Friday, March 06, 2015

The Internet routes around censorship

The Indian courts failed in their attempt to stop the showing of "India's Daughter," a BBC documentary exposing the New Delhi bus gang rape of a medical student and its aftermath.

The Indian government banned the showing of the film and the BBC blocked it on YouTube for copyright reasons. (Perhaps it is visible in Britain).

Banning the video gave it notoriety, increasing its popularity. (This is an example of the so called "Streisand effect," referring to the rush to view an aerial view of Barbara Streisand's house when she objected to it being posted online).

I am not certain when it was banned on YouTube, but it became available on Vimeo on March 5 and by the afternoon of the 6th had been viewed 60,000 times, but it was subsequently taken down.


As of this writing, it is available on the Daily Motion site. By the time you read this, it may be gone from there, but you will probably be able to find it using Google search. (If you are reading this from England or using a VPN -- is it still available on the BBC Web site)?

At nearly the same time, the Chinese government blocked access to "Under the Dome," a scathing documentary on pollution, which had hundreds of millions of view on Chinese Web sites within days of its release.

It may have been banned in China, but it is readily accessible in other nations (with English subtitles) and to any Chinese person willing to use a VPN to view it on YouTube.

Information wants to be free.