[tor-talk] [New Report] No Access: LGBTIQ Website Censorship in Six Countries

bo0od bo0od at riseup.net
Wed Sep 1 02:15:17 UTC 2021

I think if you waited more Afghanistan would be added to the list.

Maria Xynou:
> Hello,
> Today, in collaboration with the *Citizen Lab* and *OutRight Action
> International*, we co-published a new research report, "*No Access: LGBTIQ
> Website Censorship in Six Countries*", which examines the blocking of
> LGBTIQ websites in Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the
> United Arab Emirates (UAE).
> The report is available on each of our websites:
> * OONI:
> https://ooni.org/post/2021-no-access-lgbtiq-website-censorship-six-countries/
> * Citizen Lab:
> https://citizenlab.ca/2021/08/no-access-lgbtiq-website-censorship-in-six-countries/
> * OutRight Action International:
> https://outrightinternational.org/content/no-access-lgbtiq-website-censorship-six-countries
> Download the full (203-page) report here:
> https://ooni.org/documents/2021-lgbtiq-website-censorship-report/2021-lgbtiq-website-censorship-report.pdf
> *# About the report*
> We joined forces with OutRight Action International and the Citizen Lab to
> examine the *blocking of LGBTIQ websites in 6 countries: *Indonesia,
> Malaysia, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
> We selected these countries because they are (a) known to serve block pages
> (i.e., pages that website visitors may see when access is restricted),
> which enable us to automatically confirm the blocking of LGBTIQ websites,
> and (b) known to censor LGBTIQ related content, based on prior research.
> We adopted a mixed methods research approach, combining *OONI network
> measurement analysis with interviews and literature research*. The
> timeframe that we selected for OONI data analysis was *June 1, 2016 to July
> 31, 2020*. To examine the impact of online LGBTIQ censorship, OutRight
> Action International and the Citizen Lab interviewed LGBTIQ communities in
> the six countries.
> *# Summary of key findings*
> *1) Variation in the blocking of internationally-relevant LGBTIQ websites
> vs. locally-relevant ones.* All six countries blocked LGBTIQ websites that
> are internationally-relevant and meant for an international audience (such
> as www.grindr.com, www.advocate.com, and ilga.org). In Malaysia and
> Indonesia, all local LGBTIQ websites tested (e.g., queerlapis.com and
> suarakita.org), however, were accessible during our analysis period, and
> therefore, it appears that both countries block internationally-relevant
> LGBTIQ websites only. In contrast, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE
> blocked access to several local and regional LGBTIQ sites, in addition to
> blocking internationally-relevant LGBTIQ sites.
> *2) LGBTIQ websites on “culture and community” were blocked most often. *In
> Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia, the most frequently blocked
> LGBTIQ websites were those that belong under the “Culture and Community”
> category. These are websites that aim primarily to create a sense of
> community among LGBTIQ individuals, as well as provide information about
> art and culture. This is not the case in Russia, however, where LGBTIQ
> websites under the “News Media" category instead presented the most
> blocking, while in the UAE, most of the LGBTIQ websites found to be blocked
> were no longer operational (categorized as “404 Not Found”).
> *3) Variation in how block pages are served for LGBTIQ websites.* ISPs in
> Indonesia and Malaysia serve block pages by means of DNS hijacking, whereas
> Iranian ISPs serve block pages primarily by means of DNS injection. In
> Russia, ISPs commonly make use of HTTP transparent proxies to serve
> blockpages, but some Russian ISPs serve block pages by means of DNS
> hijacking instead. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, ISPs deliver block pages to
> internet users through the use of censorship technologies.
> *4) Detection of censorship technologies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.* In
> both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, ISPs serve block pages through the use of
> WireFilter technology, which is a network filtering device made for the ISP
> and commercial market, manufactured by Riyadh-based Sewar Technologies Ltd.
> In the UAE, we also observed blocking using a tool manufactured by
> Netsweeper, which is a Canadian company that sells internet filtering
> products to ISPs around the world.
> *5) Some block pages in Russia contained affiliate ads.* Unlike other
> countries, some block pages in Russia contained affiliate ads, suggesting
> the presence of financial incentives. We previously observed ads being
> served as part of censorship efforts in Egypt (
> https://ooni.org/post/egypt-internet-censorship/).
> *6) Iran blocks the highest number of LGBTIQ URLs in our test lists. *Out
> of the six countries, the highest instance of LGBTIQ URL blocking was seen
> in Iran, where 75 unique LGBTIQ URLs were detected as blocked. In Iran, we
> also observed the blocking of www.outrightinternational.org, the website of
> OutRight Action International, one of this report’s authors.
> Further details and findings are available through our report:
> https://ooni.org/documents/2021-lgbtiq-website-censorship-report/2021-lgbtiq-website-censorship-report.pdf
> We thank OONI Probe users for contributing measurements, supporting this
> study.
> We also thank those who participated in interviews, sharing valuable
> insights into the realities and impact of LGBTIQ website censorship in
> their countries and regions.
> Thanks for taking the time to read and share this study!
> Kind regards,
> ~ OONI team.

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