The newsletter now has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Delicious. We hope that opening a presence on these collaborative websites will make it easier for you to share opinions and stories related to Internet freedom as well as contact us regarding incidents, arrests and developments.
U.C. Berkeley student’s Twitter messages alerted world to his arrest in Egypt
When Egyptian police scooped up UC Berkeley graduate journalism student James Karl Buck, who was photographing a noisy demonstration, and dumped him in a jail cell last week, they didn’t count on Twitter.
Twitter Helps Free Arrested Blogger James Karl Buck
When James Karl Buck and his translator, Mohammed Maree were arrested in Mahalla, Egypt while covering an anti-government protest he whipped out a quick one word blog post that lead to his colleagues finding out, and mobilizing to help him.
OpenNet Initiative Blog- 2007 Year in Review
Much happened in the world of filtering in the past year, and ONI has compiled and is now releasing a review of some of the filtering events that took place in 2007
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) National news report on the research and development of the Citizen Lab, with a focus on the OpenNet Initiative, Psiphon, and Internet censorship in China
Initiative of European Parliament member (MEP) Jules Maaten of the Dutch conservative VVD party to support journalists, cyberdissidents and protect free speech on the internet.
Totalitarian states are learning to control citizens by creating the impression of ubiquitous surveillance.
On World Press Freedom Day 2008, Alexandra Sandels looks at the importance of Internet activists for freedom of expression in the Arab world. Has the real struggle for press freedom gone online?
House Leaders Urge Preservation Of ICANN Role
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman joined 14 other colleagues on Tuesday in sending a letter to Commerce Secretary Gutierrez praising the administration’s continued oversight of the international entity charged with administering the Internet.
The subcommittee members who drafted and signed this statement are badly misinformed – about ICANN, freedom of expression, NTIA oversight, and global Internet governance. These issues are far too important to be left to political posturing, so we attempt here to set the record straight. It is important for U.S. policy makers to let go of the idea that U.S. oversight has anything to do with preserving and protecting freedom of expression on the Internet.
No-go on GOFA
CDT posted an updated memorandum on the most recent version of the Global Online Freedom Act (“GOFA”_).The problem with GOFA is that it treats the Internet sector as adversaries rather than allies in the fight for global Internet freedom.
The Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling in United States v. Arnold allows border patrol agents to search your laptop or other digital device without limitation when you are entering the country. EFF, CDT and many civil liberties, travelers’ rights, immigration advocacy and professional organizations are concerned that unfettered laptop searches endanger trade secrets, attorney-client communications, and other private information. These groups have signed a letter asking Congress to hold hearings to find out what protocol, if any, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) follows in searching digital devices and copying, storing and using travelers’ data. The letter also asks Congress to pass legislation protecting travelers’ laptops and smart phones from unlimited government scrutiny.
Renowned journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani is one of Yemen’s most prominent democracy advocates - for which he has paid a steep price. His paper has been closed, his website blocked, and his children threatened. He is now facing a death penalty charge for “insulting the president” and “demoralizing the military.”
Bloggers united against Wordpress ban at Global Voices Advocacy
Ablanket ban on blogs hosted on Wordpress.com has taken place in brazil after a judicial court passed an order to close down a specific blog
Noted Cuban blogger writes in her latest blog that she has been told that her official government file is full of evidence of committed infractions, a bulky dossier of illegal activities in the past few years.
France considering new rules for web 2.0
A French Parliamentary report suggests a change in the law (LCEN) that implements the European Directive on e-commerce in order to make clearer the distinction between editing and hosting activities in the new applications related to Web 2.0
Internet censorship in Germany
The district government of Dusseldorf County, Northrhine-Westfalia in Germany, is forcing Internet Service Providers to block access to selected foreign Internet sites.
The European Union on Wednesday welcomed a vote by the Turkish Parliament to soften a law restricting free speech. But human rights groups said the law, approved after an all-night debate, should have been scrapped. Turkish legislators approved a government-backed proposal to amend Article 301, which prohibits the denigration of Turkish identity or institutions. The law has been used to prosecute the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and other intellectuals.
Turkish Internet users have been blocked from using the popular Google Groups service
Turkish Internet users have been blocked from using the popular Google Groups service, a site which hosts thousands of forums for discussions, the Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.
The Cat-and-Mouse Game in the Turkish Cyberspace
YouTube was blocked again in Turkey on May 6 following an Ankara court order. YouTube has been banned a number of times in the last two years, usually because of videos offensive to the country hero Kemal Ataturk or to the broadly defined as Turkishness
Belarusian Cyber Attack
An attack of unprecedented scale and intensity is under way against the Internet sites of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Belarus Service and more than half a dozen other RFE/RL language broadcasting sites
Radio Free Europe’s websites in Belarus under attack
Several Radio Free Europe websites were under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in the past week
Russian government enacts Byzantine WiFi regulations
According to Funtanka.ru, users will have to register every WiFi-enabled device with the government
Russian government officials are proposing tough censorship laws for the country’s 29 million Internet users. State newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported that prosecutors have proposed an amendment to bring the Internet under the same rules as traditional media. The ruling would give authorities the power to force ISPs to block sites containing “extremist material”, and to shut down domestic sites that carry such material.
The Russian prosecutor’s office wants tough anti-extremism laws to be extended to the Internet, state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Wednesday, prompting fears of growing media censorship.
The Soviet Union may be in the dustbin of history, but there’s one place the socialist utopia lives on: cyberspace. Sixteen years after the superpower’s collapse, Web sites ending in the Soviet “.su” domain name have been rising — registrations increased 45 percent this year alone. Bloggers, entrepreneurs and die-hard communists are all part of a small but growing online community resisting repeated efforts to extinguish the online Soviet outpost.
This bulletin examines the role of information technology, citizen journalists, and bloggers in Burma and presents a technical analysis of the abrupt shutdown of Internet connectivity by the Burmese government on September 29, 2007, following its violent crackdown on protesters there.
Tokyo-resident publisher of the Cambodian Daily, Bernard Krishner, launched a quarto-sized publication, The Burma Daily, on Friday in Cambodia
China publishes ‘blacklist’ of video Web sharing sites
Chinese authorities ordered 25 video-sharing Web sites to halt operations and issued warnings to dozens of others on Thursday, tightening their grip on online content
The Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China support China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre (CIIRC)
CIIRC receives public reports and complaints through the website net.china.cn about illegal and harmful information on the Internet within the border of China. CIIRC is mainly focused on contents harmful to the healthy growth of minors, such as obscenity and pornography, gambling, violence, terror, criminal abetting, and contents that spread ethnic hatred, libeling and insulting, violating the others’ rights, and violating intellectual property rights
The official website of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India was attacked in April. The hacked website, built eight years ago is the online platform of the exile Tibetan government’s press releases, and official news reports. AFP reported that the website carried ‘a flurry of anti-Chinese statements since March 10, when Beijing ordered a crackdown on riots which erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.’
Over the past two months there has been a significant increase in targeted malware and other attacks against the Tibetan Community and its supporters. Ironcove.net has put together a paper that covers the various attacks and looks into the possibility and extent of Chinese Government involvement in those attacks. It is the recommendation of ironcove.net that human rights groups around the world should start to seriously look at the benefits of running a free and open operating system such as Ubuntu Linux
Just in the time for the Olympics, the Chinese government has proved itself to be a pioneer as well as a top exporter in cutting-edge online censorship methods. And Western firms still give Beijing their active support.
Dozens of media researchers are now studying the architecture of the Great Wall 2.0 with a mixture of horror and fascination. What they’re discovering is how surprisingly dynamic, subtle and state-of-the-art the censors of the 21st century are.
China refuses to guarantee open Internet during Olympics
China is refusing to guarantee that it won’t censor the Internet during this summer’s Olympic Games, but insists that the international media will still be able to function normally
China to investigate Google for illegal maps
China has launched an investigation into online mapping services by Internet giants including Google and Sohu in an effort to protect state secrets and territorial integrity
AMID a national outpouring of grief over Monday’s earthquake, China has relaxed its grip - perhaps only briefly - on the Internet and some media. Chinese witnesses to the devastation in Sichuan province have flooded websites with homemade videos, filled chat rooms with commentary and let text messages fly from their mobile phones. The disaster has provided an opportunity for “citizen journalists” to disseminate tidbits of information at a furious pace rarely seen before.
Several dozen Chinese columnists, scholars, and social workers comment on the devastating Sichuan earthquake. Some praised the Chinese government for swiftly rescuing those struck by the earthquake, and urged it to further embrace freedom of information.
The tragedy of the recent earthquake in central China, which has claimed over 20,000 lives at last count, has just the smallest bit of silver lining. The Chinese government has been uncharacteristically loose with information, and millions of Chinese netizens are, for the first time, almost completely uncensored.
DOZENS of people have been detained all over China in the past few days for spreading dangerous rumors following the Sichuan earthquake - most of them apprehended by the “net police”.
Indonesia lifts its YouTube ban
Under government orders on Tuesday, Indonesian ISPs blocked sites that shared Dutch anti-Islamist Geert Wilders’ 16-minute film Fitna. The ban on these sites has reportedly now been lifted.
With little fanfare from local or foreign media, the Japanese government made major moves this month toward legislating extensive regulation over online communication and information exchange within its national borders. In a series of little-publicized meetings attracting minimal mainstream coverage, two distinct government ministries, that of Internal Affairs and Communications (Somusho) and that of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Monbukagakusho), pushed ahead with regulation in three major areas of online communication: web content, mobile phone access, and file sharing.
Actions against Japanese Internet censorship
The Japanese government is planning to legislate regulations of ‘harmful’ Internet content. Now, Liberal Democratic Party’s Sanae Takaichi is preparing to pass an Internet censorship law
Police raid blogger’s home
Malaysian police raided the home of a top Internet blogger after he posted an article implicating the deputy premier and his wife in the murder of a Mongolian model, reports said on Saturday
Malaysian police raid blogger over murder article
Malaysian police raided the home of a top Internet blogger after he posted an article implicating the deputy premier and his wife in the murder of a Mongolian model
Anyone who questions the influence bloggers can have on political, social and economic sentiments should read this article. Malaysia (where freedom of the internet has been embraced due to the government’s desire to make Malaysia an information technology hub attractive to foreign investors) has begun to back peddle on its commitment to and uncensored blogosphere.
Vigil for jailed blogger Raja Petra this evening
popular blogger and political commentator Raja Petra Kamarudin, 58, was imprisoned on Tuesday after a trial which saw him charged with sedition for having written a blog post.
Islandwide network of citizen journalists on election violence and malpractices in the Eastern Province.
A list of the top 100 Thailand blogs. Most of the blogs are in English, although a couple are French The metric that the list is based on uses a combination of Page Rank, Technorati rank and user votes. The better a blog’s ranks, the higher on the list that blog will appear.
When their press was silent, Thai citizens delivered
Censoring Free Speech in Thailand
Thailand’s military junta’s fifth order following its coup d’etat September 19, 2006 was to appoint an Official Censor of the Military Coup. The overthrown elected government had publicly stated that it intended to block 800,000 websites.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information that two Thai websites (Fah Diew Kan and Prachatai) have been charged under Article 116 (2) of the Criminal Code for publishing discussions of a man’s refusal to stand during the Royal Anthem
As the Olympic torch makes its way through Ho Chi Minh City; Nguyen Van Hai, a prominent citizen reporter there who blogs under the name Dieu Cay, was arrested this past week as he led efforts to organize local bloggers to follow the torch’s passing.
Egyptians are using the online social networking tool Facebook to defy the government’s attempt to muzzle the media and hush recent incidents of police brutality during a strike by workers in a town in the Nile Delta. Indeed, Internet users in Egypt have given the popular Web site Facebook a new role: a platform for political activism, such as promoting anti-government demonstrations
Egyptian Political Dissent Unites Through Facebook
Facebook has evolved into one of the latest tools for political dissent in Egypt, as activists use the social-networking site to organize protests on soaring food prices
website of the leading Egyptian Movement for Change - Kefaya, blocked
According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the website of the leading Egyptian Movement for Change - Kefaya, has been blocked in Egypt since May 4 by the government-owned Internet service provider TE Data, Egypt’s largest ISP
An Egyptian government-owned Internet service provider has blocked the website of a leading opposition movement, a rights group said Monday, in the latest crackdown on the country’s cyber dissidents. “The website for the Egyptian Movement for Change - Kefaya has been blocked in Egypt.
The Egyptian Facebook “Revolution”
Jack Fairweather writes a fascinating post on the role of Facebook in organizing recent protests in Egypt. He notes that the social network has engaged young moderates and liberals in the type of political activity previously reserved for Islamists.
No aspect of Egyptian society better typifies this erratic current than the country’s media, now in the midst of a revolution. Although Mubarak’s authoritarian regime has allowed opposition newspapers and sensitive Egyptian satellite talk shows to proceed with few red lines, it is on the Internet where both bloggers and a flourishing Facebook community make most of the noise. This online community, led by Egypt’s youth, traditionally apathetic towards politics, organized both the April and May strikes.
Since late March, 74,000 people had registered on a Facebook page created and run by Maher and a few other young Egyptians, most of them newcomers to activism. Even some of Egypt’s older, more disillusioned proponents of democracy had let themselves hope that a social networking Web site created by American college students could become an electronic rallying point for protest against President Hosni Mubarak’s 27-year rule.
But the experience of the Facebook activists showed the limits of technology as a means of organizing dissent against a repressive government. Maher would end up among what rights groups said were 500 Egyptians arrested during two months of political activism in Egypt — and find himself stripped and beaten in a Cairo police station, he said.
The Internet is wildly popular in Iran, and blogging has become a vital source of information and analysis due to the systematic rollbacks of press freedoms (such as they were) during the last few years. Censorship and self-censorship takes its toll, as does intimidation and imprisonment of bloggers.
To surf, or not to surf
The discussion on the Internet site filtering bill refuses to simmer down, but it is doubtful that it has any influence on the decision makers. Communications Minister Ariel Atias is not hesitant to use any means to justify the bill he submitted.
Filtering Internet sleaze
A bill obliging Internet service providers to block offensive sites, has elicited strong opposition - particularly from Internet service providers, and to a lesser extent, chiefly on technical grounds, from the Justice Ministry
Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger was released Saturday after serving four months in prison without charge. Fouad al-Farhan, 33, was detained Dec. 10 after authorities warned him about his online support of an activist group. At the time of his arrest, the Interior Ministry said only that his violations were not related to state security.
Farhan had used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy.
Wikipedia Arabic is now blocked by all ISPs in Syria
According to anasonline blog, access to Wikipedia Arabic, the Arabic language version of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is now blocked by all ISPs in Syria
Syrian blogger gets 3 years in jail for undermining states
A human rights group says a 24-year-old Syrian blogger has been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of undermining the prestige of the state and weakening national morale.
United Arab Emirates
UAE telecom Du has blocked all websites deemed to offend the “moral, social and cultural values” of the Gulf Arab state
Dubai’s free zones and residents in Nakheel or Emaar Properties freehold developments will come under the UAE’s proxy server for the first time.
The Open net Initiative reports that Dubai’s ISP, du, which started filtering the Internet on April 14, 2008, targets sexual materials as well as politically oriented content. Examples of political sites blocked include Arabtimes.com and Secret Dubai blog, both of which have content critical of UAE. Other examples of non-pornographic Web sites blocked include the wikipedia article on the controversial movie “Fitna”.
Following the arrest and subsequent release of the UC Berkeley student of journalism who famously “Twittered” the word ARRESTED to his friends and the US Embassy so as to walk out a free man the very next day, surprisingly enough, “Twitter” has now been blocked in Dubai.
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