March, 2017

Stories from March, 2017

Russian Web Censor Cracks Down Ahead of Next Anti-Corruption Protests

In the wake of the largest opposition protests since 2011-12, Russia's prosecutor general is cracking down on the organizers of demonstrations planned for April 2.

Global Inequality in Your Pocket: How Cheap Smartphones and Lax Policies Leave Us Vulnerable to Hacking

People who are poor, socially marginalized, and less tech-savvy bear the greatest risk of attacks via mobile phones.

Iranians See Arrests and Intimidation of Telegram Administrators and Journalists Ahead of the Elections

Revolutionary Guards have previously attempted to limit Telegram's free flow of information with arrests for immoral or obscene content. This is the first time crackdowns have focused on political affiliation.

China's Great Firewall Gives Rise to a Robust Industry of Information Smugglers

More often than not, information smugglers prioritize things like click rates over hard-hitting public interest journalism.

Young Iranian Faces Execution Over ‘Anti-Islamic’ Social Media Posts

"Sina's grandfather was a martyr of the eight-year war. Sina himself served two years. Sina has more rights to this country than most of these authorities."

Is Jamaica Preventing Cybercrime or Cyber Activism? The Tambourine Army Goes to Court

"Making threats through social media is a criminal offence, but making accusations is not. In interpreting the new act, the courts must ensure [...] the right to freedom of expression.”

Netizen Report: Why Did YouTube Censor Your Videos? You May Never Know.

A Brazilian blogger is forced to identify his sources, Iran cracks down on speech pre-election, and Tunisia's Truth and Dignity Commission hears testimony from bloggers persecuted under Ben Ali.

Jamaican Activist Arrested Under Cybercrime Law Amid Her Campaign Against Sexual Violence

"If the Tambourine Army believe they have exhausted all avenues of ‘proper’ ways to advocate, then I say do what you must, but please don’t give up the fight."

UAE Authorities Arrest One Rights Activist and Extend the Detention of Another

On 20 March police arrested human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor from his home. Meanwhile, UAE authorities have refused to release Osama al-Najjar, despite him having served out his prison sentence.

‘Those who tortured him [should] tell us the truth': Tunisian Commission Hears Net Freedom Testimonies From Dictatorship

The Truth and Dignity Commission is investigating rights abuses committed during the dictatorship era, including internet freedom violations.

Alleged Attacks on Online Media Follow the Tragic Death by Fire of Young Women in Guatemala

A local media outlet that published testimonies of some of the victims of the shelter fire suffered a DDoS attack.

Fake News and Fake Solutions: How Do We Build a Civics of Trust?

When posing solutions to fix fake news, we need to be careful not to build our own self-censorship machines.

Brazilian Facebook User Prosecuted for Posting a Joke About a Politician

The administrator was prosecuted not for defamation, but rather for violating Brazil's anonymity laws.

UAE Court Sentences Jordanian Journalist Tayseer al-Najjar to Prison

UAE authorities took issue with a Facebook post that Tayseer al-Najjar published before he had even moved to the country.

Netizen Report: Azerbaijani Bloggers Targeted with Legal Threats, Spearphishing

Censorship is up in France, China is censoring scientists (again), and Facebook tells developers to stop using network data for surveillance.

Syrian Civil Society in Douma Navigates a Tough Crackdown

Fundamentalist backlash to a magazine article has thrown civil society in Douma and Eastern Ghouta into turmoil, as activists and journalists struggle to get back to work.

Jaysh Al-Islam Is Leading Peace Talks in Geneva, While Clamping Down on Speech in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

The group controlling the region has shut down a magazine and five well-known civil society organisations, according to activists.

In Kyrgyzstan, Prosecutors Sue Media for Offending President

"By advising him to sue internet publications, they are really doing him a bad turn."

Chinese Scientists Speak Out Against the Great Firewall (Again)

"...it takes at least 10-20 second to access a page. Sometimes it takes more than half an hour to access some university websites…"

Russia Adds First-Ever Foreign Messaging App to Federal Registry

For the first time ever, Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, has added a foreign online messenger to its “Registry of Information-Dissemination Organizers,” targeting the Swiss company Threema.

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