Sunday, June 8, 2008

Internet Freedom Alert 1.10

The Internet Freedom Alert is a publication of Freedom House's Global Internet Program, that covers online developments related to censorship, Internet Governance and freedoms online. Issue 1.10 covers developments from May 31 - June 8, 2008. Links, Events and articles mentioned are summarized weekly from the Internet Freedom Bookmarks site - that can be accessed @

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Censorship: A Threat to the Stability and Security of the DNS?

Censorship practices by governments and other private actors are becoming more increasingly more sophisticated, and their effects are increasingly being felt globally. A case in point, the YouTube incident in Pakistan was a recent example affecting both users and the DNS at a national and global level. Likely other incidents will occur in the near future. As such, some believe censorship should be considered as a threat to the stability and security of the DNS.

Internet users, as well as experts involved at ICANN and the Internet Governance forum comment and share their opinions.

Freedom of Expression

CPJ releases report on journalist murders worldwide

A new briefing on journalist murders was recently released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The report, entitled "Dangerous Assignments" details press freedom struggles around the world, and includes CPJ's new Impunity Index

Internet Governance

Internet Governance Forum - The Dynamic Coalition on the Internet Bill of Rights

An informal, open group of organizations, companies, governments and individuals that feel the need to work together for a better definition of the rights and duties of the individual users of the Internet.


Facebook "a minefield of privacy invasion"

Facebook is the focus of a new complaint in Canada over its privacy policies and practices. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) filed the complaint, asking the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to review what the CIPPIC believes are various violations of Canadian privacy law. There are 22 violations in all, says CIPPIC, making Facebook "a minefield of privacy invasion."

Facebook's policies and practices were analyzed by a "team of law students" over the winter, resulting in their discovery of what they believe to be numerous violations of the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).


Alarming Open-Source Security Holes

Back in May 2006, a few programmers working on an open-source security project made a whopper of a mistake. Last week, the full impact of that mistake was just beginning to dawn on security professionals around the world.

Recover Lost Passwords with Free Tools

ACCESS DENIED. Those two bone-chilling words are the last thing you want to see when you're trying to log into a system or open a file, but they're not necessarily a dead end. Several free tools can help you find lost passwords you can't remember or that your computer has saved but obscured.

Electronic Crime Scene Investigation Handbook

Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders, Second Edition, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, April 2008.

Opinion Articles

No signal: The mobile phone refuseniks

We chat, we text, we roam and we run up huge bills. Most of us couldn't imagine life without them. But there remain a smattering of rebels who refuse to adopt mobile phones. Why do they resist? And how on earth do they manage?

Ofcom report on social networking

Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, has just released its first dedicated report on social networking in the UK.

Country Reports

North America


Digital Advocacy

Michael Geist's excellent presentation at the recent Toronto MESH conference on Digital Advocacy

Federal privacy commissioner launches Facebook probe

The Canadian federal privacy commissioner has launched an investigation into Facebook after University of Ottawa law students complained the site breaches Canadian law by disclosing personal information to advertisers without obtaining proper consent. The students, some who are dedicated Facebook users, allege in a complaint lodged Friday that the popular social networking website has committed 22 violations of the law.

United States

Crossing Borders with Laptops and PDAs

Last month a US court ruled that border agents can search your laptop, or any other electronic device, when you're entering the country. They can take your computer and download its entire contents, or keep it for several days

White House opposition likely dooms The Global Internet Freedom Act (GOFA)

Declan McCulagh from CNET reports of that both the US Department of Justice as well as the State department is opposing the legislation written by Republican Rep. Chris Smith that would slap extensive regulations on technology companies doing business in China and other nations deemed to be unreasonably "Internet-restricting."

Freedom House Urges Vote on Global Online Freedom Act

Freedom House urges the United States House of Representatives to adopt a bill that would help American technology companies resist pressure to cooperate with repressive regimes.

In a letter Tuesday, Freedom House called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA), HR 275, to a vote on the floor of the House. The bill is critical to U.S. efforts to combat internet censorship and to promote freedom of expression worldwide.

CDT crafting internet policy agenda

The Center for Democracy and Technology unveiled a draft document on Thursday that lays out the think tank's Internet and technology policy recommendations for the next administration and Congress


South Africa

South African Men Jailed, Three Months For Possessing Broadcasting Equipment

Three South African men arrested on a Zimbabwean highway and found in possession of "illegal" television equipment bearing logos of Britain's Sky television were jailed for six months .


Rwanda Strives to Become High Technology Hub for Africa

The Rwandan government wants to use advanced information communication technologies, or ICTs, to transform its traditionally agricultural society into what has been dubbed "the Singapore of Africa"


Media in Zimbabwe

A senior Zimbabwean journalist has launched a website for those reporters who write about the country and its newsmakers during these critical times:

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)


An encounter with Yoani Sanchez in Havana

Alex Boyd's interview with noted and award recipient Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez.



German telecom charged with spying on journalists

Last week the German news weekly Der Spiegel revealed that it had obtained documents showing that Deutsche Telekom had hired an independent contractor to "analyze several hundred thousand landline and mobile connection data sets of key German journalists reporting on Telekom and their private contacts." The surveillance programs, which purportedly sought to identify leaks by cross-referencing call records with published articles containing confidential company information, are said to have been code-named "Clipper" and "Rheingold." German prosecutors announced that they have launched an investigation into the charges.


Dutch PVV wants independent blogging censorship

The Dutch PVV (Freedom Party) led by right wing Islamic critic Geert Wilders is proposing that the Dutch Indymedia and the left wing online zine Ravage be banned, as a response to the protests against the recent illegal Amsterdam squat eviction.


Sweden's Draconian wiretap bill

If a bill before parliament becomes law, the country's National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) will monitor all internet traffic that passes in or out of the country.

Asia Pacific


Junta fails to see the funny side of comic's stand for cyclone victims

The Burmese junta has further dismayed its critics by arresting the Burmese dissident comedian Zarganar and halting his rescue works


Cambodian Bloggers / Personal Information Technology Workshop

A group of Cambodian Bloggers who experienced in using the Internet for study and work are trying to share our experiences to other friends by organizing a workshop called : Personal Information Technology Workshop.

The workshop, planned to be held in some 20 universities in Phnom Penh. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce university students the cutting-edge personal information technology such as email, online search engine, social network sites, online documentations, chat and call services, Khmer Open Software and personal web blog. According to the time limit, the first part of the workshop aims to give participants the idea of what they could do on the web to enjoy, make friends and learn mostly for free as they could spend their time at their university computer lab.


China's Emerging Environmental Movement

Quietly and somewhat surprisingly, green groups are cropping up throughout China and are starting to have an impact

Facebook eyes China, but challenges loom

Facebook has indicated that it plans to speed up its move into China dramatically, inviting English-speaking users of the site to help translate the site into Chinese.

Analysts said, however, that the networking site faces enormous challenges gaining a foothold in the lucrative Asian market - in the form of local competitors, a stricter regulatory framework and cultural differences which suggest the Chinese may be less willing to embrace the site.

China's Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges (Paperback)

This book is unique in that it comprises contributions from two Pulitzer Prize winners, eminent experts on topics ranging from Chinese law to Olympic history, and perhaps most importantly, courageous Chinese human rights advocates who have been jailed for their beliefs. One contributor, Bao Tong, is still confined to house arrest in Beijing. The hauntingly beautiful photo essay is a moving tribute to the migrant workers who literally built the Chinese government's Olympic dream, and to the ordinary Chinese citizens who have paid a high price for the realization of this dream. China's Great Leap is essential reading for anyone who wishes to see the Chinese people emerge as the true winners of the Beijing Games.

Chinese bloggers slip censors' net to attack smiling party boss

Angry Chinese internet users have launched an online campaign against an official in the earthquake zone who is accused of grinning too much in the midst of the disaster.

Censors have moved slowly to silence the unusually critical debate on blogs and community bulletin boards about Tan Li, the Communist Party chief of Mianyang, and what many see as his inappropriate smile. Websites show four pictures of Li, apparently beaming, as he escorts President Hu Jintao around his town and conducts other duties. As well as being disrespectful, critics say the local party boss was negligent in his slow response to the disaster.

China's Olympics Guide: Do's And Don'ts For Foreigners

With China expecting an enormous influx of foreigners for the 2008 Olympics, they've helpfully issued an Olympics guide, which is filled with a wide range of do's and don'ts for incoming foreigners


Another Singapore Blogger Arrested - Restrictions Follow Critics to Cyberspace

While Singapore’s restrictions on the media are no surprise to anyone, the ongoing legal action against a foreign blogger who criticised the country’s justice system has raised fears that these tight controls are now being pushed into what has so far been a freer environment -- cyberspace.

On Jun. 2, U.S. blogger Gopalan Nair, who used to be a Singaporean citizen, became the first foreign blogger to be arrested and charged with "threatening, abusing or insulting a public servant" -- a High Court judge. His trial was scheduled to start Friday


Net slowdowns suggest Govt is monitoring traffic

Thailand's Internet is stuttering with a series of unexplained outages and slowdowns that suggest that the government is running a far-reaching programme to monitor its citizens' online activities

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Maghreb Civil Society Portal

A Maghreb Civil Society Portal launched by The Forum des Alternatives Maroc Association in partnership with Oxfam Novib and Alternatives


Blogger Kareem El Beheiry released

Egyptian blogger Kareem El Beheiry has been released yesterday from prison. Kareem was arrested by Egyptian police in connection with the April 6th strike in support of the textile workers in Mahalla City.

Egypt blogger freed after 'weeks of torture'

AFP reports that a blogger released after weeks behind bars over deadly protests at Egypt's biggest textile plant for higher pay and controls on prices, said Monday he and his fellow detainees suffered weeks of "torture".

Egypt's Facebook showdown - The online gathering place for young people poses a challenge to authorities.

Right now, the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is considering blocking Facebook, the social networking website that has become a popular hangout for twentysomethings worldwide and a favorite venue for Egypt's disaffected youth.

Is it time to sign out of Facebook ?

A computer technician who works for an Egyptian ISP and who preferred to remain anonymous confirms that ISPs block websites by blocking the Domain Name Service (which changes human-readable website names into computer-readable IP addresses).

Great Firewall of China Coming Soon

Egyptian bloggers have one hand on their keyboard and another on their hearts. Following a recent crackdown on bloggers and online activists following the April 6 unrest, some are now predicting the worse is yet to come.

Fall ICANN meeting to be held in Cairo, 2-6 Nov 2008

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will hold its 33rd International Public Meeting to be held in Cairo from 2-6 November 2008. The meeting will include a at-large summit, one that aims to bring voices of internet users from around the world to the meeting.


Iran's blogosphere, inside and out

Iran is far from a free and open society, but apparently its control of the Internet is not as pervasive as one might think


Israeli Knesset outlaws unsolicited spam, SMS, auto-callers

Advertisers who send unwanted solicitations by telephone, text messages (SMS), e-mail (spam) or fax may be fined as much as NIS 200,000, according to a bill the Knesset approved Wednesday. The new law takes effect in six months


Jordan Watch

An update and analysis of socio-economic changes in Jordan from a social democratic perspective.

Palestinian Territories

Palestinians pin their hopes on high-tech

The Associated Press has an interesting article today on the fledgling Palestinian high tech industry and how it could one day drive the territories' sluggish economy.


Censorship in Tunisia

Website that documents and campaigns for a internet freedom in Tunisia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi blog censored

A young man in Saudi Arabia reports that the site of Fouad al Farhan, the Saudi blogger jailed last year, is again blocked

Recommended Resources


CircleID is an online community where professionals come to connect, inform and be informed about the latest developments that are shaping the Internet infrastructure.

Postings on CircleID involve all aspects of the Internet's core development including technical, security, legal, policy and regulatory matters. All Postings showcased on CircleID originate from thousands of professionals around the world who are active within these fields.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Hardcover)

Clay Shirky is a leading thinker on social technologies, and this book is his introduction to why social technologies like Wikipedia work. Each chapter has a well-chosen story to illustrate the technologies he's discussing, from the Stolen Sidekick page to Flickr's coverage of Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, and how they are being used, including Egyptian activists using Twitter to keep each other updated of their activities and confrontations with authority, or Belarussian protestors using LiveJournal to organize flash mobs.

Shirky's book is a terrific introduction to social technology, with an overview of both the social and the technological and how they are feeding on each other to form new combinations. Highly recommended to anybody who has any interest in how new tools are giving us more power by multiplying the number of ways in which people can interact with each other.

The International Journalists' Network (IJNet)

The International Journalists' Network (IJNet) is the world’s premier resource for the media assistance community. It is an online service for journalists, media managers, media assistance professionals, journalism trainers and educators, or anyone else with an interest in news media around the world.

IJNet's mission is to connect journalists with the opportunities and information they need to better themselves and raise journalism standards in their countries. Hand-in-hand with that mission, IJNet strives to track media training and other assistance efforts in more than 150 countries, helping donors and organizers avoid duplication and learn about innovative programs around the world. IJNet is published by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, D.C

Observatorio para la CiberSociedad / The Cyberspace observatory

The Cyberspace observatory is a point of encounter, discussion and publication for researchers who are studying the intersection of social aspects of new information and communications technologies (Website is in Spanish)

Upcoming Events

June 13 -14 : Sixth annual China Internet Research Conference - "China and the Internet: Myths and Realities

Location: University of Hong Kong

Conference co-organized and hosted by the Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

June 12 - 13: USAID Democracy and Governance: 2008 Partners Conference

Location: Washington, DC, USA

The confernce will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange innovative approaches to DG programming, while exploring how whole-of-government efforts can best be brought to bear to promote democracy and the effectiveness of partner governments

June 21 - 27 : Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - Public Meeting

Location: Paris, France

June 26-28: IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society:University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada

ISTAS is the annual symposium of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology. The theme this year is Citizens, Groups, Communities and Information and Communication Technologies

June 27-28: Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008

Location: Budapest, Hungary

The event will bring together the members of the Global Voices citizen media project and its wider community with a diverse group of bloggers, activists, technologists, journalists and others persons from around the world, for two days of public discussions and workshops around the theme "Citizen Media & Citizenhood". The Summit will feature several panels on matters relating to censorship and online freedom of speech. It will be devoted to discuss the challenges facing freedom of expression and debate the state of censorship and anti-censorship efforts in the world.

June 28 : Grassroots use of Technology Conference

Location: Boston Area (Lowell, MA)

June 30 - July 1: International Conference on Public Domain in the Digital Age

Location: Leuven-La Neuve, Belgium

The main theme is the Assessment of economic and social impact of digital public domain throughout Europe.

July 21-31 : Summer School on Internet Governance

Location: Meissen, Germany

July 23 - 25: Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS)

Location: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

This symposium will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners in human computer interaction, security, and privacy. The program features technical papers, workshops and tutorials, a poster session, panels and invited talks, and discussion sessions.

July 28-30, 08: Cybercitizens: Risks, Rights, and Responsibilities of Participation in the Information Age.

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand

September 11-13: Oxford e-Research Conference

Location: Oxford University

This multi-disciplinary, international conference on e-Research will be held at the University of Oxford from 11-13 September 2008. It is being organized by a consortium of research projects in association with the journal Information Communication and Society (iCS).

September 26 - 28: The 36th Research Conference on Communication, Information, and Internet Policy

Location: Center for Technology and the Law, George Mason University Law School, Arlington, Virginia

Octobert 9 - 10: 9th Latin American Congress of Communication Researchers - The state of media and society in Latin America

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

October 26 -29 : The Internet: Governance and the Law

Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada

Conference on Internet Policy, regulation and governance, McGill University

Sessions will deal with topics such as Internet Governance beyond the Nation State, Cyber Regulation, Convergence of Telecommunications, PC and Broadcast; Competition; Deregulation; Free Speech vs. Defamation/Hate Speech, Privacy vs. Security; Consumer Protection, Cryptography, Domain Name, Open Source, Patents, Copyright, Trademarks, Cybercrime and Terrorism, E-Commerce, Legal Liability and e-Transactions, Property and Piracy, Telemarketing Fraud et. al.

November 2008: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - Public Meeting

Cairo, Egypt will host the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' 33rd International Public Meeting from 2-7 November 2008.

November 8 - 10: VIII International Human Rights Colloquium

"60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Challenges for the Global South"

Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

The VIII International Human Rights Colloquium is an annual capacity building and peer-learning event designed for young activists from the Global South (Africa, Asia and Latin America). The objective of the VIII International Human Rights Colloquium is to strengthen the impact of human rights activists work and to offer the opportunity to build new collaborative networks among activists, academics and the Organization of the United Nations (UN).

December 2: Third Annual GigaNet Symposium

Location: Hyderabad International Conference Center, India

December 3- 6 : United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Location: Hyderabad, India

February 9 - 13, 2009: Informática 2008 - New Technologies: Development and Sovereignty

Location: Havana, Cuba

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