Stories about Sovereigns of the Cyberspace

Advocates Challenge Use of FinFisher Surveillance Software in Pakistan

  23 May 2013

The Pakistani human rights organisation Bytes for All is challenging the use of invasive surveillance software by the government of Pakistan. FinFisher, produced by Gamma International, a UK-based company named by Reporters Without Borders as one of five "corporate enemies of the internet" and "digital era mercenaries," is notorious for its advanced spying and surveillance capabilities which are used to target human rights movements all over the world.

Human Rights Verdict Could Affect Cisco in China

  24 April 2013

In 2011, two separate lawsuits were filed against Cisco Systems alleging that its technology enabled the government of China to monitor, capture, and kill Chinese citizens for their views and beliefs. To what extent are these human rights violations attributable to technology provided by Cisco?

Hong Kong Citizen Media Site Faces DDoS Attack From China

  22 April 2013

Hong Kong-based citizen media platform inmediahk.net was hit by a DDoS attack last week, coming mainly from China. Inmedia, a volunteer citizen media network, has been blocked in mainland China since 2007. Inmedia members believe that recent coverage of controversial issues, including a dock workers' strike in Hong Kong and the construction of a military pier in the city's center, may have triggered the attack.

#FreeRod: Preliminary Victory in Chilean Twitter Parody Case

  21 April 2013

A court in Chile has dismissed claims against Chilean Twitter user Rodrigo Ferrari, who was facing prosecution for operating a Twitter account that parodied millionaire Andrónico Luksic. The decision is not final and may be reviewed by the Court of Appeals, but it is a good sign for the future of online free expression in Chile.

Wikipedia's Suicide Mission Against Russian Censors

  13 April 2013

Smoking cannabis is dangerous business for people the world over. In Russia, just writing about it online can get you in trouble. State officials informed Wikimedia Russia that the government has placed its “Cannabis Smoking” article on its blacklist of illegal websites.

Facebook's Graph Search: Be Careful What You “Like”

  6 April 2013

Facebook's new Graph Search tool allows strangers -- anyone from casual acquaintances to government actors -- to discover information about you that you may not have intended them to find. This post explores the impact of this new tool on users and offers a few ideas on how to keep your information from becoming public without your consent.

Victory for Transparency: Microsoft Reports on Government Requests for User Data

  27 March 2013

Last week Microsoft released its first transparency report, which covers all requests for user data from law enforcement and judicial authorities received in 2012. The report offers specific data on Skype, a particularly important step towards building trust with users who may be vulnerable to government surveillance, describes Microsoft's approach to complying with US law, as well as law enforcement and privacy laws in other countries.

China: Researchers Uncover Microblog Filtering Mechanisms

  18 March 2013

In a recent paper entitled "The Velocity of Censorship: High-Fidelity Detection of Microblog Post Deletions," a group of computer scientists describes their study of censorship practices on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging service. Sina Weibo employs a large number of site moderators to monitor and, when necessary, stop the flow of dissenting ideas on the social media platform.

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.

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.

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.

Resources: Guide to Creating Facebook Pages with Impact

  23 January 2013

It's no small task for small organizations and activists to put together a strategic Facebook page, and navigating around Facebook's setup pages can be confusing. Originally published in Arabic, Social Media Exchange (SMEX) just released the English version of their booklet Creating Facebook Pages with Impact. Breaking down how to use Facebook pages for activists, it addresses both technical aspects and management strategies.

Facebook's Suspicious Behavior

  20 December 2012

Dead people liking stuff on Facebook. Living people liking and sharing stuff without their knowledge. Leila Nachawati investigates Facebook's unusual behavior.

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