Censorship

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Censorship
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Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 is a country located in central Asia. It primarily practices Islam.

Internet Censorship[]

Kazakhstan primarily censors political opposition, though big websites like YouTube are not blocked. This is because most Kazakhs do not have access to the internet.

The government has established systems to monitor and filter Internet traffic. Since the traffic of all first-tier ISPs goes through KazakhTelecom's channels, surveillance and filtering is centralized. The ONI suspects that state officials informally ask KazakhTelecom to filter certain content. KazakhTelecom, along with some Russian companies, has openly signed an agreement to provide filtering, censorship, and surveillance on the basis of Security Council resolutions. There are several recorded cases of journalists and Web site owners that have been prosecuted under broad media and criminal provisions. Twenty-one opposition and independent media sites have been permanently suspended, allegedly for providing links to publications concerning corruption among senior state officers and the president.

In 2004, the chairs of the National Security Committee and the Agency for Informatization and Communications approved rules providing for mechanisms for monitoring telecommunications operators and networks. These rules prescribe full collaboration and information sharing between the government agencies. This system is similar to that of the Russian SORM, introduced to monitor activities of users and any related information. The rules oblige ISPs to register and maintain electronic records of customer Internet activity. Providers are required to install special software and hardware equipment in order to create and store records for a specified amount of time, including log-in times, connection types, transmitted and received traffic between parties of the connection, identification numbers of sessions, duration of time spent online, IP address of the user, and speed of data receipt and transmission.

The OpenNet Initiative conducted testing on two main ISPs: KazakhTelecom and Nursat. KazakhTelecom blocks opposition groups' Web sites, regional media sites that carry political content, and selected social networking sites. A number of proxy sites providing anonymous access to the Internet have also been blocked. The ONI suspects that filtering practices in Kazakhstan are evolving and are performed at the network backbone by KazakhTelecom, which filters traffic it provides to downstream operators. Consequently, Kazakh ISPs may unknowingly receive pre-filtered content. At the same time, not all incoming and outgoing traffic passes through KazakhTelecom's centralized network, resulting in inconsistent patterns of blocking. The majority of Internet users are on "edge" networks, such as Internet cafés and corporate networks. Kazakhstan companies apply filtering mechanisms at the user level to prevent employees from accessing pornography, music, film, and dating Web sites. However, ONI testing found that Kazakhstan does not block any pornographic content or sites related to drug and alcohol use. Since 2016, the Kazakh government has blocked the social media website Tumblr because of religious extremism and pornography.

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