The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 14, 2012

Treaty will limit internet across the world

— DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Envoys in Dubai signed a new U.N. telecommunications treaty Friday that a U.S.-led delegation says endorses greater government control of the Internet. The U.S. and more than 20 other countries refused to ratify the accord by the 193-nation International Telecommunications Union.

Here is a look at Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world:

—NORTH KOREA

Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea's 24 million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotels are allowed full access to the Internet.

—IRAN

Most Western social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, as well as political opposition and sexually explicit websites. But proxy server sites and other methods are widely used to get around the official restrictions. Iran has announced plans to create its own domestic Internet with fully monitored content, but international experts question whether such a complete break from the worldwide Net is possible. Earlier this week, Iran accounted it had developed its own YouTube-style video sharing site.

—CHINA

There are more than 500 million Chinese online but they contend with an extensive Internet filtering and censorship system popularly known as the "Great Fire Wall." Censors police blogs and domestic social media for content deemed pornographic or politically subversive and delete it. Many foreign websites, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times are blocked. Searches for controversial topics such as corruption scandals or jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo return error messages. Users evade controls using proxy servers.

—CUBA

Tight control, slow connections and high costs mean only around 5 percent of Cubans have access to the global Internet, with another 23 percent relying instead on a government intranet with very limited content. Web access is mainly via public facilities where people must first register with identification.

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