ON-Lion Letter
Many countries' restrictions on the free flow of information over the Internet violate the rights of democracy-promoting activists and agitators and sometimes those wanting to exercise their religion, too.  In November, Google urged Western nations to challenge restrictions in China and other countries on the free flow of information over the Internet as a threat to free trade, as well, and to negotiate new deals to protect U.S. commercial interests harmed by the practices. 

While certain circumvention tools allow computer users to bypass Internet filtering to access content otherwise blocked by governments, workplaces, schools, or even the blocked sites themselves, these tools are unfortunately not widely used, according to an October report from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Berkman's 2010 Circumvention Tool Usage Report estimates that no more than three percent of Internet users in countries that engage in substantial filtering use circumvention tools.  The actual number, according to the report's team of authors, is likely considerably less.

"The relatively small usage of circumvention tools, even in filtering countries, suggests either that users do not know that the tools exist, do not know how to find them, or consider that the benefits of using the tools do not outweigh the costs for most users," the report concludes.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Berkman Center's Global Network Initiative.
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