Group: Net Censorship Becoming a Problem

Amnesty International issued a warning Wednesday saying Internet freedoms were slowly being curtailed, likening the problem to a 'virus' spreading throughout the world.

Whereas only a handful of countries were initially censoring speech on the Internet, recently those numbers have begun to grow. Additionally, Internet companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google are being blamed for not taking an active role in preventing censorship.

The companies' responses have repeatedly cited a preference to abide by local laws when approached about the matter. However, and most notably in the case of Yahoo, information provided has resulted in the jailing of several activists.

"Unless we act on this issue, the Internet could change beyond all recognition in the years to come," campaign director Tim Hancock told the BBC. According to the group, at least 25 countries now filter content before it reaches its citizens.

Filtering is not the only problem. Like China, closures of Web sites and the imprisonment of those writing content objectionable to government officials is also on the rise, it said.

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