February, 2013

Stories from February, 2013

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Germany: Twitter's First Local Blocking Case

  28 February 2013

Last October, Twitter announced that it would block the account of a neo-Nazi group in Germany, the activities of which had been banned by the German government. The case represented Twitter's first use of the policy, which typically protects online expression to a broad extent, except in cases where governments intervene.

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Zambia: Chinese Experts to Monitor Internet?

  23 February 2013

The Zambian government has reportedly engaged Chinese experts to install a secret internet monitoring facility in the country. Information technology specialists from both the Office of the President and China are visiting communications service provider facilities to study their network architecture, in order to identify places in the network where authorities could develop interception capabilities, or a "backdoor" for monitoring. Both Zambian and Chinese authorities have declined to comment on reports about their cooperation.

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GVA: Promoting User Rights at the UN

  22 February 2013

Next week, hundreds of Internet technology and policy experts will gather in Paris for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where they will discuss and debate some of the most pressing Internet policy issues of the moment. Global Voices staff will attend the conference in an effort to voice the concerns and interests of rights-conscious Internet users in our community and around the world.

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Pakistan: The “Access Is My Right” Campaign

  22 February 2013

Pakistani Internet rights NGO Bytesforall has started an online campaign about internet filtering and online censorship. Using storytelling, infographics, and more, the "Access Is My Right" campaign aims to raise Internet users' awareness about policies and practices that limit the right to free expression online.

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Insult or Injury? Exploring Online Defamation

  21 February 2013

In many countries, the line between the right to free expression and a person's right to protect his or her reputation is a blurry one. In the Internet age, the issue has become even more complex. The Internet has created infinite new opportunities for individuals to express their own opinions, but this does not come without limits. One way in which online speech is commonly curtailed is through laws against defamation.

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China: Bloggers “Forced to Drink Tea” with Police

  19 February 2013

Tea-drinking culture has a very long tradition in China. However, since around 2007, Chinese netizens have started using the term "tea talk" or "forced to drink tea" (被喝茶) to describe interrogations by the internal security police. Online opinion leaders, people who write about or host online platforms for political dissent, and signatories of online petitions are all frequently "forced to drink tea" with police and asked to give up sensitive information about their political activities. This post includes tips from online opinion leader Wu Gan on how to approach a tea talk with police.

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Egypt: Court Orders YouTube Ban

  13 February 2013

On Saturday, February 9, an administrative court ordered a 30-day ban on YouTube and all websites linking to an anti-Islam film, "The Innocence of Muslims". The movie sparked turmoil in the Middle East when it was first published last year. The ruling may not be enforced immediately and it is likely to be appealed.

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Netizen Report: Human Rights Edition

  8 February 2013

This week's Netizen Report begins in at the OECD, where several European companies are being scrutinized for violating human rights guidelines in Bahrain. From there we move to Pakistan, where activist Malala Yousafzai has made her first public statement via video since becoming the victim of a Taliban assassination attempt. Then, we move to Russia, the US and beyond.

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Imgur.com blocked in Azerbaijan?

  7 February 2013

Popular image-sharing site Imgur.com appears to be blocked in Azerbaijan. There is little evidence that Imgur is popular in Azerbaijan. But a few weeks ago, when hacker group Anonymous released a huge volume of documents leaked from Special State Protection Service of Azerbaijan, a user went through the materials and posted some of the more interesting documents available on Imgur.com. This post details a user's technical investigation of the blocking.

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It's Time for Transparency Reports to Become the New Normal

  6 February 2013

Surveillance is a growth industry: every existing report shows that the number of government requests for user data is rising, and this trend shows no sign of abating. Transparency reports are essential to helping users understand the scope of Internet surveillance and make informed decisions about storing their sensitive data or engaging in private communications. Companies should not wait until their users are clamoring for clarification. It is time for transparency reports to become the new normal.

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Surveillance Camp III: On the Expanding Online Security Market in Latin America

  6 February 2013

Recently, we wrote about how companies throughout the world increasingly face political and legal pressures to assist governments in their surveillance efforts and the many ways in which the private sector is increasingly playing a role in state surveillance. In December 2012, EFF's Surveillance and Human Rights Camp in Brazil built upon this discussion and focused a spotlight on the privatization of public security, states funding surveillance initiatives, and the lack of quantifiable research on security markets in Latin America. Here is what we learned.

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Surveillance Camp II: Privatized State Surveillance

  6 February 2013

This is the second in a series of posts mapping global surveillance challenges discussed at EFF’s Surveillance Camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Several Global Voices Advocacy Members actively participated in the meeting. This post is a summary of what we learned.

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Chinese Hackers Spy on Journalists to Track Sources

  5 February 2013

In January, the New York Times reported that its computers had been under constant attack by Chinese hackers over the past four months. Shortly thereafter, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post also reported that they were targeted by Chinese hackers. The story is familiar to Chinese journalists, who, together with citizen reporters from mainland China, are very vulnerable to hacking and online harassment compared to their peers overseas.

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