The level of Internet censorship and surveillance in a country is classified in one of the four categories: pervasive, substantial, selective, and little or no censorship or surveillance.The classifications are based on the classifications and ratings from the Freedom on the Net reports by Freedom House supplemented with information from the Open Net Initiative (ONI), Reporters Without Borders (RWB), and the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the U. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.Through 2010 the Open Net Initiative had documented Internet filtering by governments in over forty countries worldwide.
In 2006, Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF), a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, started publishing a list of "Enemies of the Internet".
Freedom House has produced five editions of its report Freedom on the Net.
The first in 2009 surveyed 15 countries, The reports are based on surveys that ask a set of questions designed to measure each country’s level of Internet and digital media freedom, as well as the access and openness of other digital means of transmitting information, particularly mobile phones and text messaging services.
The Internet in Belarus, as a space used for circulating information and mobilizing protests, has been hard hit as the authorities increased the list of blocked websites and partially blocked the Internet during protests.
As a way to limit coverage of demonstrations some Internet users and bloggers have been arrested and others have been invited to “preventive conversations” with the police. 317-3, which took effect on 6 January 2012, reinforced Internet surveillance and control measures.
The reports cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.