In places like China and Iran, the government blocks and filters access to certain information on the internet that may go against the politics or ideals of leadership. Every day, over one million people from these countries are using tools like Ultrasurf and Tor to get past “extensive blocking programs and government surveillance.” However, the ever-increasing demand for these services is starting to cause problems so that “online bottlenecks that have made the tools slow and often inaccessible to users.” “Activists and nonprofit groups say that their online circumvention tools, funded by the U.S. government, are being overwhelmed by demand and that there is not enough money to expand capacity.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Internet freedom is turning into a human rights question of the 21st century, and there are conflicting views on how to tackle the issue. While the US is spending around $30 million a year to provide greater access to the internet, other countries continue to spend billions of dollars to censor it. “Internet freedom activists say part of the challenge in developing online circumvention tools is determining how much to spend now on helping users evade detection vs. how much to spend on more sophisticated projects for the future that could keep pace with censorship technology.”