Governments fighting to stop the Arab Spring may be using Canadian software to censor the web.
Authoritarian governments in the Middle East have been using software developed in Canada to block access to websites they find politically objectionable, says the head of an organization that studies human rights in the internet era.
Netsweeper Inc., a Canadian company that specializes in internet content filtering, is helping Middle Eastern governments limit access to information, according to Ron Diebert, director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
The company’s website openly promotes software it says can block websites “based on social, religious or political ideals.”
Helmi Noman at the Open Net Initiative reported last month that the microblogging site Tumblr was blocked in Yemen using Netsweeper software. In email correspondence with The Mark, Noman confirmed that the site continues to be blocked.
Netsweeper won’t comment on dealings with foreign governments but a company document describes dealings with ISPs in Qatar, Yemen, and UAE.
Photo courtesy of Reuters.