Paul Mozur at the New York Times has it right in a tweet:
And Beijing is most likely looking at doing both.
Social stability is a major concern of the government leadership. The economic slowdown is now causing massive layoffs with more to come. Industrial workers and the growing middle class in China are now under threat of loosing the economic stability promised by the government.
For so long the Chinese government has basically told the people of China that if they — the people — don’t push for political reform, the government will implement economic reform that will make everyone’s lives better. Now that businesses in China have to start cutting back on employees, that protection is gone and the leadership is afraid the people may demand changes that will challenge the iron heel rule of the Communist Party.
Rather than deal with the issue of economic AND political reform, Beijing is just going all out to make sure information about how bad the economic situation is does not get wide distribution.
Controlling Internet content has always been a part of that plan. So now, the new rules on domain names looks to be another step by the party leadership to control information.
We all know the Internet is Cuba is virtually non-existent. (Unless you go to one of the places set up by the US Interest Section or an international hotel.) Well, it does exist but it is so slow you will die of old age before you can download one episode of Game of Thrones.
Face it, governments such as those in Cuba do not like the free and unfettered nature of the Internet. The leaders of Cuba, China, Iran, etc are all afraid of what will happen to their nice cushy jobs if the people found out what is really going on in the world.
No matter how hard governments try to restrict their people from getting information, there are gaps in the security nets. The Chinese have learned how to use their mobile phones and virtual networks to get past the Great Firewall of China. Iranians used Twitter and SMS to communicate during the uprisings that called for free and fair elections.
And now a new twist has shown up in Cuba – thumb drives.
The Only Internet Most Cubans Know Fits in a Pocket and Moves by Bus
It’s called El Packete, and it arrives weekly in the form of thumb drives loaded with enormous digital files. Those drives make their way across the island from hand to hand, by bus, and by 1957 Chevy, their contents copied and the drive handed on.
People want entertainment and they want uncensored news. And they will get it any way possible.
Even by 1957 Chevy.
And yes, there are a few people who know how to get messages out: Yaoni Sanchez (@yoanisanchez) is probably the most famous of the Cuban bloggers — at least to the rest of the world.
Here is the movie OFFLINE mentioned in the article. It is Cubans talking about the Internet (or lack of it). The movie was smuggled out in a thumb drive.
TechCrunch reports the Pakistan government is blocking WordPress sites.
According to multiple local outlets, WordPress blogs are currently not accessible in Pakistan and pointing the blockage at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). TechCrunch has not been able to confirm that yet. As it stands right now, WordPress.com and blogs hosted by WordPress cannot be reached. Self-hosted WordPress blogs still work.
it is not surprising that Pakistan would block these sites. The government has a track record of blocking Twitter, Facebook and other Internest social sites.