While children (or even adults) could use email or programs like the Peekabooty software to slip pornography past any Internet filtering software that their parents or company may have installed, the intended purpose for circumventing Internet filters is to visit government-banned websites.

To learn what type of information may threaten certain governments, try looking at the following websites. Who knows? Maybe you'll find ideas to help you circumvent your own government's attempts to suppress any information it doesn't like.


One of the more prominent anti-Castro groups is the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF, at CANF provides firsthand reports of Cuban human rights violations (written by Cuban refugees), as well as reports of religious repression and debates about U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba.

CubaNet posts information it receives from Cuba's underground democracy movement to (which it hosts outside of Cuba), and regularly sends email back into Cuba so that Cuban dissidents there can spread their message to the rest of the world.


China regulates the use of the Internet by controlling the national telecommunications system, which all Chinese Internet providers must use. Thus, it can permanently block the websites of foreign newspapers (like The New York Times) and sites deemed pornographic (like Playboy magazine) from being accessed inside China.

Despite these restrictions, a few Chinese citizens still manage to access forbidden sites. A New York–based site, Human Rights in China (HRIC, at, claims dozens of hits each week from people inside China. Founded by Chinese scientists and scholars in March 1989, HRIC monitors the implementation of international human rights statutes in China. It also supports human rights and is an information source for Chinese people both inside China and abroad.

While the Chinese government can restrict access to particular sites from inside China, it can't screen the vast amount of email that crosses the Chinese borders every day. Exploiting this weakness, Chinese dissidents write and edit a weekly electronic magazine called Tunnel (, sending their articles from inside China to a U.S. email account, from which the magazine is then distributed via email to readers in China. Using this method, the magazine hopes to prevent the Chinese government from identifying the writers and blocking the magazine's distribution in China.

Another newsletter, dubbed VIP Reference (, provides information about human rights and pro-democracy movements inside China.

Saudi Arabia

The Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA, at has also managed to find its way onto the Saudi banned website list. MIRA's aim is to seek major reforms in Saudi Arabia, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Saudi Arabia has a long history of oppressing women and foreigners and relies on a highly secretive justice system that denies fundamental due-process rights to suspected criminals. Prolonged solitary confinement, coerced confessions, torture, and secret trials are regular features of the Saudi justice system. For more information about the latest human rights violations of Saudi Arabia, visit the Human Rights Watch website ( and read information about Saudi Arabia that its own citizens can't access freely.

Oppression and censorship everywhere else

To learn more about worldwide oppression, visit the website (, shown in Figure 3-1. To learn more about worldwide censorship, visit the Index on Censorship website (

Click To expand Figure 3-1: can show you how different countries around the world, including your own, are currently oppressing their own citizens.

If you're specifically interested in Eastern Europe, visit the Radio Free Europe website ( By promoting free speech in any available form (Internet, newspapers, radio, etc.), Radio Free Europe hopes to create a well-informed citizenry that will act as a foundation for democracy in countries still struggling to shake off the destructive effects of communist rule.

For more information about censorship around the world, visit the following websites:

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Global Internet Liberty Campaign

Internet Free Expression Alliance

Reporters Without Borders