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Censorship in cyberspace

Censorship in cyberspace is often treated as a separate issue from censorship of offline material, but the legal issues are similar.

The major difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can often find it on web sites hosted elsewhere. Conversely, attempts by one government to prevent its citizens from seeing certain material can have the effect of restricting foreigners, because the government may take action against Internet sites anywhere in the world, if they host material it objects to. For example, France has asked auction sites hosted in the United States to remove Nazi memorabilia.

The People's Republic of China has set up systems for Internet censorship that are collectively known as the Great Firewall of China.

The efforts of Scientology to stifle online discussion of its activities has been seen by many as a form of censorship.

The Project for the New American Century published plans that some said would control cyberspace and militarize near-Earth orbits in September 2000 [1] (http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf).

Censoring information on the internet, however, is very difficult (or impossible) to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) allow unconditional free speech, as the technology guarantees that material cannot be removed and the author of any information is impossible to link to a physical identity or organization.

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