypass UK's porn filter And access blocked sites "Go Away Cameron," simply utilizes a proxy to get around the filters.

SECURITY: A History of Censorship


CENSORSHIP on the Internet page 2

FILTERS used to Censor K12 Schools and Libraries

Facebook censorship transparency report Facebook show which countries censor citizens' news feeds
The company's first Global Government Requests Report was released in August and disclosed how often it grants governments access to user data. That information was also included in the current July-Dec. report. The United States was the leader in user information requests. It was granted 81% of its 12,598 requests for account details due to search warrants, subpoenas, emergency disclosures, and other official reasons. It was followed by the UK (granted 71% of its 1,906 requests), and India (granted 54% of its 3,598 requests).


In 1215, a few noblemen drafted the Magna Carta. In 1620, a few fleeing Englishmen drafted the Mayflower Compact. In 1776, a few well‐educated revolutionaries drafted the Declaration of Independence. In 1787, elected representatives drafted US Constitution. In 1996, one person, John Perry Barlow, drafted A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace in 1996 when the Internet included barely 40 million early adopters.
See -

Barlow credits Teilhard de Chardin (and Thomas Jefferson) for ideas in the declaration.

For example -

Barlow calls for and contributed to a Social Contract posted last June as the Cyberdeclaration


3/12/14 An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web -- web's inventor warns neutrality under sustained attack from governments and corporations

3/12/14 The Future of Internet Freedom
Technologies of repression are a multibillion-dollar industry, the tools to measure and assess digital repression get only a few million dollars in government and private funding. Of course, detection is just the first step in a counterattack against censorship. The next step is providing tools to undermine sensors, filters and throttles. How do you know you're actually connecting to your friend, not a government agent? Ten years ago, this challenge would have been a deal breaker for many people. But today it's possible to use networks like Facebook or Google Hangouts to verify one another's identities similarly to how we do offline. Obfuscation techniques — when one thing is made to look like another — are also a path forward. A digital tunnel from Iran to Norway can be disguised as an ordinary Skype call. Deep packet inspection cannot distinguish such traffic from genuine traffic, and the collateral damage of blocking all traffic is often too high for a government to stomach.

Tor is a program that allows for completely anonymous Internet use, by routing your traffic through dozens of other machines.)"
~ A. Swartz


"I think all censorship should be deplored. My position is that bits are not a bug - that we should create communications technologies that allow people to send whatever they like to each other. And when people put their thumbs on the scale and try to say what can and can't be sent,
we should fight back - both politically through protest and technologically through software like Tor.

See No Evil: How Internet Filters Affect the Search for Online Health Information
The Kaiser Family Foundation did not address the lack of public accountability. But the fact that the foundation found it necessary to conduct this study raises concerns about the overall lack of public information pertaining to how filtering decisions are made about blocking sites related to contorversial subjects re: politics, health and religion. 2002 The Kaiser Family Foundation. Examples of Health Web Sites that were Blocked by One or More Internet Filter

2013 Rights Group Reports on Abuses of Surveillance and Censorship Technology JOHN MARKOFF
There was a growing amount of surveillance and content-filtering technology distributed throughout the Internet.The technology is not restricted from export by the State Department, except to countries that are on embargo lists, like Syria, Iran and North Korea. A Canadian human rights monitoring group has documented the use of American-made Internet surveillance and censorship technology by more than a dozen governments, some with harsh human rights policies like Syria, China and Saudi Arabia.
The Citizen Lab Internet research group, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, used computer servers to scan for the distinctive signature of gear made by Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif. Blue Coat products identified as ProxySG, which functions as a Web filter, and a second system, PacketShaper, which can detect about 600 Web applications and can be used to control undesirable Web traffic. Intelligence-oriented surveillance software program, called FinSpy, which was being used by Bahrain to track opposition activists. The researchers used the Shodan search engine, a specialized Internet tool intended to help identify computers and software services that were connected to the Internet. They were able to identify a number of the Blue Coat systems that are used for content filtering and for “deep packet inspection,”
a widely used technology for detecting and controlling digital content as it travels through the Internet.
It determined that Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates employed a Blue Coat system that could be used for digital censorship. The group also determined that Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela used equipment that could be used for surveillance and tracking. In 2011, several groups, including Telecomix and Citizen Lab, raised concerns that Blue Coat products were being used to find and track opponents of the Syrian government. The company initially denied that its equipment had been sold to Syria, which is subject to United States trade sanctions.

  • FINFISHER™ - WikiLeaks
  • Remote Monitoring & Infection Solutions. FINSPY. Feature Overview. Target Computer - Example Features: · Bypassing of 40 regularly ...
    Threat Description: Trojan-Spy:W32/FinSpy.A
  • FinSpy Agent - Gamma International (UK) Limited Software Informer.
    FinSpy Agent is developed by Gamma International (UK) Limited. The most popular version of this product among our users is 2.6. The name of the program ...
  • How Two Amateur Sleuths Looked for FinSpy Software -
    Aug 31, 2012 - Four months of painstaking computer forensics work led two volunteer sleuths to the widespread use of a sophisticated, off-the-shelf ...
  • FinSpy Software Is Tracking Political Dissidents -
    Aug 30, 2012 - Two researchers say an off-the-shelf computer program has been used to monitor and spy on dissidents in countries around the world.

2012 Copyright Industry Calls For Broad Search Engine Censorship
"The document, which describes a government-overlooked "Voluntary Code of Practice" for search engines, was not intended for public consumption but the Open Rights Group obtained it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. In short, the rightsholders want the search engines to make substantial changes so that pirated content becomes harder to find, or is de-listed entirely. In addition, they want to boost the rankings of licensed content. Below are the three new measures they propose. Assign lower rankings to sites that repeatedly make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright Prioritize websites that obtain certification as a licensed site under a recognised scheme Stop indexing websites that are subject to court orders while establishing suitable procedures to de-index substantially infringing sites ...
Not surprisingly, there is no mention of the collateral damage that such a broad filter would bring with it - many artists and other legitimate individuals are known to use these websites to share their works. The document further details how many of the top search results for music, movies and books currently link to pirated copies. In order to stop this, the rightsholders propose that Google and other search engines systematically assign a lower ranking to possibly infringing pages."

RESOURCES is a new Harvard-based Web site that tracks online censorship all over the world.

Infographic of the Day: Censorship Muzzles 1/4 of the World's Population 6/2010 But in the age of the Internet, how much does it matter? Here's another intriguing infographic from the Workup, which shows two things: At the top, the number of people around the world affected by censorship. And, at the bottom, the portion of people in those countries that have access to the internet.

The American investment community has so far been willing to fund Chinese innovation in censorship technologies and systems without complaint or objection. [1]

The United States, most schools and public libraries use loaded filtering software

The United States, most schools and public libraries use loaded filtering software, as stipulated in the Communications Decency Act, the Child Online Protection Act and the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The US Congress has also made several laws in recent years, albeit under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court which makes sure they do not infringe on the freedom of speech. The American Library Association challenged the CIPA in 2001 arguing "no filtering software successfully differentiates constitutionally protected speech from illegal speech on the Internet".

But the US Supreme Court upheld the CIPA on condition "a librarian will unblock filtered material or disable the Internet software filter without significant delay on an adult user's request".

Censorship Internet Filtering Program and Corruption
The study explains why it is inappropriate, under First Amendment standards of access to information, for filtering to be used in schools.
Pico v. Island Trees Board of Education
"School boards may not remove books from school libraries simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books."
In this case school board members received a list of "objectionable books" from a conservative parent organization and sought to remove those books from their school library.
Kaiser studied the six leading filtering products that are used in U.S. public schools, SmartFilter, 8e6, Websense, CyberPatrol, Symantec, and N2H2/Bess, along with AOL Parental Controls.
School boards are at the local level and empowered to select what gets filtered and in what categories BUT ALL THEY GET is a selection based on a one sentence description of what is blocked in that category, with some examples but without an accurate description of the criteria for blocking within the category. Beyond the one sentence description, the filtering companies protect all further information about how and what they are blocking as confidential trade secret information. Who is paying the filitering companies to block this information? No information is available. There is absolutely no public disclosure. These Executives and Investors whose interests and values control the blocking criteria and decision-making are far removed from accountability for their actions. These Filtering companies also sell their product to conservative religious Internet service providers and repressive third world countries like China.
There is also now strong evidence of significant intentional or accidental blocking of sites that present controversial information or address controversial subjects.We have no knowledge on how or why this overblocking is occurring. What the Kaiser study has very effectively demonstrated is intentional or inadvertent blocking of potentially controversial information or information related to controversial subjects.
The Kaiser study demonstrated the reasons why it is both unwise and inappropriate to place reliance on filtering software to protect young people when they are using the Internet. Study found Internet filters most frequently used by schools and libraries can effectively block pornography without significantly impeding access to online health information - but only if they aren't set at their most restrictive levels. As filters are set at higher levels they block access to a substantial amount of health information, with only a minimal increase in blocked pornographic content.
Sites containing health information across a broad range of topics, including health topics unrelated to sex, health topics that relate to sexual body parts, health topics related to sex, and sites presenting potentially controversial health information were evaluated for access.

The six filters used in public schools were set at three different configurations:
least restrictive -- blocking only the pornography-related category or categories;
intermediate restrictive -- blocking those categories that are most likely to be considered inappropriate; and
most restrictive -- blocking all categories conceivable in a library or school setting. Most public schools have configured their filtering systems at or above the intermediate restrictive configuration.

Kaiser found across all of the health information that filters set at the most restrictive level blocked 24% of such sites, filters set at the least restrictive level blocked only 1.4% of the health information sites. They blocked only 5% of such sites at the intermediate level.
Sites identified by researchers as containing health information on the following categories or subject areas re: safe sex, homosexuality, "condoms," "gay," "lesbian" and drugs the rate of overblocking was significantly higher.
At the intermediate restriction configuration, typical of most school settings, the filters blocked one in four (1 in 4) of the health information sites in these subject areas. The Children's Internet Protection Act contains extensive requirements related to the use of technology protection measures -- but it does not mention Internet safety education even once. How illegal and stupid is this?

Sites Blocked by Internet Filtering Programs
Edelman Expert Report for Multnomah County Public Library et al., vs. United States of America, et al. A list of some 6000+ web sites that, by and large, fail to meet the category definitions of popular Internet filtering programs yet are blocked by at least one such program.

Rev. Donald Wildmon's three-decade old American Family Association Filters
It has an annual budget of close to $17 million, net assets of more than $32 million, owns and feeds programming to nearly 200 radio stations, employs about 100 at its home-base, operates the Center for Law & Policy, a high-powered conservative legal enterprise, and has developed one of the most sophisticated communications networks in all of right wing grassroots Christendom. And, after three decades of conducting boycotts, demonizing homosexuals, and railing against the entertainment industry, the Reverend Donald Wildmon's Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association


Country Censorship Work Arounds

2012 ISLAMABAD: All emails, telephone calls and other communications with the rest of the world will begin to be monitored within 90 days at a cost of million of dollars, according to a deadline given by the government to operators including PTCL. The government has assigned PTCL and other operators to install monitoring equipment by the end of this year for checking voice and email communications from abroad and the services of the country's spy agency will be used basically to check and curb blasphemous and obscene websites on the Internet. “The regulator, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has assigned 14 LDIs, including PTCL, to install this monitoring equipment,” senior executive vice president of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)

Microsoft denies its antispyware favors Claria
Microsoft has denied claims that is antispyware tool, currently in beta, gives preferential treatment to adware from Claria, a company Microsoft may soon buy. Microsoft AntiSpyware used to recommend that users quarantine certain Claria products, but a recent upgrade only gives users the option to remove Claria products, with no recommendation. Claria, previously known as Gator (who is in the pop-up advertising business, Gator calls itself an "adware" company, while critics often call Gator spyware. But neither "adware" nor "spyware" appears anywhere in Gator's license agreement.)
requested in January 2005 that Microsoft review its classification of Claria products as spyware. Microsoft says a review under objective crtieria found that Claria should not be recommended for quarantine, and denies that Claria is receiving any sort of special treatment.

Saudi Arabia and China Censor THEIR PEOPLE
Chinese Internet dissident found guilty Sydney Morning Herald June 14, 2004
The Intermediate People's Court of Xiaogan has convicted cyber dissident Du Baobin for inciting the subversion of state power, but commuted his three-year prison sentence to four years probation. Mr. Du has been stripped of his political rights for two years. Mr. Du, 40, a financial officer and Internet social critic, posted 26 essays online arguing for political freedoms and criticizing government crackdowns against Internet users opposing China's policies. Mr. Du's October 2003 arrest prompted a petition signed by more than a hundred Chinese intellectuals calling for his release and official clarification of "inciting the subversion of state power". Mr. Du's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, was barred from the trial as a court-appointed lawyer filed a confession. Mr. Mo was allowed at the sentencing hearing after filing a complaint. Mr. Mo disputes the confession, arguing that though Mr. Du admits writing the essays, he has not admitted that writing the essays is itself a crime.

U.S. Tech Firms Help Governments Censor Internet 2005
Free speech advocates are frustrated with a host of American companies they say have been collaborating with oppressive regimes in countries like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to help them filter and monitor the Internet activity of their citizens. Big technology names like Microsoft, Yahoo! and Cisco Systems have been criticized roundly in recent years for providing foreign governments with the tools they need to crack down on Internet use, but critics say they have not been able to do much more than complain. "These companies' lack of ethics is extremely worrisome," said Lucie Morillon, the Washington representative of Reporters Without Borders, an international advocacy group for journalists that monitors government repression of the Internet worldwide, documenting dissidents charged with breaking their country's Internet laws. For instance, the organization reports that an estimated 60 "cyber-dissidents" are in Chinese jails today.

Yahoo Assisted China a 3rd Time this is what US companies in the 30's April 19, 2006
BEIJING -- Yahoo Inc. turned over a draft e-mail from one of its users to Chinese authorities, who used the information to jail the man on subversion charges, according to the verdict from his 2003 trial released Wednesday by a rights group.

SECURITY: Censorware Companies and Saudi Arabia / China Censorship How to disable your blocking software The Chinese government is using a new internet content management system named the "Night Crawler System" (pa chong) to block access to websites that have not been registered with authorities. Analysis

2009 China Sets New Rules For Music Sold Online China's government ordered a cleanup of the country's online music market that will require music sites to seek approval from censors for all foreign songs they distribute on the Internet. The Ministry of Culture's measure, which affects music services provided by companies including Google Inc. and Baidu Inc., is the latest effort by the government to try to assert control over the Internet, which has some 338 million users in China, more than in any other country. 2009 China Blocks Access to iTunes Store It seems like suspending iTunes is punishment for iTunes, but reallyit doesn't hurt iTunes, it hurts us," said a note on Chinese Apple fan site, according to the AP. China's attempt to block the album (and everything else available inthe iTunes store, for that matter) could have the unintended effect offurther raising awareness of the album and the issues it champions. Songs for Tibet was the top-selling iTunes rock album in the world during the first weekof August. Here's one song from it, Imogen Heap's "Hide & Seek 2":


  • CENSORSHIP of the Internet is common place in most regions of the world.
  • Turn your home computer into a Web site that people can access to GET AROUND THEIR BLOCKING SOFTWARE. Defeats all Internet censorship programs, from Net Nanny to the national firewalls used by the government of China.
  • Annonymous Email this powerful information above to help others avoid censorship - help free the world.
  • See Privaterra - an ongoing project of Computer Professionals For Social Responsibility (CPSR) a nonprofit charitable institution


Seth Finkelstein - Anti-censorship activist and programmer spent hundreds of unpaid and uncredited hours over several years to decrypt and expose to public scrutiny the secret contents of the most popular censorware blacklists. Seth has been active in raising the level of public awareness about the dangers that Internet content blocking software and rating/labeling schemes pose to freedom of communication. His work has armed many with information of great assistance in the fight against government mandated use of these systems.

Bess vs. Google

BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE (censorware vs. privacy & anonymity)
Abstract: This report examines a secret category in N2H2's censorware, a product often sold under the name "BESS, The Internet Retriever". This category turns out to be for sites which must be uniformly prohibited, because they constitute a LOOPHOLE in the necessary control of censorware. The category contains sites which provide services of anonymity, privacy, language translation, humorous text transformations, even web page feature testing, and more.

Why Bess Can't Succeed
One may wonder why N2H2 misses so many porn sites. The answer is twofold: size, and rate of growth. In a recent study in Nature magazine, a scientific journal, two computer scientists studied search engines and concluded that the best of them covered only 16% of the web - they simply can't find all the data out there. Hotbot had coverage of only 11.3%.The Web currently contains over one billion pages. That's 20,000,000,000,000 characters of text. And it's adding new material at a tremendous rate - over two million pages day, or roughly 25 new pages every second of every day. If you can read and rate an entire web page in 30 seconds, you would only need another 749 people just like you to keep up with the new information being added to the web. Of course, you'd have to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... N2H2 employs 15 full time and 58 part time employees to scan websites, according to their recent IPO filing. They're losing ground massively unless they classify huge chunks of the web at once (or skip chunks, such as Geocities and the other free webpage sites). And remember, this is just for a one-time classification. Web pages change, constantly. If you never rescan them, your classifications quickly becomes outdated - but this would take many more employees. And this assumes that you could even find all the new information. The internet search engines such as AltaVista and Hotbot do their best. They have millions of dollars worth of computer hardware, being manned by highly-paid professionals and connected to the internet via ultra-fast (and ultra-expensive) data lines.

Google Cache - Cache Me If You Can
N2H2 is a company which makes censorware (aka "filters"). Censorware is software which is designed and optimized for use by an authority to prevent another person from sending or receiving information. N2H2's product is sometimes sold under the name BESS, The Internet Retriever . This report examines how N2H2's censorware treats many features provided by Google , a popular and advanced search engine. Google has a huge cache of web pages, a large archive of netnews groups, and experimental image searching. Each feature turns out to be treated differently by N2H2.

NCTE Anti Censorship Center offers advice, helpful documents, and other support at no cost to K-12 teachers faced with challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, or teaching methods.

N2H2 Company to filter all ISP traffic
SEATTLE — Oct. 18, 2000 — N2H2™,
Inc. (NASDAQ: NTWO), an Internet infrastructure company specializing in filtering, Internet management, and content delivery services, today announced that the company's proprietary filtering service and filtered search function has been chosen by, an online network for Christian individuals, churches, and organizations. As part of the agreement, N2H2 will provide's global user network with a secure method for accessing appropriate Internet content. N2H2 will receive a per-user monthly subscriber fee for each ISP customer as well as a per-inquiry fee for each use of N2H2's private-labeled filtered search function residing on the Web site. "Because we target one of the most conscientious user groups online, we made it a point to select the most reliable filtering service available," said Spencer Jones, COO. "N2H2 frees users and their children to search the Web without worry — and that's no small thing."

March 11, 2000 Cyber Patrol (R) 4, a "censorware" product intended to prevent users from accessing undesirable Internet content, has been reverse engineered by youth rights activists Eddy L O Jansson and Matthew Skala. A detailed report of their findings, titled "The Breaking of Cyber Patrol(R) 4", with commentary on the reverse engineering process and cryptographic attacks against the product's authentication system, has been posted on the World Wide Web at this address:
The abstract of the report:
Several attacks are presented on the "sophisticated anti-hacker security" features of Cyber Patrol(R) 4, a "censorware" product intended to prevent users from accessing Internet content considered harmful. Motivations, tools, and methods are discussed for reverse engineering in general and reverse engineering of censorware in particular. The encryption of the configuration and data files is reversed, as are the password hash functions. File formats are documented, with commentary. Excerpts from the list of blocked sites are presented and commented upon. A package of source code and binaries implementing the attacks is included.

'The Breaking of Cyber Patrol 4(R)' by Matthew Skala and check out his great Cyber Patrol Break FAQ or this one. Get's Settled

Read: Black Listed by CyberPatrol