As long as the internet has been around, there have been those desperate to stifle it.
And as websites supporting the indiscriminate sharing of content grows, and new generations of privacy-conscious citizens opt for websites promoting anonymity, authoritarian governments across the globe are calling for tighter controls.
Here, we run through some of the biggest tech bans from across the globe.
The biggest data breaches 2018.
Twitch in China
Twitch – a streaming service used by millions daily – has been banned by the Chinese government.
The ban, which was first reported by
Abacus, noted that the Twitch app was no longer available on the Chinese Apple App Store after a spike in popularity in the country.
While the exact reason for the ban is yet to be confirmed,
reports suggest that the combined popularity of the platform’s eSports streams and China’s continued efforts to govern the games industry could be behind the ban.
The ban comes after the government suspended the approval of all new games in August, which included the hugely popular Fortnite game.
Facebook in Papua New Guinea
In a move to counter fake online profiles, the government of New Guinea announced in May 2018 that it had decided to disable access to Facebook across the country for a month.
During this period, the company will analyse the effect of the social network on the country and also identify and prosecute people breaking the 2016 cyber-crime law, such as those posting pornography or false information.
Despite the fact that only 10 percent of the country currently has access to the internet, the government are taking a hardline stance when it comes to social media.
The country’s communications minister Sam Basil has even floated the suggestion of Papua New Guinea creating a rival to the social media site for its citizens. “If need be then we can gather our local applications developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guineans to communicate within the country and abroad as well,” he said.
VPNs in Russia
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to ban the technology that provides access to Russia’s blocked websites, Reuters
The ban, which came into effect in November 2017, prohibits the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other tools used when accessing censored content.
Video games after midnight in South Korea
The ‘shutdown law’, was passed in May 2011 and blocks anyone under the age of 18 from playing online video games past midnight. In an attempt to prevent game addiction under 18s cannot play online games between midnight and 6am.
However, consoles and mobile games are not affected.
WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber in Bangladesh
In November 2015, Bangladesh reportedly banned the use of WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber due to security reasons. This is not the first time Bangladesh have censored social messaging apps – in 2010 Facebook was temporarily blocked.
Blackberry in Pakistan
Pakistan banned the use of Blackberry’s messaging and internet service in 2016 due to concerns for security. Blackberry uses encryption aimed at businesses and confidentiality which was not looked on too favourably by other countries in the past.
In 2010 Saudi Arabia put a block on sending and receiving messages via Blackberry phones. The ban came from security concerns surrounding Blackberry messaging, emails and the internet.
iPads in Israel
Perhaps not the longest ban in history but for two weeks in 2010 Tel Aviv banned the new iPad. The state governed that the iPad was aligned with US standards not of those in place in
Israel which apparently could have disrupted the country’s military frequencies.
Mobile phones in Cuba
Mobile phones were banned in Cuba until it was lifted in 2008 President Raul Castro. The previous ban was the result of previous president Fidel Castro’s suspicion of mobile networks spreading from the US.
Google Street View in Austria and Greece
Due to concerns for
privacy, Austria and Greece stopped Google’s Street View cars from roaming their streets. Both bans have now been lifted, but strict data privacy regulations have been put in place.
Facebook in Pakistan
Facebook was temporarily
banned in Pakistan in 2010 due to Facebook communities illustrating pictures of Muhammad. This ban was
lifted after Facebook assured that no offensive material would be available to Pakistani users.
Music for marathon runners in the US
In 2007 the USA Track and Field Organisation barred the use of potable music devices to ensure the safety of all runners.
Apple News joins Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, SoundCloud, Instagram and many others in the list of banned websites and apps in China.
October 2015 saw iPhone users were met with the message: “Sorry news isn’t supported in your region” unless accessing from a virtual private network (VPN).
Facebook’s ‘free basics internet scheme’ in India
India banned Facebook’s ‘free basics internet scheme’ in February 2016. The scheme offers free internet access to certain websites and aims to provide internet access to less developed countries, offering a more affordable internet service.
This move has been criticised for breaching net neutrality: the principle that governments and internet providers must treat all data on the internet the same and not charge differently depending on the user.