Threats to the Open Net: July 15, 2011

Every week, the OpenNet Initiative provides a weekly news roundup (dubbed "Threats to the Open Net") in addition to our usual in-depth blog posts. If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for our newsreel, our entire blog, or our weekly roundup, you may do so; you are also free to republish the feed on your own site, with attribution to the OpenNet Initiative.

* North Korea announced this week that it will allow visitors to the Mount Kumgang tourism to access the Internet and use their mobile phones. Currently, tourists are temporarily relieved of their phones during visits to North Korea, and Internet access is limited to a handful of government officials. The announcement echoes China's plan to create an unfiltered "cloud computing district" in Chongqing. Previous efforts to create filtering-free Internet zones in the United Arab Emirates were only temporarily successful, raising questions about the future of the new North Korean and Chinese districts.

* Kazakhstan has been blocking the popular WordPress.com blogging platform since June. In an official statement, the country's main ISP says this is due to two "illegal" blogs. This week, bloggers claimed that the block is part of a strategy to silence criticism of a customs union with Russia and Belarus.

* Last Friday, Israel denied hundreds of foreign Palestine activists entry to the country after tracking down their activities on social networks, most prominently Facebook.

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