Jul 19, 2019

Kazakhstan's internet censorship move

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The government of Kazakhstan has started intercepting all of the secure HTTPS traffic within its borders.

Why it matters: The move is yet another example of the Balkanization of the once-global internet, as different countries seek to monitor or restrict what citizens can see. Authorities in China, Russia and other parts of Asia and Africa have all considered or imposed restrictions on their citizens' internet access.

"As [the] world accepts Chinese and Russian interpretation of Internet sovereignty and borders, this will more and more be the norm."
— James Mulvenon, a general manager at defense contractor SOS International and co-author of "Chinese Industrial Espionage," said via Twitter

How it works: Internet service providers in the country are being required to install a special government-issued certificate on customers' devices and web browsers, allowing authorities to decrypt and read secure web traffic, per ZDNet.

  • Beginning Wednesday, those in Kazakhstan trying to access the internet were interrupted with instructions on how to download the required certificate. The country tried, but backed off from, a similar move in both 2015 and 2016.

Go deeper: A world and web divided

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Faster internet is coming, but only for a few

Data: FCC; Note: Non-mobile broadband speeds are 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload, Mobile LTE are 10 Mbps/3 Mbps; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Broadband technologies are getting better and faster — but access to them is still concentrated in metro areas and suburbs, leaving vast swaths of the country with marginal service or nothing at all.

Why it matters: Benefits of the broadband advances are mostly going to consumers who already have plenty of options for robust internet connections. Despite efforts to narrow the digital divide, rural areas, small towns and low-income neighborhoods in big cities still struggle to have access to reliable and affordable broadband service.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019

Blacklisting foreign businesses in China

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's push to implement a national social credit system attracts rapt attention around the world, though it is in its earliest stages — not yet influencing the daily lives of most Chinese citizens and largely opaque to outsiders.

Why it matters: It's already affecting foreign businesses, which have been placed on blacklists or threatened with restrictions on market access.

Go deeperArrowAug 3, 2019

Comcast expands low-income internet program

A Comcast vehicle. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Comcast announced today its largest-ever eligibility expansion for Internet Essentials, the cable giant's program that subsidizes basic broadband service and low-cost computers to help increase adoption for low-income households in the cities Comcast serves.

Why it matters: Households living in cities with the highest poverty rates are up to 10 times more likely than those in higher earning communities to not have access to wireline broadband internet service at home.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019