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In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet".

In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet".

The companies sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information. lawsuit filed in May 2011, Cisco Systems is accused of helping the Chinese Government build a firewall, known widely as the Golden Shield, to censor the Internet and keep tabs on dissidents. Cisco is also accused of aiding the Chinese government in monitoring and apprehending members of the banned Falun Gong group.

This in turn requires the use of technical censorship methods that are unique to the Internet, such as site blocking and content filtering.

Blocking and filtering can be based on relatively static blacklists or be determined more dynamically based on a real-time examination of the information being exchanged.

Vendors often consider information about what sites and content is blocked valuable intellectual property that is not made available outside the company, sometimes not even to the organizations purchasing the filters.

Thus by relying upon out-of-the-box filtering systems, the detailed task of deciding what is or is not acceptable speech may be outsourced to the commercial vendors.

The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis.

While most democratic countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens.

The blocking of Daily Motion in early 2007 by Tunisian authorities was, according to the Open Net Initiative, due to Secure Computing wrongly categorizing Daily Motion as pornography for its Smart Filter filtering software.

It was initially thought that Tunisia had blocked Daily Motion due to satirical videos about human rights violations in Tunisia, but after Secure Computing corrected the mistake access to Daily Motion was gradually restored in Tunisia.

Blacklists may be produced manually or automatically and are often not available to non-customers of the blocking software.

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