Please note this list is not inclusive and is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, but we've done our best to compile information about the services and websites blocked in specific countries.
Some blocks are not made by the country itself, but may be a result of a block by the ISP itself. For example many ISPs in North America actively block VOIP and Skype as a way to prevent competition.
If a site such as BBC or service like Skype is blocked from the country you're in, you will know it since the service will be inaccessible of course.
Our VPN account service is able to bypass all of these restrictions and also makes it impossible for the country and ISP to see any of your communications as they would all be encrypted directly to our secure VPN server.
Another growing trend is that many video and voice based services including MSN/Yahoo talk are being blocked in addition to Skype.
Bahrain: In major cities like Manama, Riffa, Muharraq, and others, internet censorship is prevalent. Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), Zain Bahrain, and sTC (formerly VIVA Bahrain) are among the main ISPs. They have blocked websites and content that are considered a threat to national security, or contradict local moral values.
Belize: Belize City, San Ignacio, Orange Walk, and other regions face similar restrictions. Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), Speednet, and Southern Cable are some known ISPs. VoIP services and Skype have reportedly been blocked to protect the traditional voice and text services market.
Brazil: Cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and others may experience VoIP service blockages by the major ISP, Telebras. However, Brazil generally has strong net neutrality rules, which could mitigate such issues.
Caribbean Countries: Countries like Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas, and others where Cable & Wireless/Liberty Latin America operates reportedly block all VoIP/Skype services, likely to protect local telecoms from international competition.
China: In major provinces and cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen, etc., The Great Firewall of China enforces widespread internet censorship. State-owned China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile are the main ISPs. Foreign websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many news outlets, are blocked. VoIP services like Skype are also heavily restricted.
Egypt: In Egypt, major cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, and Port Said have experienced widespread blocking of VoIP services like Skype and certain websites, particularly those perceived as a threat to national security or offensive to Islam. Major ISPs include Telecom Egypt, Vodafone Egypt, and Orange Egypt.
Iran: Iran, with populous cities like Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Karaj, practices stringent internet censorship. Iran Telecommunication Company is the primary ISP. They block access to a wide array of foreign news sites, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and any content viewed as hostile to the Islamic regime.
Jordan: The primary cities in Jordan are Amman, Zarqa, and Irbid, where the blocking of VoIP, Skype services, and many websites is reported. The key ISPs include Orange, Zain Jordan, and Umniah. The blocked content is often those without a local license or considered a threat to domestic security, national unity, or public morals.
Kuwait: Kuwait, including cities such as Kuwait City, Al Ahmadi, and Hawalli, experiences blocking of VoIP and Skype services as well as many websites. The main ISPs are Zain Kuwait, Ooredoo Kuwait, and VIVA. The blocked content usually involves politically sensitive material or content seen as violating moral or religious norms.
Libya: In major cities like Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, and others, Libya has been known to block certain web content. Key internet providers include Libya Telecom and Technology, and Libyana Mobile Phone. The blocked content often encompasses political criticism, independent news outlets, and content viewed as offensive to local customs and religion.
Malaysia: In the major Malaysian cities like Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Johor Bahru, and others, certain web content and services are reportedly blocked. ISPs like Telekom Malaysia, Maxis, and Celcom are the key providers. Historically, censorship efforts have focused on websites with explicit adult content, fake news, and those violating copyright laws.
Mexico: In Mexico, the capital Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and other cities have ISPs that have blocked VoIP-related services. Major providers include Telmex, Megacable, and Axtel. The blockage, while not countrywide, is significant in impacting user access to VoIP services.
Morocco: In major cities like Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and Marrakesh, certain web content is reportedly blocked, including VOIP, Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber. The main ISPs are Maroc Telecom, Orange Morocco, and Inwi. These restrictions have faced backlash from the populace and human rights organizations.
Myanmar: In Myanmar, cities like Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyidaw, and others have experienced wide-ranging content blockages. The primary ISPs include Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), Telenor Myanmar, and Ooredoo Myanmar. Political unrest has led to significant periods of internet blackouts, and services like Facebook and Twitter have been blocked at times to curb protests and dissent.
North Korea/South Korea: In North Korea, cities like Pyongyang, Hamhung, and Chongjin experience the most restrictive internet policies globally, with access to the global internet virtually non-existent for most citizens. The state-owned ISP, Star Joint Venture, oversees the country's intranet, Kwangmyong, which provides state-approved content. In South Korea, including Seoul, Busan, Incheon, and others, the internet is generally free but VOIP/Skype services are reportedly blocked. The major ISPs are KT Corporation, SK Broadband, and LG Uplus.
Oman: Major cities in Oman, such as Muscat, Seeb, Salalah, and others, have experienced blocking of all VOIP/Skype services and several websites. The primary ISPs are Omantel and Ooredoo Oman. The blocked content often pertains to political criticism, VoIP services, and content deemed offensive to local customs and religion.
Pakistan: In cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and others, Pakistan is known for its content and service restrictions. ISPs such as PTCL, Nayatel, and StormFiber operate here. Blocked content includes specific social media pages, websites of secessionist movements, specific VOIP & Skype services, and content deemed blasphemous or offensive to Islam.
Paraguay: In Paraguay, cities such as Asunción, Ciudad del Este, San Lorenzo, and others have experienced blocking of all VoIP and Skype services. The key ISPs include Tigo, Personal, and Claro. While the reasons for these blocks may vary, the protection of traditional telecom revenue is a common factor.
Qatar: In Qatar, including Doha, Al Rayyan, Umm Salal, and others, there have been reports of all VoIP/Skype services being blocked alongside certain web content. The primary ISPs are Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar. The blocked content includes VoIP services, political criticism, and content viewed as offensive to local customs and religion.
Saudi Arabia: In Saudi Arabia, cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina have experienced extensive content blocking. Major ISPs are Saudi Telecom Company, Mobily, and Zain SA. They block access to a broad range of content, including human rights issues, foreign news outlets, minority rights, and content perceived as blasphemous or harmful to the public order.
Syria: In Syria, including Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and others, internet censorship is widespread. The primary ISP is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment. The blocked content often involves political opposition, independent news outlets, and content seen as offensive to local customs and religion.
Thailand: Major cities in Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket, have seen instances of specific web content being blocked. The key ISPs are AIS, True Internet, and TOT. These ISPs are reported to block certain websites that violate lese majeste laws, which prohibit criticism of the monarchy, as well as content considered a threat to national security or public morals.
Tunisia: In Tunis, Sfax, Sousse, and other major Tunisian cities, there have been instances of specific content being blocked. The main ISPs are Tunisie Telecom, Ooredoo, and Orange Tunisie. Historically, Tunisia had strict internet censorship policies, but following the 2011 revolution, the country has seen a significant improvement in internet freedom, although some websites and content deemed harmful to public order or morals are still blocked.
Turkey: In major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Bursa, Turkey is known to block specific web sites and services. The primary ISPs are Türk Telekom, Vodafone Net, and Superonline. Over the years, Turkey has temporarily blocked social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube during politically sensitive periods, in addition to ongoing blocking of websites considered to harbor terrorist content or criticism against the government.
United Arab Emirates (UAE, Dubai, Abu Dhabi): Both of UAE's main ISPs, Etisalat and Du, are known to block all forms of VoIP and many websites. Major cities affected include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain. Content and services often blocked include VoIP services like Skype, politically sensitive material, and content deemed to violate the principles of Islam or public morals.
Vietnam: In Vietnam, the government is known to have blocks on many services, websites, and web content in major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang. ISPs include Viettel, VNPT, and FPT Telecom. The blocked content often includes websites critical of the government, politically sensitive content, human rights discussions, and content considered harmful to national security.
Yemen: Yemen, with major cities like Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, and others, is known to block a lot of content. The primary ISPs are YemenNet and TeleYemen. Internet censorship in Yemen is usually associated with political and social unrest, with numerous reports of social media platforms and news sites being blocked.
United States: While known for its robust freedom of expression rights, the U.S. has faced criticism for its surveillance practices, particularly after the revelations by Edward Snowden about the NSA's PRISM program. This program collects internet communications from various U.S. internet companies. While the U.S. doesn't typically block content, its surveillance practices have sparked concerns about privacy.
Canada: Much like the U.S., Canada has strong freedom of expression rights. However, it has also been revealed to engage in internet surveillance. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) has reportedly collected metadata on many communications, including those of Canadian citizens.
Australia has implemented mandatory data retention laws, requiring ISPs to keep metadata for two years. This includes information like the source and destination of a communication, the date, duration, and the type of communication.
In terms of blocking, Australia has a mechanism in place to block certain websites related to illegal content, such as child exploitation material, through its eSafety Commissioner.
Europe as a whole values internet freedom, but this varies by country. Countries like Sweden, Estonia, and the Netherlands are praised for their internet freedom. However, some European countries have surveillance practices or have engaged in content blocking:
United Kingdom: The UK's Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the "Snooper's Charter," allows for bulk data collection and requires ISPs to keep a record of websites visited by all users for up to a year. The UK also has a blocking system in place for websites related to copyright infringement.
France: In the aftermath of terrorist attacks, France passed laws increasing surveillance powers. ISPs are required to install "black boxes" that analyze metadata to detect terrorist threats.
Germany: While Germany has strong privacy laws, it has been criticized for its NetzDG law, which requires social media platforms to remove "obviously illegal" content within 24 hours, raising concerns about potential over-censorship.
Role of VPNs:
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps protect internet privacy by encrypting your internet connection and masking your IP address, making your online activities much harder to track. This can help mitigate some surveillance practices by making your data unreadable to anyone who might intercept it.
Furthermore, by masking your IP address, a VPN can make it appear as though you're accessing the internet from a different location. This can help bypass geographical content restrictions, effectively unblocking websites.
However, it's essential to understand that while a VPN enhances privacy and can bypass content blocks, it doesn't make you entirely anonymous or immune from all forms of surveillance, and it's crucial to use a trusted VPN provider. Also, while VPNs are legal in many countries, some countries have restrictions on their use, so it's essential to understand the local laws and regulations.
Bahrain is said to block some websites
It is being reported that the main telco is responsible for these blocks. It is not clear if any other services or web sites are blocked in Belize.
We've found reports that VOIP services are widely blocked by the main ISP in Brazil. It is unclear if other sites and services are being blocked.
In most Caribbean countries where Cable & Wireless operates it is being reported that all VOIP/Skype services are being blocked. We have not heard reports about whether other content is being blocked or if any other provider has placed any blocks on services.
China is known to block VOIP, Skype (some report it is usable on your computer but via phone), and many websites such as YouTube, Facebook etc.. are blocked
Egypt is known to have blocks on many websites.
Iran is said to heavily filter a large number of websites
Jordan is known to have blocks on many websites.
Kuwait is reported to block all VOIP/Skype Services & many web sites/web content.
Libya blocks some websites.
Malaysia is widely known to block specific websites and content.
Various ISPs in Mexico are said to be blocking VOIP related services. It is unclear if any other services or content are being blocked.
Morocco is known to block some web content including VOIP, Skype, Whatsapp, Viber.
Myanmar is known to block lots of content.
The North is said to have more restrictive policies towards content. In South Korea it is said that only VOIP/Skype services are blocked.
Oman is blocking all VOIP/Skype services and many web sites.
Pakistan is known to have a lot of content and service restrictions including VOIP & Skype.
Paraguay blocks all VOIP and Skype services
Qatar is reported to block all VOIP/Skype Services & many web sites/web content.
Saudi Arabia is known to block lots of content.
Syria is known to have blocks on many websites.
Thailand is known to block different content from the web.
Tunisia is known to block lots of content.
Turkey is known to block specific web sites and services.
Both ISPs DU & Etisalat are known to block all forms of VOIP and many websites.
Vietnam is known to have blocks on many services websites and web/content.
Yemen is known to block lots of content.
Portions of our information were taken from the OpenNet intiative report and also reports from our customers.
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