The Internet is a widespread tool reflecting, to some degree, free speech and freedom of the “press.” As such, it is a threat to entities that wish to suppress these freedoms, or make them subservient to other priorities. A recent report on DefenseOne.com outlines the ways in which some countries have been able to put an “on-off” switch in place for Internet free speech, and use it. The trick is having all or most of the traffic going though a small number of (authorized) intermediate nodes where the pug can be pulled. As a result, internet monitoring can be centralized.
Countries like Egypt and China have such bottlenecks. Countries with large numbers of intermediate nodes connected outside the country include Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Surprisingly Russia has a very large number of such connections — explained by the article as a complexity designed to make tracking cyber-crime nearly impossible.
Centralized internet monitoring facilitates control of objectionable incoming content as well as internal detection of content considered by related governments to be illegal.