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Internet Filtering Rises Worldwide, Study Finds

Internet censorship is on the rise around the world, according to a year-long global survey by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) to be released at a conference in the Oxford, England, on Friday.

"Online censorship is growing in scale, scope, and sophistication around the world," said John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a professor at Harvard Law School, in a statement. "The regulation of the Internet has continued to grow over time -- not surprising, given the importance of the medium. As Internet censorship and surveillance grow, there's reason to worry about the implications of these trends for human rights, political activism, and economic development around the world."

As if to prove that point, Google Korea said Thursday that it would introduce an age-verification system later this year to block adult-oriented searches for users 18 and under. The ONI study found that "South Korea's filtering efforts are very narrow in scope, but heavily censor one topic, North Korea."

The ONI is a partnership between universities in Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, and Toronto, and is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The organization's study found that 25 out of 41 countries surveyed showed evidence of Internet filtering. Unsurprisingly, countries such as China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia filter a wide variety of topics, as well as content related to those topics.

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