Access Denied

I’ve had this book for a while but haven’t had a chance to review it for this site.

Access Denied is a review of different methods of filtering Internet content across 40 countries including North Korea, Myanmar, and quite a few others.

It’s broken up alphabetically by country. Each country’s section is devoted to explaining how that country’s government blocks, doesn’t block, or otherwise restricts access to the Internet at large.

Most people are only familiar with China’s “Great Firewall” but other countries institute similar methods of controlling their populace.

For example, the section on North Korea states that, as a whole, North Korea is a “virtual black hole in cyberspace” but that an intranet exists in the capital of Pyongyang of just over 30 websites.

The section goes on to state “key indicators” of life expectancy, literacy rate, and several other factors. North Korea has a life expectancy of 64 years, and a literacy rate of 99%. Each country summary ends with several pages of bibliographic information for further reading.

Other sections are just as informative and state the type of content each country prohibits and why, which countries have state run ISPs, and other fun facts about where the country is. You can use the data to find out how one country fares against its neighbors.

Two of the four editors of this book have been mentioned previously in this blog. John Palfrey was one of the writers of Born Digital and Jonathan Zittrain is the author of The Future of the Internet. Both books were highly recommended, as is this one.

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