The incoherent website blocking policy in Cuba

June 2020

  • Internet blocking in Cuba is implemented in an incoherent fashion, signaling lack of procedures and technical expertise
  • Despite supporting the LGBT movement, the Cuban government is blocking a popular LGBT portal
  • Internet blocking of dissidence voices is done in the name of promoting “moral and good manners”

Cuba has become infamous for blocking regime-critical content. But it does not seem to have any protocol on how to implement these blockades: neither the owners nor the visitors of the blocked sites are informed and there is no consistency in the technical implementation of the blocking.

Qurium Media Foundation has focused its research on CubaNet, an alternative news site, and Tremenda Nota, a well-known LGBT-rights portal. Both sites were blocked in February 2019 and its executive director, Hugo Landa, claims not to have been informed of the blocking or their reason behind it, despite having repeatedly asked the Ministry of Communication for an explanation.

To circumvent the blocking, Qurium has created Bifrost mirrors of the sites:

The blocking of CubaNet and Tremenda Nota coincided in time with the publication of a Decree-Law by the Cuban government prohibiting the dissemination on the Internet of “information contrary to the social interest, morals, good customs and the integrity of persons”. An assumption that greatly expands the reasons for the blocks.

Qurium has performed a forensics investigation of the blocking of eight Cuban sites, and can conclude that the technologies used by the government are “incoherent”. For more information, read Qurium’s forensics reportInternet blocking in Cuba – “Silencing dissents in the name of moral and good manners”.

CubaNet article: CubaNet lanza servidor espejo para vencer la censura

Digital forensics: Tord Lundström, Qurium Media Foundation
Media: Clara Zid, Qurium Media Foundation