OXFORD, England - At least 26 nations now censor the Internet, banning themes from politics and human rights to sexuality and religion, a survey revealed Friday.
Internet censorship has become a global phenomenon with the use of content-filtering software, said OpenNet Initiative, which surveyed 40 countries for a report released Friday.
"It's an alarming increase," said Ron Deibert, of the University of Toronto, one of four universities participating in the study along with Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.
"There used to be a myth that the Internet was immune to regulation," Deibert said. "Now governments are realizing it's actually the opposite."
In the last five years, censorship of the Net has grown beyond a handful of countries, including Iran, China and Saudi Arabia, to 26 nations, including Pakistan, Tunisia, Vietnam, Syria, Uzbekistan and Oman, the report said.
The study found no evidence of Internet censorship in more than a dozen of the surveyed countries, including Russia, Venezuela, Egypt, Hong Kong, Israel and Iraq.
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