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04.08.2010

How Technology Is Making Censorship Irrelevant

Today, there are only two countries in the world where censorship-induced paralysis exists on anything like a comparable scale: Burma and North Korea. Everywhere else, the terms of trade between free speech and censorship have improved since the Cold War.

Technology has been responsible for most, perhaps all, of this improvement. Behaving like water, information on the web always seeks the largest possible audience. In doing so, it continues to exert pressure on the adamantine surface of oppression.

The experience of Iran suggests that the results can be significant. The Berkmann Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University suggests that 35,000 regularly-updated blogs are written in Arabic worldwide. Yet a separate Berkmann study suggests that as many as 70,000 active blogs are written in Farsi.

According to Technorati, the lingua franca of the Islamic Republic of Iran — spoken by an estimated 75 million people worldwide — ranks among the web’s top 10 most popular blogging languages.

Source: Wired.com

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