The Internet (TFC)— As a writer and video producer, I must point out one absurdity of YouTube’s recent demonetization crackdown. To make the point, I’ll use a video of mine that’s been affected as an example. By the end, I hope…
India (GV) – Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have blocked 22 social media applications including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. An official state circular issued on Wednesday, April 26 and obtained by Global Voices said the social media services were “being misused by anti-national and anti-social…
A former Kuwaiti lawmaker is facing at least 42 years and six months in prison on various convictions that include posting on Twitter comments deemed by the authorities insulting to the neighboring countries of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
On 22 December, a court of appeal convicted Abdulhameed Dashti in absentia of insulting Saudi Arabia and sentenced him to ten years in prison, bringing his total jail term to 42.5 years. Dashti, who is currently in the UK for medical reasons, was stripped of his parliament seat to allow Kuwaiti authorities to prosecute him. Dashti also was convicted of prior charges of insulting religion, Kuwait’s Emir (the country’s ruler), and the judiciary.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agreed to create a shared database of extremist materials to curb the spread of terrorist content online, a joint press release said.
According to the statement, the partnership implies that participating companies would be able to determine independently what image or video hashes to contribute to the database. It has also stressed that no personal information would be shared and matching content would not be automatically removed.
The Iranian government is reportedly taking steps to expand regulations on large public news channels on the instant messenger Telegram. The move would apparently affect groups with more than 5,000 subscribers.
It remains unclear, however, if state officials seek dramatic changes to controls on these online communities (ostensibly in the battle against “fake news”), or if the government merely plans to extend and continue existing Internet controls.
Accused Authorities of Online Surveillance
Bahraini authorities have charged a prominent human rights lawyer with offenses that violate his right to free expression.
Mohamed al-Tajer, who has defended opposition figures and rights activists, told Human Rights Watch that a public prosecutor brought three charges against him on November 10, 2016: insulting government institutions, inciting hatred of a religious sect, and misusing a telecommunications appliance. In a private WhatsApp voice message that public prosecutors cited in support of the charges, al-Tajer says, “It’s clear that there’s a team in the public prosecution and Cybercrimes division whose only job is to sit at computers and intercept every word about Sunnis, Saudi Arabia, hatred of the regime, or insults against the king.”
“Bahraini authorities have targeted journalists, activists, clerics, and politicians for peaceful dissent in the last few months, so it was only a matter of time before they came for the lawyers,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Al-Tajer is facing charges because he stated the obvious: Bahraini authorities are snooping on their citizens and anyone who steps out of line online faces jail time.”