Press Freedom Group Tests Cuban Internet Surveillance

Think Fidel Castro is going soft in his old age? A recently published report from Reporters Without Borders, "Going Online in Cuba: Internet Under Surveillance," suggests you should think again. In fact, if authors Claire Voeux and Julien Pain with the French journalism organization are correct in their assessment, even the information age hasn't changed much about daily life in this Caribbean nation of 11 million people.

"With less than 2 percent of the population online, Cuba is one of the world's most backward countries as regards Internet usage," reads an excerpt. "The worst off by far in Latin America and with a thirteenth of Costa Rica's usage, it is down there with Uganda or Sri Lanka. This is quite surprising in a country that boasts one of the highest levels of education in the world."

The report is the result of six weeks' worth of on-the-ground research by French journalist "Voeux" -- who continues to work under an alias to protect her activities in Cuba -- and offers a rare glimpse into the nation's heavily controlled Web infrastructure. It outlines a series of tests that the authors conducted to see just how closely authorities are monitoring web activity on the island, and summarizes many of the day-to-day censorship issues that continue to plague the Cuban population.

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