Tag: censorship

Bahrain Using Canadian Software to Stifle Dissent: Report

Researchers have identified a Canadian company at the center of a small Arab nation’s online censorship system – a finding that sits awkwardly with Ottawa officials’ public support for digital freedoms.

Specialists from internet watchdog Citizen Lab said in a report published Wednesday that web filtering firm Netsweeper Inc. is helping block news and opposition websites in Bahrain, a Persian Gulf Arab monarchy which has been wracked by unrest since pro-democracy protests were stifled there in 2011.

Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert said the discovery undermines Canadian leaders’ forceful condemnations of online censorship.

Before Celebrating Gawker’s Demise, Consider This

Forget for a moment the question about whether celebrity sex tapes are “newsworthy.” The real question is whether we want juries determining what is, and what is not “newsworthy.”

In March, a Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan a plum $140 million in his suit against Gawker.com (Bollea v Gawker). Hogan argued that Gawker’s publication of a sex tape was an invasion of privacy, having no “news” value.

If one verdict can put a media company out of business, this seems very much like a form of arbitrary regulation of the press.As I write, Gawker Media appears to be in financial tailspin. In May, Gawker was denied its motion for a new trial or reduction in damages. Gawker was ultimately forced to declare bankruptcy, and its sale to Univision was quickly approved. Then, on August 18, it was announced that Gawker.com would cease operations.

BitTorrent, Buccaneers, and the Fruitless War on Internet File Sharing

Looking back on almost 25 years of cyberspace censorship, frequent imprisonment of internet “masterminds”, threats, feeble regulatory actions, numerous laws passed, thousands of lawsuits filed, and more instances of bills eagerly awaiting autographs than President Clinton at a saxophone convention.. has all this interference made any real impact on stopping or even slowing the “epidemic” that is online piracy?

Illegal distribution of media was a relatively minor concern in the days of dial-up speeds and limited digital content. Though, when media eventually converted to digital formats and internet users’ bandwidth increased exponentially, so too did the act of file sharing.

Justice as Usual, or Attack on Free Speech? Debunking Singapore’s Contempt-of-Court Bill

Have you ever tweeted about a court case while it was still in progress? Or written a story arguing for a person’s innocence while they were still on trial?

Under a new bill in Singapore, these activities could get you in trouble with the law.

The Singapore Parliament is now deliberating the proposed Administration of Justice (Protection) bill which aims to clarify the meaning of “contempt of court”. The bill defines this as an umbrella term, covering prejudicing court matters, disobeying court orders, and scandalizing the courts. It also provides penalties appropriate for these actions.

Turkey: Media Shut Down, Journalists Detained

State of Emergency Crackdown Accelerates

The Turkish government’s news media shutdown shows how the State of Emergency law is being used to deny the right to free speech beyond any legitimate aim of upholding public order today. The government ordered 131 newspapers, news agencies, publishers, television, and radio stations to close down.

The decree (no. 668) ordering the closures, published in the Official Gazette on July 27, 2016, comes after prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 89 journalists, media workers, and executives over two days. The closures and detentions demonstrate an accelerated campaign against media the government identifies as supportive of the Fethullah Gülen movement, which it blames for the violent coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

In Asia, freedom of speech is critical in the fight for human rights

Protecting freedom of speech, assembly and association in Asia is the lynchpin to protecting all human rights. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on closing space for civil society.

Reflecting on the human rights situation in Asia has become a dismal exercise. While it is difficult to give exact numbers—since many cases go unreported—based on our meetings and interviews with human rights workers on the ground, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings seem to be on the rise. In addition, modern day slavery, inhumane treatment of refugees and the return of authoritarian and repressive regimes are common across the region. In that context, being allowed to say what you please and having the right to come together with others might not seem to be crucial priorities. But without freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, activists will never win the struggle for human rights.

EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

Future of Technology and How It’s Used Is At Stake

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment.

EFF’s lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.

Turkey Adds Wikileaks to a Long List of Blocked Websites

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t mind sharing pictures from his daughter’s wedding or from his various visits and meetings with international leaders.

But he does seem to mind when his emails as well as thousands of other internal emails sent and received within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) make it into public eye.

Shortly after Wikileaks released 294,548 such emails into the public, the site was blocked countrywide.

Swastikas and Porn or: How Russian Cops Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet Crackdown

When the news website MediaZona reported in January 2016 that Russian police pad their solved-crime statistics by targeting young men who share pornography on social networks, it seemed like the quintessence of how Russia’s onerous new Internet regulations misallocate the country’s law-enforcement resources. But now this problem has a new perfect example, and it has to do with the Web’s other favorite obsession: Nazis.

Last month, a court in the Rostov region convicted a police officer of abusing his authority and forging evidence. According to his trial, Detective D. Eliseev reached out to a local man named A. Minaev on January 16, 2015, asking him to find someone in town who would agree to publish a swastika on their Vkontakte page, on the promise that the punishment would be the absolute minimum fine. (It’s unclear what monetary reward Eliseev offered in exchange.) Minaev had some experience in this sort of thing, having been fined twice the year before for sharing “extremist content” online, including images of swastikas.

Ethiopia Locks Down Digital Communications in Wake of #OromoProtests

When students in Ginchi, a small town 75 km west of Addis Ababa, organized a demonstration in November 2015, US-based opposition media activist Jawar Mohammed, began posting minute-to-minute ‘live’ updates of the protest on his massively popular Facebook page, which has over 500k followers.

What started as a small-scale student protest over Ethiopian government’s plan to expand Addis Ababa into adjacent farm lands of Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest constitutionally autonomous state, evolved into a series of largest and bloodiest demonstrations against Ethiopian government in a decade leaving at least 400 people killed, many more injured, and thousands jailed.

Chinese Censors Are Making Sure Social Media Only Shows Positive Flooding News

Social media has played a key role in the aftermath of disasters that have struck China. Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, China’s Twitter-like Weibo was used for coordinating disaster relief work. And after last year’s Tianjian explosion, as local media pushed superficial coverage or ignored the event altogether, Web users published and spread first-hand photos and updates.

Social media is a place for victims of a tragedy to express their sorrow and seek each other out for support. It’s also a place for citizens to publish their own observations and reporting — even if China’s strict censors end up deleting them.

That’s what’s happening at the moment with news related to widespread flooding, affecting 26 provinces. So far, around 1.5 million people are displaced and 180 have been killed. The Chinese Communist Party believes that disaster news should be positive and in alignment with their ideology, thus the lack of critical or hard-hitting information.

China Bans News Sourcing From Social Media

China’s Cyberspace Administration, the top level Internet regulator, has banned news outlets from citing social media messages as sources. The new policy is part of an ongoing crackdown on “fake” news and rumors.

All media outlets received an official notice of the ban in early July, according to press release posted on the Administration’s website late on the evening of July 3. The press release, which quoted several cases of “fabricated news” circulated online, said authorities had penalized one dozen online news outlets including Sina, Caijing, Tencent, and NetEase and forced them to delete a number of columnists’ accounts due to their use of social media sources.

#ShutDownZim: Will Social Media Protests Drive Zimbabwe to Build a ‘Great Firewall’?

Zimbabwe’s nationwide “shutdown” last week — a boycott of work, shopping and public institutions — was one of the biggest and most successful in recent years. It left streets, shops, banks and malls deserted in the capital city of Harare.

Protesters are demanding government accountability in the face of unpaid wages, corruption and lack of jobs as Zimbabwe’s economy sits on the brink of collapse. The country has been in a currency crisis since 2009 and unemployment is estimated at 80 or 90 percent. Recent cash shortages have forced citizens to queue for days to withdraw money from the banks. Civil servants in Zimbabwe have not been paid since June this year, but members of the security forces are always paid on time with the government living in fear of violent political overthrow.

Meet the people responsible for the next attack on police officers

All over the country, departments are on high alert. They know the next attack on police officers is right around the corner. They’ve changed security procedures, they’ve advised their loved ones of the risk, and they’re on the lookout for any information or tips about who will be behind the next attack on cops. In the interest of public safety, The Fifth Column is publishing the names of some of those who will be responsible for the next attack.

These are the names of those who are creating violent attitudes in the populace and whose actions are likely to lead to the next attack, even though they won’t pull the trigger, drop the brick, or plant the bomb themselves. Their names are:

You Should Stop Buying Apple Products, Here’s Why:

If you’re an avid user of Apple products then there’s a good chance you’ve probably broken at least one in your life. What you may have fail to realize is that broken iPhone represented a golden opportunity; an upcoming decision and a metaphorical fork in the road between Apple and Android. I’m going to explain why the Android route is the ideal direction in which to travel.

2006 was the year I owned my first and last Apple product and I hated it, especially the difficulties I encountered trying to figure out how to add music to it without destroying my friend’s library or my own. It was an original 4th Generation iPod and given to me as a hand-me-down. In spite of the inconvenience that its old style proprietary cable poses, I used it for a short while until it was replaced by the music player in my Android phone. I still have that 32Gb iPod, I’ve just stripped it of everything that makes it Apple. Now I occasionally use it for external storage. This year marks a decade of my distaste for the Apple company and it’s products, so let’s celebrate. I’m going to explain why I’ve never purchased an Apple product, nor will I ever own one again… and neither should you. Here’s why: