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A Batcave Of Censorship-Breaking Technology


A computer displays the virtual "anticensorship shelter" to protect bloggers around the world from repressive authorities at the Paris headquarters of Reporters Without Borders.

A computer displays the virtual "anticensorship shelter" to protect bloggers around the world from repressive authorities at the Paris headquarters of Reporters Without Borders.

With 120 bloggers and citizen journalists locked up around the world, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has decided to fight back by opening an "anticensorship shelter."

At their headquarters in Paris, RSF and the communications security firm XeroBank have created a sort of Batcave of censorship-breaking technology – high-speed Internet with an anonymous IP address, encrypted e-mail, etc., all free of charge.

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday for use by "journalists, bloggers, and dissidents who are refugees or just passing through."

Outside of Paris, bloggers can access the virtually untraceable network though an access code and secure USB drives, available through RSF's bureaus.

Spokeswoman Lucy Morillon tells RFE/RL's Russian Service that more and more countries are blocking citizens’ access to certain websites or simply blocking the Internet altogether.

Countries like Iran, China, and Myanmar are famous for blocking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. But Morillon says less-publicized cases of censorship have occurred in more than 60 countries -- for example, Tunisia.

"No one really talks about it, but Tunisia uses really sophisticated technology to block websites and track those who post information," Morillon says. "Tunisian bloggers have to be really careful about what they write on the Internet.”

-- Ashley Cleek

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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