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Herdict: Real-Time Internet Censorship Monitoring

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The recent blockage of YouTube in China brought a hitherto little-known site to prominence.

That site, Herdict, is brainchild of Jonathan Zittrain, author and Internet academic extraordinaire, who wanted to unleash Web 2.0 tools for tracking online censorship.

A collaborative approach to reporting of Internet blocks can be particularly useful in countries like China, where Internet blocks appear to hopscotch through cities inconsistently.

The recent ban on YouTube in China, for example, was reported as being lifted in some cities, but not in others.

Until now, people have relied on email, blog and twitter reports, but Zittrain's aim is to centralize reporting for global real-time Internet censorship alerts.

A side note: Jonathan recently Twittered that he was considering the name Blockipedia for the site, which I much prefer. Let him know what you think: twitter.com/Zittrain