The Global Digital Download is a weekly publication that aggregates resources on Internet freedom, highlighting trends in digital and social media that intersect with freedom of expression, policy, privacy, censorship and new technologies. The GDD includes information about relevant events, news, and research. To find past articles and research, search the archive database.

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  • (Bangkok Post, Wednesday, December 17, 2014)

    From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation. 

  • (The Wall Street Journal: China Realtime, Friday, October 17, 2014)
    As the pro-democracy protest crowds in Hong Kong have ebbed and flowed, one thing that has not changed is the level of censorship on China’s most popular instant messaging app.
  • (Ars Technica, Thursday, October 16, 2014)

    Malware-based espionage targeting political activists and other opposition is nothing new, especially when it comes to opponents of the Chinese government. But there have been few attempts at hacking activists more widespread and sophisticated than the current wave of spyware targeting the mobile devices of members of Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Revolution.”

  • (Tech in Asia, Thursday, October 16, 2014)

    According to Indonesian news outlet Tempo, the local government launched a nationwide high-speed internet access initiative yesterday. The goal of the program is to boost economic competitiveness throughout the archipelago. Titled the 2014-2019 Indonesia Broadband Plan, it will require Rp 278 trillion (US$23.2 billion) in financing.

  • (Reuters, Thursday, October 16, 2014)
    Chinese Communist Party censors have blocked the website of Britain's national broadcaster, the BBC said in a statement, as tensions rise in Hong Kong between pro-democracy protesters and police. The broadcaster said that the move seemed to be "deliberate censorship". It did not say what may have prompted the move by Beijing, which also blocks the websites of the New York Times, newswire Bloomberg and the BBC's Chinese-language website.
  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, October 15, 2014)
    A new mobile messaging app that enables users to communicate in the absence of cellular or Internet connections is seeing a surge in downloads among Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters. The free FireChat app, which launched in March, was downloaded 100,000 times in Hong Kong between Sunday morning and Monday morning, said Micha Benoliel, co-founder and chief executive of San Francisco-based Open Garden, which developed the app.
  • (The Economist, Wednesday, October 15, 2014)

    STREETS in Hong Kong have been filled with protesters calling for democratic reform and tweeting their experiences furiously. But in mainland China, people are struggling to discuss the unrest online. Censors have been poring over Weibo, China’s closely controlled version of Twitter, to scrub out even oblique references to it.

  • (The New York Times, Sunday, October 5, 2014)
    Micha Benoliel came to Hong Kong for a convenient layover between a technology conference in India and strategic partnership meetings in China. He stayed for the political unrest. Mr. Benoliel, a 42-year-old French-born entrepreneur, is the chief executive of Open Garden, a Silicon Valley start-up whose innovative, barely six-month-old app, FireChat, has become the rage in Hong Kong during the pro-democracy protests around the city.
  • (The Economist, Saturday, October 4, 2014)

    Streets in Hong Kong have been filled with protesters calling for democratic reform and tweeting their experiences furiously. But in mainland China, people are struggling to discuss the unrest online. Censors have been poring over Weibo, China’s closely controlled version of Twitter, to scrub out even oblique references to it.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Friday, October 3, 2014)

    On Thursday, hackers referring to themselves as the "Blink Hacker Group" replaced the home page of The Irrawaddy's English-language website with a message accusing it of supporting "jihad & radical Muslims", according to local and international news reports. The message also criticized The Irrawaddy's "so called freedom of speech" and justified their actions by "so called freedom of Internet hacking."

  • (IFEX, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns recent threats and cyberattacks against The Irrawaddy, an independent media group dedicated to Burma news and analysis.  On Thursday [October 2], hackers referring to themselves as the "Blink Hacker Group" replaced the home page of The Irrawaddy's English-language website with a message accusing it of supporting "jihad & radical Muslims", according to local and international news reports. The message also criticized The Irrawaddy's "so called freedom of speech" and justified their actions by "so called freedom of Internet hacking." 
  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    A U.S. mobile security firm says it has uncovered smartphone spyware aimed at pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong that comes disguised as an app created by a community of socially minded programmers. When activated, the Android app reveals the smartphone user’s geographical location, text messages, address book, emails and more, San Francisco-based Lacoon Mobile Security said this week.
  • (Slate, Friday, October 3, 2014)

    On Monday, Sept. 29, social media enthusiasts and Western media outlets unleashed a flurry of stories about pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong using the chat app FireChat to stay in touch without being surveiled. But many of these accounts exaggerated the popularity of the app. That’s a relief, because the articles were riddled with misconceptions and false hopes of security.

  • (Voice of America, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    Activists and advocates say they fear the online sphere that has become a popular means of expression may not last long, with potential legislation to regulate cyberspace on the horizon. The government has not yet put pressure on Internet usage, where many Cambodian youth express themselves via social media, but a so-called “cyber-crime law” is in the works, Chak Sopheap, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, told VOA Khmer.
  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    As the pro-democracy protest crowds in Hong Kong have ebbed and flowed, one thing that has not changed is the level of censorship on China’s most popular instant messaging app. Throughout the week, users of WeChat inside mainland China were unable to see some photos posted by users whose accounts were tied to Hong Kong phone numbers, according to multiple China Real Time tests conducted on Monday and Friday. 
  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)
    On September 28, rumors that Hong Kong police had asked mobile phone operators to shut down network services in Hong Kong's Admiralty area spread like wildfire. Tensions were already running high, as police had used tear gas on pro-democracy protesters just hours before. The Federation of University Student Unions, a key organization that has helped mobilize the massive sit-in dubbed Occupy Central, immediately called for protesters to retreat from the demonstration if network services were cut.
  • (Ars Technica, Thursday, October 2, 2014)

    Over the past few days, activists and protesters in Hong Kong have been targeted by mobile device malware that gives an attacker the ability to monitor their communications. What’s unusual about the malware, which has been spread through mobile message “phishing “ attacks, is that the attacks have targeted and successfully infected both Android and iOS devices.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)
    On September 28, after Hong Kong police unleashed tear gas on protesters, many said that they could not access the Internet with their mobile phones and had to run to Central or Wanchai districts before they could send their messages. Since then, a large number of protesters have downloaded FireChat to prepare for communication during network outages or network congestion.
  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)

    After the recent extensive protesting in Hong Kong, many are now wondering if it is possible for a network blackout to be imposed. This happens on a regular basis in regions of mainland China like Xinjiang, where authorities use Internet blackouts to contain ethnic unrest among the region's Uyghur minority. Yet network infrastructure and corporate governance is much less tightly controlled in the special administrative region of Hong Kong.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)

    This year, there are several mobile apps available to make Durga Puja's pandal hopping better planned and more informed than ever. Indians’ growing tech savviness has brought mobile computing to new spheres of life. Apps that help navigate religious and cultural festivities are now at the fingertips of millions of Indians.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)
    On September 28, after Hong Kong police unleashed tear gas on protesters, many said that they could not access the Internet with their mobile phones and had to run to Central or Wanchai districts before they could send their messages. Since then, a large number of protesters have downloaded FireChat to prepare for communication during network outages or network congestion.
  • (The Huffington Post, Wednesday, October 1, 2014)

    We should be demanding the reform for which they are now fighting: an unbiased election, at every important stage. Or more simply: #EndTweedismEverywhere.

  • (i100, The Independent, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    This graph shows the number of inaccessible posts on Chinese social media site Weibo (per 1,000) this year.  It shows how internet censorship in China has rocketed as pro-democracy protests have spread in Hong Kong.

  • (The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    China has reacted to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong by doing what authoritarian governments always do when faced with an inconvenient truth: try to control the message. With the street demonstrations in Hong Kong showing no signs of abating, Beijing has set its sights on the social media tools favored by many of the civil disobedience movement, Occupy Central.

  • (CNN , Tuesday, September 30, 2014)
    News articles, social media posts and images about Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests are being heavily censored behind China notorious firewall. Chinese state-run news outlets have largely ignored the pro-democracy protests except for the same Xinhua story in which the Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung denounced the demonstrations as "unlawful."
  • (Mashable, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    In what's almost unprecedented, China appears to be targeting Yahoo with what's called a "man-in-the-middle attack." With such an attack, connections to Yahoo.com, which are normally encrypted, would be vulnerable to snooping, and Chinese censors could also block search terms or specific Yahoo links with the goal of preventing Chinese netizens from accessing information about the protests in Hong Kong.

  • (PR Newsire, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    The Internet of Things (IoT) market is expected to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the technology industry in Asia-Pacific. Total Asia-Pacific IoT spending is forecast to be $9.96 billion in 2014, at a CAGR of 34.1%, reaching $57.96 billion by 2020. More than 80 billion devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. This research service provides a historical perspective and a 7-year forecast of the IoT market in Asia-Pacific. In this study, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following areas: vertical spending on IoT, the IoT ecosystem, the delivery model, and the IoT taxonomy in various industries.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    In the final part of CPJ's "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin reveals how prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai remains behind bars for his critical writing despite the margin for debate opening. The series concludes with recommendations for the Vietnamese government and international bodies.

  • (CNN, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    News articles, social media posts and images about Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests are being heavily censored behind China notorious firewall.

  • (Mashable, Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

    As thousands of people swarm the streets of Hong Kong asking the Chinese government to fulfill its promise of real democracy in the autonomous region, Chinese censors seems to be tightening their control over the Internet. In what's almost unprecedented, China appears to be targeting Yahoo with what's called a "man-in-the-middle attack."

  • (Epoch Times, Monday, September 29, 2014)

    Mainland China’s authorities fear the power of the example of protests for democracy in Hong Kong, and are working to block news of it from reaching the Chinese people.

  • (Bangkok Post, Sunday, September 28, 2014)

    From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an Internet revolution in the once-isolated nation. 

  • (The New York Times, Saturday, September 27, 2014)

    China’s Communist government has tightened its control over the Internet so much recently that businesses, researchers and ordinary people are finding it hard to complete basic and innocuous tasks, like placing ads on websites, sharing documents and reading technical documents. It seems the government of President Xi Jinping is so determined to crack down on dissent that it is even willing to stifle commerce and scientific research.

  • (Journalism & Media Studies Center, University of Hong Kong, Friday, September 26, 2014)

    As the International Right to Know Day is coming this Sunday, the Hong Kong Transparency Report, a project run by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, the University of Hong Kong, is excited to launch the 2014 report on Hong Kong government’s data and content removal requests towards online service providers.

  • (Brookings, Friday, September 26, 2014)

    In this India-U.S. Policy Memo, Ian Wallace explains the different approaches that India and the U.S. take on internet governance, what’s at stake in this debate, the choices that face the Modi government, and the internet governance-related meetings on the horizon.

  • (Reuters, Wednesday, September 24, 2014)

    The Taiwanese government is investigating whether Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL], China's leading smartphone company by domestic shipments, is a cyber security threat and will make a decision within three months.

  • (South China Morning Post, Tuesday, September 23, 2014)

    Chinese authorities appear to have blocked the US-based internet search engine DuckDuckGo, which has enjoyed rising popularity over its privacy-oriented searches and iOS integration.

  • (Reuters, Tuesday, September 23, 2014)

    Communist Laos has issued a decree outlawing online criticism of policies of the ruling party or government, state media reported, the latest Southeast Asian country to enact strict internet controls.

  • (International Business Times, Tuesday, September 23, 2014)

    A U.S.-based search engine that had been gaining popularity in China for its privacy-protected search results has become a target of Chinese censors. The website, DuckDuckGo, joins the ranks of other foreign websites blocked by the government, including Google and Facebook.

  • (International Business Times, Monday, September 22, 2014)

    China's continuing block on the majority of Google Inc.’s Internet traffic, which started in May, is taking a heavy toll on key sectors, according to a report Sunday by the New York Times. The country’s censorship efforts, known as the “Great Firewall of China,” affect virtually all of Google’s services, and have slowed some down to the point where they are unusable.

  • (The New York Times, Monday, September 22, 2014)

    When an Indonesian law student posted an online rant saying the historic city of Yogyakarta in Central Java was “poor, stupid and uncultured,” she earned more than the ire of its residents. She ended up in a police detention cell, charged with cyberdefamation.

  • (The Guardian, Sunday, September 21, 2014)

    Sweeping laws to gag publication of sensitive materials are dangerous for democracy – Abbott should not let hysteria over terrorism be used to thwart the freedom agenda.

  • (Cryptocoins News, Sunday, September 21, 2014)

    Hours ago, Bitcoin Forum and Bitcoin Subreddit moderator, Theymos, posted to inform everyone that Bitcointalk.org had been blocked by the Great Firewall of China. From all over China, with the exception of Shanghai, Bitcoiners are reporting that Bitcointalk.org is now blocked. No official explanation for the block has been given, though speculation will fly.

  • (The New York Times, Sunday, September 21, 2014)

    As part of a broad campaign to tighten internal security, the Chinese government has draped a darker shroud over Internet communications in recent weeks, a situation that has made it more difficult for Google and its customers to do business.

  • (ONE News, Friday, September 19, 2014)

    The Vote Compass survey has found voters are split over the accuracy of Internet Mana's claims of mass surveillance by New Zealand's spy agency. Vote Compass quizzed 5000 people, asking "how likely do you think it is the GCSB is conducting mass surveillance?" While a few didn't know, 46% said it's likely and 48% said it's unlikely.

  • (Gigaom, Thursday, September 18, 2014)

    New Zealand’s highest court has ruled that a blogger was engaged in journalism, and therefore is entitled to certain protections afforded to journalists, even though he was not affiliated with a traditional media organization.

  • (Gigaom, Thursday, September 18, 2014)

    New Zealand’s highest court has ruled that a blogger was engaged in journalism, and therefore is entitled to certain protections afforded to journalists, even though he was not affiliated with a traditional media organization.

  • (AsianCorrespondent, Thursday, September 18, 2014)

    Thailand’s ruling military junta is further tightening its grip on the public discourse by heightening its censorship measures, going as far as reportedly implementing widespread surveillance of Thai Internet users. The new measure seeks to crush criticism at the military government and  to crack down on anything that is deemed insulting to the royal institution – also known as lèse majesté.

  • (The Indian Republic, Wednesday, September 17, 2014)

    Author Anil Maheshwari probes modern legal privacy issues that he surmises arise from the inability of Indian law thus far to keep up with new issues triggered by rapidly changing technology. 

  • (MSN News, Wednesday, September 17, 2014)

    Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn on Wednesday issued a statement that backs Prime Minister John Key's position that New Zealanders haven't been spied on by the GCSB.

  • (Global Research, Tuesday, September 16, 2014)

    Some weeks ago, rabble rousing cyber activist Kim Dotcom and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept were promising a harvest of revelations on New Zealand’s role in the surveillance fruit salad.[1] The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which sounds like a benign desk shuffling company, is the country’s willing accomplice in the Five Eyes arrangement.  Between 2012 and 2013, a metadata surveillance system was created, centred on the Southern Cross cable network.  Big eyes indeed.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, September 16, 2014)

    Appealing for support for Roy Ngerng, a blogger being sued by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long, Reporters Without Borders is posting a cartoon by the famous Malaysian cartoonist Zunar that calls for a show of support for Ngerng and for protests against government censorship.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    Ex-U.S. intelligence employee Edward Snowden accused New Zealand Prime Minister John Key of deceiving the public about the mass surveillance of the nation's citizens by the country's domestic spy agency.

  • (The Guardian, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    Internet entrepreneur Dotcom holds panel with Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange to expand on revelations that New Zealand government sought to implement otp-secret mass surveillance program. See the end of the article for a summary of the panel.

  • (Xinhua Net, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Monday released previously classified documents regarding the country's security agencies as his government became the latest target of claims by U.S. spy whistleblower Edward Snowden that it had illegally spied on its own people.

  • (The Economic Times, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has signalled the policy direction and future roadmap in many sectors. It has announced a comprehensive Digital India initiative that would cater to digital infrastructure capacity building, governance and services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens. What remains untouched is the approach to internet governance position and regime.

  • (The Intercept, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    The New Zealand spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), worked in 2012 and 2013 to implement a mass metadata surveillance system even as top government officials publicly insisted no such program was being planned and would not be legally permitted.

  • (The Intercept, Monday, September 15, 2014)

    An article written by Edward Snowden himself, he asserts that, despite claims to the contrary, "Any statement that mass surveillance is not performed in New Zealand, or that the internet communications are not comprehensively intercepted and monitored, or that this is not intentionally and actively abetted by the GCSB, is categorically false."

  • (The Nation, Saturday, September 13, 2014)

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a bill giving telecoms authorities more power to monitor online users and block websites, the latest move tightening state control over the Internet.

  • (News.Com.Au, Friday, September 12, 2014)

    China's infamous internet censorship machine may not work exactly as you imagine, a groundbreaking experiment has revealed. With social media offering China’s 1.3 billion residents the opportunity to broadcast their views, the government has had to become more sophisticated when it comes to what it deletes and what it allows through.

  • (TechDirt, Wednesday, September 10, 2014)

    According to a news outlet, a new policy in Thailand allows the government to monitor Internet usage to determine if anyone is reading or viewing material deemed illegal under Thailand's "lèse majesté" laws. These controversial laws make it a crime to insult the king in any way through any medium.

  • (China File, Wednesday, September 10, 2014)

    With the recent release of "Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services," China has created an Internet environment that relies on vague verbiage to regulate the Internet's use and ultimately allows for the collection of tons of private user data. 

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, September 10, 2014)

    The Great Firewall of China is one of the wonders of the modern world. Hundreds of thousands of censors are employed to ensure that as little as possible is published on the internet that might inconvenience or threaten the government. The tendency among western liberals and pro-democracy types is to suppose that this must make the state less efficient. But suppose the censorship is so fine-tuned that it actually strengthens the repressive apparatus by making it cleverer, rather than simply squelching all opposition?

  • (Tech in Asia, Wednesday, September 10, 2014)
    Indonesia is a democratic country with a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the freedom of expression. But the existence of the ITE law contradicts the amendment.
     
  • (The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday, September 10, 2014)

    If the Abbott government proceeds with its current proposal to crack down on online copyright infringement it will be reviving elements of Labor’s failed internet filter.It’s extraordinary that this government is considering such a scheme for two reasons. First, an internet filter is a censorship regime that poses a serious threat to freedom of speech. And second, the proposed regime will not put an end to online piracy.

  • (The Register, Monday, September 8, 2014)

    India's communications and IT minister, tasked with attracting foreign investors to the country's tech sector, has defended controversial IT laws while saying that Internet censorship should be minimal. 

  • (Journalism.co.uk, Monday, September 8, 2014)

    As Chinese students cross the border into Hong Kong, a sudden and unknown feeling crosses them. It’s a feeling of liberation, brought on by the free press and internet access that Hong Kong enjoys. The simple act of creating a Facebook account, something we take for granted, is blocked in China, on the grounds that it could create dissent in the masses.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, September 8, 2014)

    Have you ever taken a picture of someone without asking their permission? What about people who accidentally stumbled into your vacation photos? Under a new draft law in the Philippines, these kinds of often-innocent behaviors would become illegal.

  • (IFEX, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    A bill to protect personal privacy passed second reading in The House of Representatives on 12 August 2014. A congressman and media groups say once it becomes law, House Bill 04807 will have negative effects on press freedom and free expression. In a statement on 28 August, party-list representative Carlos Isagani Zarate called the bill an "anti-selfie bill." 

  • (Sinosphere, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    A man in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has sued his Internet service provider over his inability to access Google’s online services, which have been largely inaccessible since the beginning of this summer. The lawsuit against China Unicom is believed to be the first of its kind and has highlighted the continuing difficulties faced by the American Internet giant in China.

  • (Tech in Asia, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities. His phrase “Big Brother is watching you” – the core “truth” of Orwell’s fictional society – assumed a new meaning when Wikileaks broke news about the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US listening to phone calls of its citizens, and reading the contents of private emails, text messages, and live chats on social media. In India too, the State seems to be using similar tactics in the name of security. 

  • (SFLC.IN, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    One quickly begins to realize that the Government of India's tolerance of US surveillance might have been brought on by more than a mrere desire to keep Indo-US relations from going sour. The government's remarkable restraint might have stemmed - at least in part - from the fact that it was busy with some "snooping" of its own. 

  • (Media Nama, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    A Right To Information (RTI) application filed by Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) has revealed that on an average around 7500 – 9000 telephone interception orders are issued by the central government every month.

  • (Media Nama, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    A Right To Information (RTI) application filed by Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) has revealed that on an average around 7500 – 9000 telephone interception orders are issued by the central government every month.

  • (Tech 2, Friday, September 5, 2014)

    The study, ‘India’s surveillance state’, prepared on the basis of RTI replies given by the government, also found that 26 companies including foreign firms expressed interest in setting up Internet monitoring systems for the government. These included companies offering “far more potent surveillance technologies including phone interception, social media network analysis and data mining and profiling”.

  • (The Malay Mail Online, Thursday, September 4, 2014)

    Being present in Istanbul for the ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) marked a milestone for Khairil Yusof, cofounder and coordinator of Sinar Project. Established in 2011, it is an initiative which uses open technology and applications to systematically make important information public and more accessible to the Malaysian people. 

  • (Indian Television, Thursday, September 4, 2014)

    The new government had embarked on a very ambitious initiative called Digital India - which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy.Speaking at the ninth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, Sharma noted, “25 per cent of the people in India amount to around one billion people. More than 800 million mobile subscribers are connected to the telecommunication backbone. All possible steps are being taken to connect everyone to the Internet.”

  • (Privacy International, Thursday, September 4, 2014)

    Swiss authorities are investigating the potentially illegal export of mobile phone surveillance technology to an infamous elite unit of the Bangladeshi security apparatus accused of wide-scale human rights abuses. The investigation comes after Privacy International and Swiss magazine WOZ provided evidence that representatives of the Rapid Action Battalion were in Zurich this past week meeting with the Swiss surveillance company Neosoft. 

  • (Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, September 4, 2014)
    After complaints and clear examples of bowing to Chinese censorship diktats, LinkedIn says it may have acted too hastily in friending China's government.
    LinkedIn executives said they were reconsidering their policies, after seven months of censoring content from China deemed too sensitive.
     
  • (CNET, Wednesday, September 3, 2014)

    The Australian Law Reform Commission has proposed changes to Australian law [PDF] to protect individuals from serious invasions of digital privacy, saying that they are increasingly common in the modern era. The ALRC has proposed a tort in a new Commonwealth Act to protect against invasions of privacy, in cases when a serious invasion is committed intentionally, has the ability to cause actual or emotional damage and when the individual would have had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • (APCO Forum, Tuesday, September 2, 2014)

    Two consultants with vastly different backgrounds weigh in on their perceptions of Chinese Internet freedom. Says one, "On one hand, I hope to see more Internet freedom in China, so that we are exposed to more diverse ideas and richer resources. On the other, the government’s concern that large protests organized online jeopardize the nation’s overall development and can harm common people resonates with me."

  • (LexOrbis, Tuesday, September 2, 2014)

    Most ISPs are private entities actuated only by business considerations and may adopt opaque and invidious practices as and when it suits them or simply may not be able to cater to the needs/interests of the consumers. This necessitates that the legal and regulatory regime in which they are functioning is enabling and dynamic without being unnecessarily overbearing. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case in India at present.

  • (Live Mint, Monday, September 1, 2014)
    China’s attempt at making a desktop operating system seems to have succeeded. The China Operating System (COS) as it is called, will be released in October this year. Chinese Academy of Engineering has said that the new OS would be first seen on desktop PCs and later expanded to smartphones.
     
  • (Global Voices, Monday, September 1, 2014)

    Russian VKontakte and Odnoklassniki networks dominate the social media market in Ukraine, according to new research from Russian Internet giant Yandex. In the newest release of its annual research report on the Ukrainian segment of the web, Yandex said over 40 million Ukrainian accounts over all were registered in VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook and Twitter as of this summer.

  • (China Topix, Friday, August 29, 2014)

    More than 300 WeChat mobile accounts have been suspended by China's Tencent Holdings, Ltd. In addition, approximately 40 other messaging app accounts have been banned by the company. The decision to temporarily put on hold the aforementioned social networking accounts has been made in adherence to the government restrictions imposed recently. Reports show that such messaging apps and other social media platforms have been employed to spread political news online.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Thursday, August 28, 2014)

    A court has sentenced prominent Vietnamese activist blogger Bui Thi Minh Hang to three years in prison for posing a “serious obstruction to traffic.” Her two other companions, Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh and Nguyen Van Minh, received sentences of 2 years and 2.5 years, respectively.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, August 28, 2014)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of two journalists and a network employee in Pakistan today, and calls on authorities to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, August 27, 2014)

    India on Wednesday launched a Web domain—with the suffix .bharat, after the Hindi name for the country—that will allow users to type Internet addresses in the Devanagari script that is used to write Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi and some other Indian languages. The move is intended to help millions of Indians unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet used to write English and other European languages get easier access to information on the Internet.

  • (Quartz, Tuesday, August 26, 2014)

    Hundreds of journalists working at the Times of India and its sister publications have received a peculiar request from their employer: hand over your Twitter and Facebook passwords and let us post for you.

  • (The New York Times, Monday, August 25, 2014)

    Naitik Gohain, 17, has a secret. As he prepares to enter engineering school, he is living in a hostel in Hyderabad. Like many young Indians who have left home for the first time, Mr. Gohain has been expanding his social horizons beyond the radar of his family in Guwahati, 1,500 miles to the northeast.

  • (IFEX, Monday, August 25, 2014)

    On August 21, 2014, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the authorities' actions in abruptly disconnecting communications channels for the family of Hada, a prisoner in Inner Mongolia. Communication channels were disconnected after the family voiced concern on the internet about Hada's illegal detention, which has continued for almost four years.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, August 24, 2014)

    Laal, Pakistan’s most vocal social justice-oriented band, has built a career around using their platform as musicians to advocate for change and spread social awareness through their music, often through the Internet. Facebook and YouTube have played a critical role for the band in publicizing their music and connecting with fans, but the Pakistani government has targeted those same websites for censorship. As Pakistan's authorities continue to block the corners of the Internet that helped Laal build an audience, Global Voices spoke to Dr. Taimur Rahman, Laal frontman and academic, for his perspective.

  • (Channel News Asia, Saturday, August 23, 2014)

    Myanmar will introduce a code of conduct to prevent the spread of hate speech over social media, as part of a response to last month's communal riots in the country, which had been instigated by the spread of false information online.

  • (Science, Friday, August 22, 2014)

    Censorship has a long history in China, extending from the efforts of Emperor Qin to burn Confucian texts in the third century BCE to the control of traditional broadcast media under Communist Party rule. However, with the rise of the Internet and new media platforms, more than 1.3 billion people can now broadcast their individual views, making information far more diffuse and considerably harder to control. In response, the government has built a massive social media censorship organization, the result of which constitutes the largest selective suppression of human communication in the recorded history of any country. We show that this large system, designed to suppress information, paradoxically leaves large footprints and so reveals a great deal about itself and the intentions of the government.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Friday, August 22, 2014)

    An unknown technical expert hacked into the servers of FinFisher, the notorious surveillance software maker, earlier this month. The hacker(s) captured all the data they could find on the server and leaked it as a torrent. The 40Gb torrent contains the entire FinFisher support portal including correspondence between customers and the company staff. It also contains all the software that the company sells, as well as the accompanying documentation and release material. Last year, security researchers uncovered evidence that there are two command and control servers inside Pakistan.

  • (Motherboard, Thursday, August 21, 2014)

    It's no secret that China has been censoring and controlling the information its citizens can send and receive, especially on the internet. But, until Harvard researchers recently broke into the system, no one knew exactly how it worked. Today, researchers from Harvard and the University of California San Diego released a report in Science that reads more like a spy novel than a scientific paper.

  • (Science Mag, Thursday, August 21, 2014)

    Behind China’s vaunted Internet censorship are throngs of specialized police officers, fake commentators, and ever-changing technologies. But China watchers have puzzled over the system’s modus operandi. Some posts are swiftly culled, whereas others on seemingly more sensitive topics are left untouched. In the most revealing study yet of Chinese censorship, researchers describe today how they peered behind the curtain to find out what China’s censors—and presumably the government officials operating behind the scenes—fear most. When political scientist Gary King of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University and Ph.D. students Jennifer Pan and Margaret Roberts began examining censorship in China in 2011, many scholars assumed that calling for policy changes, criticizing government leaders, and raising sensitive topics like the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 were verboten. To test that assumption, the trio downloaded millions of social media posts from more than 1300 sites between January and July 2011, then selected roughly 127,000 of them to examine in more detail. They watched in real time as posts were taken down. Censorship in China, King says, is “like an elephant tiptoeing around. It leaves big footprints.”

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Wednesday, August 20, 2014)

    Since last week, fifteen Maldivian journalists have reported receiving anonymous SMS messages threatening them for their coverage of recent deadly street violence in the island nation, an archipelago that lies southeast of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The messages came a few days prior to the unexplained disappearance of journalist and democracy advocate Ahmed Rizwan Abdulla, who works for Minivan news, a private news website. “Minivan” means “independent” in local language Dhivehi.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, August 20, 2014)

    Almost five million people have signed a petition calling for constitutional amendments in Myanmar. Myanmar’s military government drafted the nation's current constitution in 2008. Petitioners argue that there are numerous undemocratic provisions.Almost five million people have signed a petition calling for constitutional amendments in Myanmar. Myanmar’s military government drafted the nation's current constitution in 2008. Petitioners argue that there are numerous undemocratic provisions.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, August 20, 2014)

    Russians are mostly unaware of the new bloggers’ law, and those who do know about it think it's a good idea, a new public opinion poll has found.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Monday, August 18, 2014)

    Prominent Maldivian journalist, blogger and human rights advocate Ahmed Rizwan Abdulla went missing Aug. 8, 2014. He was last seen waiting for an early morning ferry to travel to Hulhumale Island from the capital Male. It is not known whether he boarded the ferry.

  • (The Malay Mail Online, Monday, August 18, 2014)

    Over the last few months, the pressure has been building for Malaysian authorities to rein in freedom of expression on the Internet. The Malaysian Government, so used to controlling the mainstream media through a combination of repressive laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA – click here to download a PDF of the Act) and ownership (whether directly or indirectly) of all the major media organisations, has never been comfortable with what it sees as the unfettered freedom accorded by the Internet. These attempts to regulate and monitor free expression have taken a turn for the worst in the last few weeks.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Sunday, August 17, 2014)

    Qatar-based Ooredoo QSC on Friday became the first foreign telecommunications company to offer services in Myanmar, setting up the country to be one of the world's first predominantly mobile-Web nations. Ooredoo's rollout, more than a year after the company won one of two coveted licenses to operate in Myanmar, will be followed by service from Norway's Telenor ASA next month.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, August 15, 2014)

    Chinese authorities recently set off another round of hand-wringing over the state of public discourse with an announcement of new regulations on “instant messaging tools” that appear aimed at increasing state control over the dissemination of news on mobile chat applications like Tencent’s enormously popular WeChat. The new rules also spooked investors, causing shares in the Chinese tech behemoth to dip 3.5% in Hong Kong.

  • (Privacy International, Friday, August 15, 2014)

    In a disturbing move to broaden its mass surveillance powers, the government of Australia is pushing forward a bill that undermines fundamental rights, including the right to privacy. Disappointingly, this comes mere months after civil society and citizens alike expressed outrage over the Australian intelligence service’s offer to share deeply personal information about ordinary citizens with its Five Eyes partners.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, August 15, 2014)

    In its latest effort to dispel security concerns raised by China, Apple has begun storing its users’ data in China on state-controlled China Telecom’s Internet-based storage. But the company said Friday in a statement to The Wall Street Journal that all data stored is encrypted, meaning China Telecom won’t have access to its content.

  • (Bloomberg, Thursday, August 14, 2014)

    Last August, President Xi Jinping gathered his propaganda chiefs in Beijing to rally them against a force that long vexed China’s ruling party: the Internet.

  • (Forbes, Thursday, August 14, 2014)

    I’m no fan of censorship, but I still have to compliment Beijing on its recent unusual decision to inform South Korea of the reasons behind its recent decision to block the popular mobile instant messaging service called Line in China. This kind of explanation would sound normal in any other country; but it represents a big step for Chinese censors, who are highly secretive when they choose to block Internet sites, ban foreign films and TV shows and take other similar actions.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Wednesday, August 13, 2014)

    Policymakers in Pakistan have proposed a new law that seeks to to strengthen security forces including the Army, Frontier Corps, Police and Rangers in the battle against terrorist groups in Pakistan. But critics see the new “Protection of Pakistan Ordinance” as an attempt to turn the country into a police state, where the abilities of law enforcement will disproportionately increase, with little or no checks on their powers.

  • (Quartz, Wednesday, August 13, 2014)

    Last week, Chinese authorities released new restrictions on who can post political news on instant messaging apps, along with other restrictions. Tencent hasn’t addressed how tighter government oversight will affect its business, but analysts and investors don’t seem bothered yet: the company’s shares are up over 30% since the start of the year.

  • (Malay Mail, Monday, August 11, 2014)

    China has detained a man in its unruly western Xinjiang region for spreading what it said were Internet rumours about an attack in July in which nearly 100 people were killed, state media said today.

  • (Malay Mail, Monday, August 11, 2014)

    Just about a week after former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad called for the Malaysian Government to censor the Internet, Communication and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek declared that Putrajaya would look into the possibility of blocking Facebook in Malaysia.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, August 11, 2014)

    The simulation game Tropico 5 has been banned by Thai authorities after it was deemed a threat to the country’s peace and order situation. The Tropico simulation game allows a player to be a dictator named El Presidente in charge of a tropical paradise in the Caribbean. It parodies Latin America ‘banana republics’ during the Cold War era. To preserve power, the leader can launch a coup while addressing the needs of his citizens. The Tropico 5 version features El Presidente leading a tropical island nation during the early colonial period up to modern times.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, August 11, 2014)

    Six years ago, fewer than 10,000 Cambodians had a web connection, and it was extremely slow. Today 2.5 million people have Internet access at home, and an additional two million Cambodians go online daily using their smartphones.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, August 11, 2014)

    Indonesian authorities have detained two French journalists since last week, according to news reports. Documentary filmmakers Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were detained after reporting on the separatist movement in the restive eastern region of Papua and have been accused of entering the country illegally on a tourist visa, the reports said.

  • (The Malaysian Insider, Sunday, August 10, 2014)

    DAP will organise nationwide protests to oppose any attempts by Putrajaya to ban or close down popular social networking site Facebook, citing the right for freedom of expression and the federal government's pledge of no Internet censorship.

  • (Reuters, Friday, August 8, 2014)

    Chinese authorities have detained someone for the first time for spreading panic on mobile messaging app WeChat, state media said on Friday, hours after China imposed new rules on instant messaging tools.

  • (Indian Television, Thursday, August 7, 2014)

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that there were and are no plans to impose any censorship on social media or to regulate any programmes beamed through social media. The Minister told the Parliament that the Communication and Information Technology Ministry has given an assurance in this regard.

  • (Asian Correspondent, Thursday, August 7, 2014)

    In the cat-and-mouse game of free flow and control of information, China has made its move against the latest information-sharing technology. China’s Internet Network Information Office on Thursday announced new rules on public accounts for instant messaging services, which say that only established media companies and news portals can release and repost political and social news.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, August 7, 2014)

    China for the first time placed restrictions on instant-messaging services—an increasingly popular platform in the country for discussion and debate. Beijing said the restrictions were instituted to "help build a clean cyberspace" and safeguard national security.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, August 6, 2014)

    Is Google responsible for the suggestions of its “autocomplete” search tool? The company says no, but courts in two countries have suggested otherwise, potentially creating another legal and technical challenge for the search giant. A Hong Kong court Tuesday ruled that Albert Yeung Sau-shing, chairman of the Emperor Group conglomerate, can sue Google for defamation because “autocomplete” suggests searches linking him to organized crime.

  • (Malaysian Digest, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)

    Utusan Malaysia has joined the budding push to censor Internet in Malaysia, basing its support on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s change of heart towards unfiltered access to information online. Citing the former prime minister’s volte face to the guarantees made during his administration to keep the Internet uncensored, the editors of the Umno-owned daily said this sufficed to show that authorities must begin to curb freedom of information online.

  • (Whitsunday Times, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)

    The Abbott government appears another step closer to forcing internet service providers and phone companies to retain users' metadata for up to two years. Plans for data retention, encouraged by Australia's intelligence community, are already being actively considered by the government, as part of a Senate inquiry.

  • (Index on Censorship, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)
    A piece of proposed legislation in the senate in Australia is attempting to wrestle with the legacy of the Snowden leaks with potential implications for media freedom.
     
    In late 2013 information was released to the world that revealed the depth and breadth of the covert architecture in place to monitor and harvest personal data. The unprecedented capabilities and actions of surveillance agencies the world over ignited debate around the nature of privacy in our digital age. But the emergence was not manufactured by the security apparatus or by governments; it was the result of leaked information being published by the press.
     
    Now, a new law proposed by Attorney-General, George Brandis, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (no.1) outlines a number of reforms to “modernise and improve” Australia’s capabilities to tackle national security threats. If passed, it could have significant implications for Australian media.
  • (Times of India, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)

    Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called for the internet to be censored to preserve 'public morality', in what the opposition suggested Saturday was an attempt to silence government critics. Mahathir, who was the country's longest-serving prime minister, in office from 1981 to 2003, remains an influential figure in Malaysian politics.

  • (The Malay Daily Mail Online, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)

    One of Malaysia’s most influential figures, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has gone on record again to express his regret over making the commitment during his ‘reign’ – and there is no better word to describe his premiership – that the country would never censor the Internet.  The ‘no-Internet-censorship’ commitment was part of the Malaysian Government’s promise when it launched the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project, a Dr Mahathir brainchild that was part of greater initiatives that were supposed to propel Malaysia into developed nation status.

  • (Associated Press, Tuesday, August 5, 2014)
    The Chinese government uses expansive controls and propaganda to maintain a virtual monopoly on the narrative in the tense region of Xinjiang, where minority Uighurs complain of oppression under Beijing's rule.
     
    This limits outsiders to a one-sided view on escalating ethnic unrest that has killed dozens of people over the past year and poses a major test to Beijing's rule. "With no independent media coverage, it is easier for the state to demonize its enemies," said Bob Dietz, Asia coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "But the fact that it doesn't allow the rest of the world, foreign and Chinese journalists, to report independently throws the official version of events into disrepute."
     
  • (TechCrunch, Saturday, August 2, 2014)

    Chinese search giant Baidu entered the Brazilian market last week with the launch of a localized Portuguese search engine called Baidu Busca. It’s the second international language version of its website (a Japanese site went live in 2007), and new ones are planned for Egypt and Thailand. With enthusiastic backing from the Chinese Communist Party, Baidu is one of several Chinese tech giants looking to branch out internationally and challenge the primacy of American companies.

  • (Yahoo!, Saturday, August 2, 2014)

    Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called for the Internet to be censored to preserve "public morality", in what the opposition suggested Saturday was an attempt to silence government critics.

  • (The Rakyat Post, Saturday, August 2, 2014)

    The call by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed to censor the Internet was a move by Umno and Barisan Nasional to ensure they retain their rule. In an interview with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) mouthpiece Keadilan Daily, the party’s Communications director, Fahmi Fadzil, said the suggestion was an act of anti-democracy, dictatorship and was tyrannical, and it should be protested against by all.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, August 1, 2014)

    Ilham Tohti, an ethnic Uyghur economist at Beijing’s Central University for Nationalities and editor of the Uygurbiz.com information website, was formally charged on 30 July with “separatism,” a crime that carries the death penalty.

  • (IFEX, Friday, August 1, 2014)

    For the past decade, PEN has campaigned in support of Chinese writers such as imprisoned Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. In May we awarded our PEN / Barbara Goldsmith Award to Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, who is currently detained on unfounded charges of supporting separatism. But popular writers in China are not the only ones under threat. Today, many people in China rush to popular microblogging services to gather information and express themselves. This unique medium is so prevalent and so heavily censored that it has become a field of study unto itself. We sat down with author, editor, and microblog scholar Jason Q. Ng to find out more about this vibrant phenomenon.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, July 31, 2014)

    Winter is coming for Australia's Internet pirates, among the world's most zealous in illegally downloading hit movies and television series such as HBO's blockbuster "Game of Thrones." After months of lobbying from Hollywood studios, local production houses and subscription channel Foxtel, as well as the U.S. ambassador, Australia's conservative government has released a discussion paper for public comment proposing legislative curbs that would force Internet providers to block access to popular downloading websites, in a bid to combat rising enthusiasm for online piracy.

  • (The Economist, Thursday, July 31, 2014)

    It was in a rather brusque and unceremonious fashion that the Cenci Journalism Project, a crowdsourced and volunteer-run media translation site, was systematically removed this month from the Chinese internet. Its website was blocked and erased from domestic search engines. Its private discussion forums were shut down; the personal social media accounts of its founder and executive editor were deleted; and its over 200 volunteers’ social media profiles were renamed and tampered with. Searches for the website's name on the Chinese internet prompted a notice saying that “according to laws, regulations and policy, a portion of your search results cannot be shown”.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, July 30, 2014)
    Last month, an Australian judge issued a super-duper injunction preventing the reporting of bribery allegations which involved south east Asian political figures, and in some cases their family members. The allegations have arisen in a criminal case before the supreme court of Victoria. The super-injunction, which not only prevents publication of the allegations, but the detailed terms of the injunction itself, only came to light because WikiLeaks published the intimate details on July 29.
     
    So while WikiLeaks, anonymous blogs and social media are buzzing with the details of these sweeping court orders, which apply Australia-wide, the mainstream media cannot trespass in this territory for fear of facing proceedings for contempt of court. This is the ludicrous nature of overreaching suppression orders, and this one is to last for five years unless earlier revoked.
     
  • (The Guardian, Tuesday, July 29, 2014)

    A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.

  • (Foreign Policy, Tuesday, July 29, 2014)

    Singapore is testing whether mass surveillance and big data can not only protect national security, but actually engineer a more harmonious society.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, July 29, 2014)

    A Phnom Penh municipal court found Phnom Penh-based British journalist and blogger Rupert Winchester guilty of defamation on 24 July, setting a disturbing precedent just a few months after the leak of a draft cybercrime law that also poses a threat to online freedom of information and expression.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, July 29, 2014)

    New data shows that government and private sector “Internet public opinion analysts” may have the most popular job in China. And the sector is growing rapidly. Different from the “Fifty-Cent Party” who are responsible for channelling public opinions by writing online comments and deleting posts, Internet public opinion analysts use computer software to monitor all the social networking sites, collect netizen opinions and attitudes, compile reports and submit the reports to decision-makers.

  • (IFEX, Monday, July 28, 2014)

    On July 24, 2014, the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern over the hefty financial damages imposed on a blogger in a defamation case in Cambodia. The ruling could have a detrimental effect on online commentary in the country. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday [July 23] convicted Rupert Winchester, a British journalist based in Phnom Penh who runs a personal blog, "The Mighty Penh," of defamation and ordered him to pay 8 million riel (US$2,000) in fines and 100 million riel (US$25,000) in compensation to Etienne Chevenier, a French property developer. In a July 13 statement, the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia said a conviction would "set a bad precedent for blogs and personal commentary on social media in Cambodia." 

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, July 27, 2014)
    The House News, a popular pro-democracy news site in Hong Kong modeled after the Huffington Post, was shut down without warning on July 26. 
     
    Tony Tsoi, a House News co-founder and key investor, announced the closure in a note posted to the site at 5 p.m. He explained that political pressure against critical voices and a lack of advertisers drove his decision to shutter the site. In the shutdown announcement, he said that he is “terrified” by the political atmosphere.
  • (Australia Network News, Saturday, July 26, 2014)

    A campaign to promote improved and more affordable access to the internet in the Pacific has put its case to governments across the region. Founder of Connect the Blue Continent, Chris Sampson, was a delegate to the recent annual general meeting in Marshall Islands of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures. He made a plea for Pacific island governments to prioritise internet infrastructure, systems and skills development.

  • (Privacy International, Saturday, July 26, 2014)

    Last year, UK-based surveillance company Gamma TSE sold the Indonesian military US$ 6.7 million worth of equipment  as part of the military's weapons modernization effort. Since the Indonesian military does not publish spending data, and the UK and German export control regimes do not require companies to disclose the content of their sales in such cases, we do not know. What we do know is that Indonesian government, like many, is buying equipment from companies that sell some of the most invasive products available with little oversight.

  • (The Economic Times, Friday, July 25, 2014)

    Amid huge push for spreading broadband services by the government in the country, Internet industry body ISPAI today said that it along with other associations will run workshops in small towns and cities to train people on setting up telecom and data networks business. "Government is laying out national optical fibre network across all 2.5 lakh panchayats. ISPAI with other industry bodies will start INOG programme to train people in smalls towns and cities on setting up telecom network. They can use NOFN to start their business," Internet Service Provider Association Of India (ISPAI) President Rajesh Chharia told reporters here.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, July 24, 2014)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the hefty financial damages imposed on a blogger in a defamation case in Cambodia. The ruling could have a detrimental effect on online commentary in the country. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday convicted Rupert Winchester, a British journalist based in Phnom Penh who runs a personal blog, "The Mighty Penh," of defamation and ordered him to pay 8 million riel (US$2,000) in fines and 100 million riel (US$25,000) in compensation to Etienne Chevenier, a French property developer, according to the independent daily Phnom Penh Post and local journalists who spoke to CPJ by email.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 23, 2014)

    Line, a popular smartphone messaging app in Asia, unveiled this week a new feature that is reminiscent of Snapchat, a Silicon Valley app that lets users send texts and photos that disappear in seconds. But the new feature, which promises to delete each message from Line’s servers after a certain period of time, is also an indication of how privacy and security are becoming more prominent issues in mobile social networking services — a trend that has helped encrypted messaging apps like Telegram Messenger attract more users.

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, July 22, 2014)

    Talk about prompt customer service. Just hours after The New York Times posted an article about bogus Twitter accounts dedicated to spreading pro-China propaganda — and a Tibetan advocacy group demanded that the company take action — Twitter appears to have hit the kill switch on a score of the suspect accounts. By late Monday night, the accounts of Tom Hugo, Felix James, Alayna Newark and a number of other comely, if oddly named, supporters of China’s contentious ethnic minority policies had been suspended.

  • (South China Morning Post, Tuesday, July 22, 2014)

    As mobile phones become the most widely used devices for internet access across the mainland, rights activists have expressed concerns that online censorship may spill over onto mobile web applications. More than 83 per cent of the 630 million Chinese internet users access the web through their phones, surpassing the number of personal computer users for the first time, according to the latest report by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC). Published yesterday, the half-yearly internet report said instant-messaging apps such as WeChat are the most popular among all the mobile web apps, reaching a user base of close to 460 million, but Weibo and other social networking sites have been losing users since last year.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, July 22, 2014)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the recent termination of a Chinese journalist from a monthly magazine after he wrote for a Hong Kong website. Song Zhibiao's dismissal marks the first publicized case of its kind following recent directives by the Chinese government that bar journalists from cooperating with foreign news agencies, according to The New York Times.

  • (FirstPost, Tuesday, July 22, 2014)

    China will crack down on smartphone apps featuring pornography and obscene content, the government said on Tuesday, the latest move in an official campaign to ‘clean the Internet’. The ruling Communist Party has since last year intensified a campaign against what it calls ‘rumours’ and ‘pornography’ online due to their harmful effect on the country. Critics, however, say the crack down aims to quash anti-government discourse.

  • (The Guardian, Monday, July 21, 2014)

    A two-day “hackathon” plans to harness the technical prowess of Silicon Valley to come up with new ways to get information safely into North Korea. Hack North Korea, scheduled to take place in San Francisco on 2-3 August, is organised by the Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based group that focuses on closed societies.

  • (CircleID, Monday, July 21, 2014)

    The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device — such as a smartphone or tablet — has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. Of those, 527 million — or 83 percent — went online via mobile. Those doing so with a PC made up 81 percent the total.

  • (IFEX, Sunday, July 20, 2014)

    Two defamation lawsuits were filed recently by the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore against online media regarding the publication of articles criticising their roles as leaders in their respective countries.

  • (Associated Press, Saturday, July 19, 2014)
    Critics and journalists raised concerns Saturday about the Thai military government's latest move to tighten its grip on the media by banning them from criticizing the junta's operations and threatening to immediately suspend the broadcast or publication of content that defies the order.
     
    "This is basically a gag order, and it's not just a gag order to the press, but it's extending to anyone in Thailand, especially now that a lot of Thai people use social media to express opinions," said Sarinee, who co-founded Thai Netizen Network, Thailand's first Internet freedom civil society group. "I think it is very dangerous and, to me, it signals that the coup makers may not have a clear idea of who the enemies are."
  • (Global Voices, Friday, July 18, 2014)

    In recent weeks, well-known Vietnamese activists have found themselves suddenly unable to log in to their Facebook accounts. Their personal pages have been suspended for “abuse” even though there was no apparent violation of any Facebook policy. According to Angelina Trang Huynh, who temporarily lost access to her Facebook account earlier this month, the culprit is the Vietnamese government’s online army, known as “opinion shapers” (dư luận viên). These opinion shapers used Facebook's “report abuse” system to orchestrate an onslaught of reports that likely led Facebook to suspend the targeted accounts.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, July 18, 2014)

    Unidentified men attacked dissident blogger and human rights activist Hu Jia as he was returning to his Beijing home on 16 July. The target of permanent police surveillance, Hu believes the attack was prompted by the “Return to Tiananmen Square” online campaign that was launched to mark the pro-democracy movement’s 25th anniversary.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, July 17, 2014)

    Today, the Global Network Initiative launched a campaign to raise awareness on India's Internet laws. The GNI, of which CPJ is a founding member, is a coalition of technology companies--including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo--and human rights groups and Internet freedom advocates. The coalition, in collaboration with the Internet and Mobile Association of India, has created an interactive slideshow that explains the impact of current laws and regulations on the country’s Internet users.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, July 17, 2014)

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who brought a libel suit against the blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling in May, is now trying to rush the case through the courts to prevent a full examination of the evidence.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, July 17, 2014)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a bill introduced in the Australian parliament on Wednesday that could result in journalists being targeted for prosecution and jail for reporting on intelligence information.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, July 16, 2014)
    Australian journalists could face prosecution and jail for reporting Snowden-style revelations about certain spy operations, in an “outrageous” expansion of the government’s national security powers, leading criminal lawyers have warned.
     
    A bill presented to parliament on Wednesday by the attorney general, George Brandis, would expand the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio), including creation of a new offence punishable by five years in jail for “any person” who disclosed information relating to “special intelligence operations”.
  • (The Guardian, Monday, July 14, 2014)

    Apple has denied allegations from the Chinese state broadcaster that the location-tracking function of its iPhones poses a ‘national security threat’. Apple issued a response on its Chinese website stating that the firm has never “worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services".

  • (CIMA, Monday, July 14, 2014)

    On a late spring day in Hanoi, officers from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security launched a sudden raid on the home and business of well-known blogger, Nguyen Huu Vinh, better known as Anh Ba Sam (Vietnamese for “Brother Gossiper”). Vinh and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were detained immediately.

  • (The Guardian, Monday, July 14, 2014)

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has called for a toughening of laws in Australia to force internet service providers to crack down on piracy and copyright theft.

  • (Want China Times, Sunday, July 13, 2014)

    After blocking Google and its services in China in June, China's internet censors blocked the popular networking app Line and Yahoo's photo-sharing platform Flickr on July 1, the day of massive democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong on the 17th anniversary of the territory's return to China. Instagram, the online photo and video sharing platform owned by Facebook, has now undergone a similar fate, reports Duowei, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Wednesday, July 9, 2014)

    Thanapol Eawsakul, editor in chief magazine Fah Diew Gan (Same Sky), a political magazine, was arrested after posting a message on Facebook that displeased the ruling junta. Eawsakul was released on 9 July after four days in jail. The arrest took place after Eawsakul responded to an invitation to meet military officers at a cafe. Upon arrival, he was put in custody. Eawsakul had been previously arrested on 23 May for having participated in a peaceful demonstration opposing the military’s coup d’etat. On that occasion, he spent seven days in jail.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, July 9, 2014)

    Globe International Center strongly denounces the blocking of the news website amjilt.com by the Communications Regulatory Commission (CRC). On July 3, 2014, a journalist posted a story on the site based on photo documentation with the headline, "Khaan Jims resort to be owned by Prime Minister pours its pollution into the Tuul River". The day after the article was posted, the website's managerial personnel received a call from a CRC official. He demanded the removal of the article from the website stating, "I'm calling because of a complaint from Khaan Jims resort."

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Monday, July 7, 2014)

    In early March, Yangon—the former capital of Myanmar (Burma)—played host to a conference held by the East-West Center, called "Challenges of a Free Press." The event (which I attended) featured speakers from around the world, but was more notable for its local speakers, including Aung San Suu Kyi and Nay Phone Latt, a blogger who spent four years as a political prisoner before being released under a widespread presidential amnesty in 2012. In a country where the Internet was heavily censored for many years, online freedom was discussed with surprising openness, although concerns about hate speech on platforms like Facebook were raised repeatedly.

  • (ZDNet, Monday, July 7, 2014)

    For a government that is, at least on the surface, opposed to across the board mandatory internet filtering, the options for dealing with so-called terror websites that are "radicalising" young Muslims in Australia leave it open to bringing back controversy surrounding powers to ask ISPs to block websites with zero public transparency. Last week as the government announced plans to improve the spying powers granted to ASIO in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, Attorney-General George Brandis said he was concerned about websites and social media being used to "radicalise" young Muslims in Australia to go fight in Iraq and Syria.

  • (Seeking Alpha, Monday, July 7, 2014)

    Two of the world's biggest social networking service (SNS) operators are in the headlines as the new week begins, starting with word that Facebook (FB) is moving ahead with its plans to open in China. Meantime, separate reports are saying Japanese-based mobile instant messaging service Line has been disrupted in China, perhaps for carrying sensitive content.

  • (IT News, Friday, July 4, 2014)

    China has expanded its internet censorship activities to further sites operated by western companies, as part of its largest anti-human rights campaign in decades, activists say. Speaking to iTnews, Charlie Smith of transparency organisation Greatfire.org - which provides tools and conduits to bypass Chinese censorship - said Microsoft's OneDrive online storage and Yahoo's Flickr photo sharing sites had both been blocked.

  • (Big News Network, Friday, July 4, 2014)

    In order to discuss possible legal frameworks to enable surveillance of voice and data communications in India, the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) along with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) will hold seven roundtable meetings across the country in the coming weeks on privacy and surveillance issues.

  • (Business Week, Thursday, July 3, 2014)

    Only 5 million of Bangladesh’s 152 million citizens have regular Internet access. Three-quarters live in rural villages. The Infoladies, a group of about 50 women in their early 20s, travel through the countryside equipped with a laptop computer, a tablet, a smartphone, a digital camera, and a glucometer ministering to the technologically impoverished.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, June 30, 2014)

    An Indian man has found himself in trouble for allegedly posting a Facebook comments against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The incident raises serious doubts over online freedom in the world’s biggest democracy. On March 23, shipbuilding professional Devu Chodankar posted in the popular Facebook group Goa+, that if Modi became prime minister, a holocaust “as it happened in Gujarat”, would follow. Modi was the Gujarat chief minister during the 2002 pogrom in which more than 1000 people — most of them Muslims — were killed in communal violence. Chodankar also wrote that it would lead to the Christian community in the state of Goa losing their identity. He later deleted the post. In another Facebook group he regretted his choice of words but stood by the substance of his argument, calling it his crusade against the “tyranny of fascists”. The incident was reported to the police in March by former chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries in Goa Atul Pai Kane, who was close to Modi’s party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He filed a First Information Report (FIR) to the police, under sections 153(A), 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 125 of the People’s Representation Act and 66-A of the Information Technology Act. Under the former, it is a crime to promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., as do acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. Meanwhile, the latter makes it a punishable offence to send messages that are offensive, false or created for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience.

  • (The Tokyo Reporter, Sunday, June 29, 2014)

    To get an overview of Japan’s multitude of available illicit options there’s no better means than the Internet. Prospective punters can peruse sites dedicated to Japanese call-girls, new-half pubs, bars featuring Caucasian women and many other genres. But if you are in South Korea, there can be complications.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, June 27, 2014)

    Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), announced on 25 June that it is creating panels to control media content and to prevent the media from being use to spread false information that could incite hatred and violence against the monarchy.

  • (Access, Thursday, June 26, 2014)

    As the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) nears its close, the Council today adopted a resolution on the “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet,” spearheaded by Sweden, Brazil, Tunisia, Nigeria, Turkey, and the USA. As we noted in our HRC briefing note, this resolution follows up on the Council’s landmark resolution two years ago in affirming that human rights apply online as they do offline.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, June 25, 2014)

    Under Thailand's national web blocking infrastructure, Net users attempting to visit blocked sites in Thailand are redirected to a government web landing page, managed by the country's Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD). After the coup, the country's digital rights group, the Thai Netizen Network, noticed that the TCSD block page had sprouted two new graphics: a blue "close" button, and a "Login with Facebook" icon. Both lead to a misleading-titled "Login" Facebook page, where users were asked for permission to hand over personal information stored in their Facebook profile — without any indication, in Thai or English, as where that data was being sent, or for what purpose. In fact, the "Login" app was being run by TCSD itself, which used Facebook's application platform to collect the details of Facebook users visiting to the landing page.

  • (The Telegraph, Tuesday, June 24, 2014)

    Chinese propaganda chiefs have ordered the country’s heavily controlled media to wipe all mention of an unofficial democracy referendum being held in Hong Kong from newspapers, websites and television screens.

  • (The Diplomat, Tuesday, June 24, 2014)

    Chinese propaganda chiefs have ordered the country’s heavily controlled media to wipe all mention of an unofficial democracy referendum being held in Hong Kong from newspapers, websites and television screens.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, June 24, 2014)

    China's government launched a crackdown on terrorist material online on Friday and took the unusual step Tuesday of broadcasting a documentary on state television including jihadist video clips it said were from Xinjiang militants.

  • (RIA Novosti, Monday, June 23, 2014)

    A new bill to be introduced to Australian parliament in July granting new digital surveillance abilities and plans to develop a mandatory data collection regime, have triggered controversy over privacy, The Guardian reports Monday. The bill includes reforms responding to recommendations made in May 2013 by the federal government’s joint committee on intelligence security. The updates to surveillance laws target several threats, including a startling increase in Australian jihadists.

  • (Vietnam Net, Sunday, June 22, 2014)

    Netizens have been talking about the film "Apartment 69," which is rated by its own producer as 18 +. The first 20-minute episode was released on Youtube on June 5 and by June 18, it had more than 1.5 million hits.

  • (Technology Review, Friday, June 20, 2014)

    Censorship has forced Chinese activists to use increasingly obscure language on social media, isolating themselves from those they hope to reach.

  • (Times of India, Thursday, June 19, 2014)

    A global study has found that Indian web users are most willing to give up the privacy in return for convenience. According to the study, released in India by EMC - a big data and IT storage firm - 61% of Indian respondents indicated that they valued convenience more than privacy. In contrast, only 36% of respondents in Germany valued convenience more than privacy.

  • (The Next Web, Thursday, June 19, 2014)

    Well, that was brief. Back in February, Dropbox was found to have been unblocked in China, but now it seems that the popular cloud-storage service is no longer accessible in the the world’s largest country, according to tweets from users and data from censorship monitoring organization GreatFire.org. The GreatFire database, which continually tests the accessibility of internet links from inside China to identify new blockages, shows that dl.dropbox.com (used for downloading files) is no longer accessible from inside China, which suggests that its apps will no longer work. In addition, the main Dropbox.com appears blocked there too, according to the organization’s analytics.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, June 18, 2014)

    The editor-in-chief of the Benawa website was detained by National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel in southern Kandahar province on Tuesday 17 June 2014, an official said.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, June 18, 2014)

    China's government announced an unusually wide ban on news-gathering activities by Chinese journalists and proposed rules that would muzzle lawyers online, expanding a campaign to exert more control over the public sphere by tightening restrictions on speech.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, June 18, 2014)

    Internet penetration in Nepal has increased to 29.78 percent in recent times mainly due to about 8 million mobile Internet users. But the quality of Internet service by the providers, lack of standards and bad customer service makes the user experience so unpleasant that many users feel that their time, money and resources are wasted, according to blogger Shreedeep Rayamajhi from Kathmandu, Nepal.

  • (The New York Times, Wednesday, June 18, 2014)

    Pakistanis disappointed by Twitter’s decision last month to block content deemed “blasphemous” or “unethical” by their government expressed satisfaction when the company restored access to the blocked text and images early Wednesday. The company, which is based in San Francisco, has the technical means to “withhold content” from users in specific countries in accordance with local laws, and first agreed to do so in response to complaints from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority in May about crude drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, photographs of burning Qurans and messages from a handful of anti-Islam bloggers and three American porn stars.

  • (NTD.tv, Tuesday, June 17, 2014)

    A mainland private labor website introduced circumvention software ---- UltraSurf and Freegate. One of the website founders told our reporter that mainland people introduced the circumvention software to each other. The administrator recommended these two to facilitate users. The US Epoch Times said these two software were developed by overseas Falun Gong practitioners.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tuesday, June 17, 2014)

    On May 25, 2014, a Vietnamese blogger and human rights activist, Tran Thi Nga, was seriously injured during a violent attack in Hanoi, a local human rights organization reported. Tran Thi Nga, a savvy social media user in documenting human right abuses in Vietnam, was returning home after visiting fellow blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy when five men—now suspected to be undercover police members—surrounded her motor bike, on which she was riding with her two children, the report said. The assailants attacked Tran Thi Nga in front of her children and chased her before beating her with a metal pole. The blogger sustained serious injuries to her knee, arm, and back.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, June 16, 2014)

    In Pakistan, where freedom of expression is largely perceived as a Western notion, the Snowden revelations have had a damaging effect. The deeply polarized narrative has become starker as the corridors of power push back on attempts to curb government surveillance. "If the citizens of the United States of America cannot have these rights, how can you? .." is an argument that rights advocate hear way too often. The Snowden revelations quickly became a moment of recognition for those otherwise labeled as conspiracy theorists who believed that all digital transmissions become a tool that can be used by the U.S. government. Unlike, for example, Brazil, which has fought back, the government of Pakistan is working on ways it could replicate a NSA-like model in this country.

  • (IFEX, Monday, June 16, 2014)

    Thailand's military took over the country in a coup d'état last month. As part of its seizure of the apparatus of government, it has also taken steps to extend its control over the country's Internet users. The army immediately "asked for the cooperation" of Thai ISPs to block over 200 new web sites, including independent sites such as Prachatai, and, briefly, Facebook. Global Voices author Aim Sinpeng describes the situation in Thailand as an "information war," adding that the push for censorship is driven by the newly-formed National Peace and Order Maintaining Council's fear that "non-censored information flows could pose further challenges to the military rule and the state on the whole." ISPs and government officials in the country are already talking about re-engineering the country's infrastructure to create a single government-controlled gateway to better allow pervasive site censorship and surveillance. The Thai police have reiterated that even "liking" an online message critical of the junta is a crime.

  • (South China Morning Post, Monday, June 16, 2014)

    With Google bowing to a "right to be forgotten" ruling in Europe, Hong Kong's privacy chief will ask his regional counterparts to join him in pressing the internet search giant to extend the same safeguards to the region. Privacy Commissioner Allan Chiang Yam-wang revealed his plan ahead of the 41st Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum, which opens in Seoul tomorrow. Privacy authorities from 15 jurisdictions including the US, Canada, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand will discuss privacy issues, including last month's European Court of Justice decision.

  • (TechInAsia, Monday, June 16, 2014)

    China’s Ministry of Information and Information Technology (MIIT) intends to lay down new regulations governing Apple’s iMessage, according to Techweb. The measures include tools to monitor and prevent spam messages, which the ministry says are prevalent on the iOS default messaging app. The report says iMessage’s vulnerabilities to spam have cost users “millions” of RMB. Up to this point, TechWeb notes iMessage has been in a “vacuum” area void of regulation.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, June 13, 2014)

    The Royal Thai Army launched a coup on May 22, 2014 after several months of intense clashes between protesters and government supporters. It was the 12th successful coup staged by the army; the last one was in 2006. The coup regime quickly seized control of media outlets, imposed a nighttime curfew, suspended the Constitution, and ordered the temporary detention of many Thai politicians. The army vowed to implement electoral reforms and to stabilize the country’s politics. Although the curfew has been lifted in many places, the media is still strictly regulated. The junta has also banned protests and the public gathering of five or more people.

  • (Al Jazeera America, Wednesday, June 11, 2014)

    Ex-Muslims of North America (link is external), or EXMNA, asked (link is external) Twitter users to join Tuesday's campaign using hashtag #TwitterTheocracy (link is external) to target what they say is Twitter's compliance with Pakistan censorship laws.

  • (Network World, Wednesday, June 11, 2014)

    China makes headlines every other week for its censorship of the Internet, but few people outside the country know what it's like to live with those access controls, or how to get around them. Foreigners who visit the country should expect some headaches. Be prepared to live without Google, Twitter and your favorite daily newspapers, and to have a hard time connecting with friends back home, or even firing off an email. That's how bad it can get.

  • (Foreign Policy, Wednesday, June 11, 2014)

    In a tragic reaction to morphed Facebook pictures of Hindu warrior King Shivaji and late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, a young Muslim man was bludgeoned to death by Hindu extremists in Pune, Maharashtra on the night of June 2. Although Mohsin Shaikh, a 28-year-old technology professional was unconnected to the Facebook posting, he was apparently targeted because of his skullcap. After assaulting Shaikh, the mob reportedly torched and damaged select Muslim-owned bakeries, lending credence to the theory that these attacks were planned, not spontaneous.

  • (Phayul, Tuesday, June 10, 2014)

    Chinese Internet users paid by the government to post comments favorable to the Communist Party (Wumao) have found their duties limited by the censorship set by the government for Chinese netizens. Due to the Internet Censorship Wumaos could not use the words “Tibetan Independence” and had to make do with simply "zd" (zangdu) in condemning Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie who said that Ang Lee is her favorite Taiwanese director and not a Chinese director.

  • (ArsTechnica, Tuesday, June 3, 2014)

    Over the past few days, Chinese authorities have effectively blocked access to many Google services, including the company's search engine, image repository, translation services, Gmail, and “almost all other Google products,” according to GreatFire.org, an independent censorship-monitoring website, which posted a blog entry about the disruptions on Monday. The crackdown on Google services in China comes in advance of the sensitive 25th anniversary of the Chinese government's violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, which took place on June 3 and 4, 1989. In recent weeks, the Chinese authorities have taken aggressive measures against those seeking to commemorate the events of 1989. The government has detained and criminally charged a number of such individuals. “They’re locking up everyone that they can and blocking everything they can, “ Jeremy Goldkorn, director of Danwei, a website that tracks Chinese media developments, told The New York Times. While Google services have been intermittently accessible in mainland China since 2010 (and somewhat more consistently available in the special administrative region of Hong Kong), TCP connections to “almost all” Google IP addresses are being severely disrupted in both regions, according to GreatFire.org.

  • (The New Yorker, Tuesday, June 3, 2014)

    A few years before his arrest, in 2012, I exchanged e-mails with the Vietnamese blogger Le Quoc Quan, a Hanoi-based lawyer who first started blogging in 2005. He told me that his first post, just a sentence long, read: “Oh my fatherland of Vietnam, I want to say something to you!” While working on my book about Internet dissent in the Communist and post-Communist world, I interviewed bloggers in China, Cuba, and Russia who, like Quan, wanted to tell stories that did not appear in the state-controlled media. Quan, whose blogging career started in a small shop that repaired computers and sold pirated software, wrote about a variety of topics, including corruption, anti-China demonstrations, and the arrest of the prominent human-rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh. In 2012, not long after publishing an article that criticized a draft of Vietnam’s constitution, Quan was arrested for tax evasion in a case that was widely viewed as politically motivated. He was sentenced to thirty months in prison, where he remains today. Last month, the popular Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh and his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were both arrested for abuses of “democratic freedoms.” Human Rights Watch called the arrests a “cynical and chilling move.”

  • (Foreign Policy, Monday, June 2, 2014)

    I am a member of the jiulinghou generation: the roughly 135 million Chinese born in the 1990s. We are web-savvy, dig Western movies and pop music, and are the future leaders of China. And we were born after the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989, when Communist Party troops descended on Beijing's central square to bring order to pro-democracy protesters, killing and injuring hundreds or thousands in the process. It was a pivotal moment in Chinese history. Yet a great many of us in this generation know almost nothing about it -- and those who know don't dare to discuss it. Growing up in China in the 1990s, I had always thought only three people occupied the firmament of the People's Republic: Mao Zedong, the founding father; Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's economic reforms in the 1980s; and Jiang Zemin, the president at the time. These were the leaders written in my history books, shown or invoked in newspaper articles, and praised on evening television news programs. I never questioned this narrative until seventh grade, when one of my teachers told our classroom that a few leaders had been "erased" from our recent memory, ousted for sympathizing with student protesters seeking democratic reform. I distinctly recall him saying it all "deteriorated quickly" on June 4, 1989, when military forces entered the square and "at least hundreds of students died."

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Friday, May 30, 2014)

    When Thai Army General Prayuth Chan-Ocha declared martial law on May 20, media workers felt it immediately. By law, they were no longer allowed to report anything negative about the military — not even a downtrend in the stock market. The military took total control on May 22, 2014, calling themselves the “National Council for Peace and Order”. After last week’s coup d’etat, television screens went dark and patriotic songs were broadcast repeatedly through all free channels to replace daily information. For a few days, only the army’s television channel was allowed to report the news — all positive things about the coup, of course. By order of the Council, both online and offline media have been forbidden from criticising the army or sharing content that could be “harmful to national harmony and public order”. ISPs were summoned to report to NCPO. Freedom of expression is Thailand is at stake. I can feel total censorship in the air. Simply criticising the Council could land one before a military court. When media cannot function, the lack of information creates a fertile breeding ground for rumours. Panic has spread rapidly online, with public servants quietly warning their friends and family who are active online that social media could be blocked any minute. There are also rumours that the Internet could be blacked out, although this has not happened yet.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, May 29, 2014)

    China is launching a new month-long crackdown on popular instant messaging platforms including Tencent's WeChat messaging application in the latest campaign targeting social media companies. The move comes in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests on June 4. According to the state media, three government agencies will conduct a month-long “special operation” to monitor WeChat and other platforms. Authorities are asking for tipsters to call or email them. WeChat public accounts will be targeted. Since 2013, WeChat has replaced Weibo as a news source for savvy mobile users in China. Unlike Weibo, WeChat has more than twice as many monthly active users – 396 million – than Sina Weibo's 143.8 million, but most WeChat users send their messages privately rather than sharing them publicly.

  • (Savannah Now, Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Thailand's new military rulers said that a sudden interruption of access to Facebook on Wednesday was not part of a censorship policy, but due instead to a technical hitch. The afternoon blockage, which did not affect all users, lasted for about two hours and came just a day after the new military government announced an Internet crackdown. The junta has banned dissemination of information that could cause unrest, effectively banning criticism of last week's coup. A statement from the junta, called the National Council for Peace and Order, declared that "there is no policy to suspend or close down Facebook." It said an inspection found that there was a "technical error" at the telecommunications gateway that connects Internet service providers to international circuits, and it had ordered the problem fixed.

  • (NPR, Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    China is targeting popular smartphone-based instant messaging services in a monthlong campaign to crack down on the spreading of rumors and what it calls infiltration of hostile forces, in the latest move restricting online freedom of expression. Such services incorporate social media functions that allow users to post photos and updates to their friends, or follow the feeds of companies, social groups or celebrities, and — more worryingly for the government — intellectuals, journalists and activists who comment on politics, law and society. They also post news reports shunned by mainstream media.

  • (Mashable, Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Thailand's military has blocked Facebook in hopes of quieting protests against the coup d'etat it declared last week. The country's information technology ministry announced the block on Wednesday after reports that users were not able to access their Facebook accounts. Initially, authorities said it was a technical glitch, but Surachai Srisaracam, the permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry told Reuters that the block is deliberate."We have blocked Facebook temporarily," he said. "Right now there's a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup"

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, May 27, 2014)

    As news spread in China that a Chinese fishing boat had rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat about 20 miles from a deep sea oil rig that China has placed in waters contested by both countries, the reaction in social media appeared overwhelmingly supportive — even bellicose. Critical voices appeared to be censored, including one that sharply criticized the Chinese Foreign Ministry, saying a comment it made about Vietnam after the incident calling into question the country’s credibility was “beneath the dignity” of a major power. But most commentators whose opinions were permitted to remain online by China’s tens of thousands of censors in the police and Internet companies, seemed excited by the action.

  • (The New York Times, Monday, May 26, 2014)

    A Chinese blogger says he was fired from his job at one of China’s leading Internet companies for his comments during a February meeting in Beijing with the American secretary of state, John Kerry. Zhang Jialong, who worked for Tencent Financial, said he was notified last week that he was being dismissed for “leaking business secrets and other confidential and sensitive information.” (Mr. Zhang revealed his dismissal in a blog post on Friday. The website China Change has posted an English translation.)

  • (The New York Times, Saturday, May 24, 2014)

    US officials are considering using visa restrictions to prevent Chinese hackers from attending popular summer hacker conferences in Las Vegas, as part of a broad effort to curb Chinese cyber espionage, a senior administration official said on Saturday. The official said the US government could use such visa restrictions and other measures to keep Chinese nationals from attending the Def Con and Black Hat conferences in August, to help maintain pressure on China after the US this week charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into US nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets.

  • (Demokrasya, Friday, May 23, 2014)

    Today, the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology met to tackle House Bill No. 1086, or the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (#MCPIF), of Rep. Kimi Cojuangco and House Bill No. 1100, or the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Users, by Rep. Terry Ridon. During the discussion, Rep. Cojuangco delivered her remarks on the need for #MCPIF. Thereafter, she requested Democracy.Net.PH co-convenors, Engr. Pierre Tito Galla and Atty. Francis Acero, to elaborate on the provisions of the #MCPIF. Democracy.Net.PH stressed the importance of the #MCPIF as the first crowd-sourced bill and explained that it represented a wish list of Philippine netizens for ICT in the country.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, May 23, 2014)

    After the failure of talks between the opposing political factions, the Thai army announced in a nationally televised message yesterday that it was taking control of the government “in order for the country to return to normality quickly.” The television networks are now limited to relaying news and information from the army (see video). Foreign network transmissions have been blocked nationwide. Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS), a public network, tried to broadcast its programs via YouTube, but was shut down by military personnel, who then arrested the network’s deputy director, Wanchai Tantiwithayapitak.

  • (The Index on Censorship, Friday, May 23, 2014)

    “Keep quiet and carry on” is the slogan that can best describe China’s take on the approaching 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. This is the yearly Tiananmen anniversary crackdown, and people within China know what to expect; slower internet, blocked search terms, more military personnel in public and the arrest of high profile individuals. But this year’s crackdown appears particularly thorough, either a reaction to dissent being higher than usual or a perception that it is in light of the milestone anniversary. The Chinese government has already jailed scores of lawyers, activists and intellectuals, sending a chilling message to any other would-be agitators.

  • (The New York Times, Thursday, May 22, 2014)

    At least five times this month, a Pakistani bureaucrat who works from a colonial-era barracks in Karachi, just down the street from the former home of his country’s secularist founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, asked Twitter to shield his compatriots from exposure to accounts, tweets or searches of the social network that he described as “blasphemous” or “unethical.” All five of those requests were honored by the company, meaning that Twitter users in Pakistan can no longer see the content that so disturbed the bureaucrat, Abdul Batin of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority: crude drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, photographs of burning Qurans, and messages from a handful of anti-Islam bloggers and an American porn star who now attends Duke University.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, May 22, 2014)

    This week, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demanded an apology from a critical blogger who has allegedly accused him of corruption. Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, who is also a healthcare worker, has frequently posted critical commentary on the ruling People's Action Party on his blog, The Heart Truths. The post that has landed him in hot water--the prime minister's lawyer called it defamatory--explores issues around the government's Central Provident Fund (CPF), a compulsory savings plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents to help fund their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs.

  • (Index on Censorship, Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

    Indians, ever a chatty lot, are obsessed with the idea of being obsessed with social media. That is why, as the BJP’s stunning victory in the Indian general elections was declared, the news media immediately began to examine the impact of social media campaigning in the elections. Numbers aside, the victory over social media has revealed the fault lines of Indian society as it stands today.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

    Two men who claim to be from online group Anonymous have been arrested in Perth and Sydney for allegedly hacking into Australian and international websites. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the men were arrested after searches of their homes in Penrith, New South Wales, and Scarborough, Western Australia. Several computer hard drives and other equipment were seized, and it is expected to take several months to analyse the items due to the amount of information stored on them.

  • (Bolo Bhi, Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

    Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a  collaborative venture by law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation that collects and analyzes legal complaints about online activity, posted online five requests made to Twitter by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). The requests were made between May 5-14, 2014 and cite the Pakistan Penal Code as legal justification for content removal. These requests were entertained as per Twitter’s ‘Country Withheld Content’ tool , which entertains requests from government and law enforcement agencies to have potentially illegal content and accounts removed or restricted in the country making the request.

  • (The Guardian, Tuesday, May 20, 2014)

    China's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador on Tuesday after the US indicted five Chinese military-affiliated hackers for stealing commercial secrets in an unprecedented cyber-espionage case. China's foreign ministry called the allegations preposterous and accused the US of double standards. The assistant foreign minister, Zheng Zeguang, summoned the US ambassador, Max Baucus, to lodge a formal complaint, according to state media. The authorities in Beijing also suspended China's role in a joint anti-cybertheft group with Washington.

  • (The New York Times, Monday, May 19, 2014)

    The indictments of five Chinese military hackers by the Justice Department on Monday has raised questions of what actions, if any, American officials plan to take against members of the more than 20 other hacking units that American officials and their partners are currently tracking inside China. “If you look at all the groups that we track in China, this is just the very tip of the iceberg,” said George Kurtz, a co-founder of Crowdstrike, a private security firm that has been tracking the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 and other hacking groups in China. “The indictments are just one piece of a broader puzzle.”

  • (IFEX, Monday, May 19, 2014)

    The South Korean government has adopted an aggressive interpretation of their copyright law to block websites in the name of copyright enforcement. In practice, this emulates the kinds of extreme provisions that were in the defeated U.S. SOPA bill. Its takedown system mirrors the SOPA provision on copyright holders being empowered to compel Internet service providers (ISPs) to block foreign sites through a simple allegation of copyright infringing uses of their platform. Recent cases have revealed a blocking system where agencies now skirt due process and take down websites without even a prior warning to site owners. 

  • (The Raw Story, Sunday, May 18, 2014)

    A Chinese official in charge of regulating the Internet has said Beijing must strengthen Internet security because “overseas hostile forces” are using the Internet to “attack, slander and spread rumors”, state media said on Sunday. Wang Xiujun, the deputy director of the China National Internet Information Office, said political security is fundamental, reported The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Wang’s remarks coincide with a broad crackdown on online freedom of expression that has intensified since President Xi Jinping came to power last year. The crackdown has drawn criticism from rights advocates at home and abroad.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, May 16, 2014)

    Members of the Right to Know Right Now! Coalition (R2KRN) launched an online signature campaign addressed to the Aquino administration to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. The campaign began on May 14, 2014 and will end a week before the President's State of the Nation Address in July 2014.  The petition aims to express "collective clamor for President (Benigno III) Aquino and Speaker (Feliciano Jr) Belmonte to exercise leadership and act decisively to pass the FOI bill."  Ed Chua, Makati Business Club trustee, said that an FOI law "will be instrumental in changing this situation (corruption). We strongly believe that putting in place the proper measures especially freedom of information will attract higher level of investments which will generate more jobs for our countrymen…." 

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Thursday, May 15, 2014)

    June 5th marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the Edward Snowden revelations–a landmark event in global awareness of the worldwide spying machine. It has been a year where the world has learned that the NSA and its four closest allies in the Five Eyes partnership (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) have been spying on much of the world's digital communications. What have we learned?

  • (The Jakarta Globe, Thursday, May 15, 2014)

     Indonesia’s film and tech communities gasped collectively on Monday when Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring tweeted from his personal account that video sharing site Vimeo would be banned. As the week wore on, anger mingled with bafflement as some Internet service providers (ISPs) blocked the site while others did not. The ministry refrained from clarifying its position. The ban came at a moment when films made in Indonesia had begun to attract attention on the world stage, with Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” joining the ranks of the most acclaimed documentaries of all time, Daniel Ziv’s “Jalanan” taking the victory for best documentary at the Busan festival in South Korea and Gareth Evans’ martial arts thriller, “The Raid 2,” showing on big screens around the globe.

  • (Deutsche Welle, Thursday, May 15, 2014)

    While Cambodia's government considers a new law that would impose stiff penalties for online communications the government doesn't like, democratic Thailand continues to jail people for posts that criticize the monarchy. Myanmar has abolished some of the world's most restrictive censorship laws, but it is now struggling with hate speech online and its government appears unsure about what to do. Laos and Vietnam continue their repression of voices that could challenge one-party rule. Vietnam has a large and flourishing online community, but posting about certain topics can result in jail time. Underdeveloped Laos is just starting to come online, but authorities there appear ready to follow their Chinese and Vietnamese neighbors in regulating online speech.

  • (Slate, Wednesday, May 14, 2014)

    Internet service providers in New Zealand have new surveillance legislation to comply with, and it makes it more obvious that big brother is watching. Meanwhile, governments in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere are working to mitigate a similar image in the wake of revelations by Edward Snowden. The Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act (TICSA) requires ISPs and other telecommunications services to register with New Zealand's police force, and disclose how many connections they provide in total, how many customers they have, and what their geographic scope is. This is meant to allow law enforcement agencies to have unhindered access to customer data.

  • (CorpWatch, Tuesday, May 13, 2014)

    A Pakistani court has set a June 5 court date to hear a lawsuit from ‘Bytes for All’ - a digital rights group - for the alleged use of FinFisher spy software by the Pakistani government. The software is manufactured by Gamma International, an Anglo-German company. FinFisher software is sold exclusively to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The software can install malware on a target’s computer and mobile devices without their knowledge to monitor email, chats, and even turn on webcams and microphones. The interceptor can also steal passwords, online account information, break encryption and gain access to wireless networks.

  • (Al Jazeera, Sunday, May 4, 2014)

    Once a week, Ou Ritthy and a circle of young, like-minded netizens pick a shop from the capital's burgeoning selection of trendy cafés and come together to debate the latest apps, gadgets, social media trends - and politics. One of Cambodia's best-known bloggers, Ritthy has been hosting this "politikoffee" since 2011. With their help, that debate is moving increasingly online. The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications recently said 3.8 million of the country's roughly 15 million people were using the Internet in 2013, a 42.7 percent jump from the previous year. In 2011, Internet use skyrocketed more than 500 percent. But a leaked draft of the government's Cybercrime Law has bloggers such as those in Ritthy's group worried that Prime Minister Hun Sen and his long-ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) are cutting off one of the last remaining outlets for political debate in the country.

  • (The Express Tribune, Saturday, May 3, 2014)

    The Sindh High Court directed, on Friday, the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication and the Pakistan Telecomm-unication Authority (PTA) to act in accordance with the provisions of the national telecommunication act, relating to internet freedom. Headed by the Chief Justice, Maqbool Baqar, the two-judge bench passed the direction while hearing a constitutional petition against ‘increasing state censorship’ and the curbs on internet freedom in the country. A group of seven citizens, which includes civil campaigners, activists, bloggers and a politician, had gone to the court against the allegedly unchecked increase in internet censorship.

  • (Article 19, Friday, May 2, 2014)

    In its report Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh ARTICLE 19 has recorded a total of 271 attacks in 2013: 258 against journalists and 13 against online activists. The report expresses alarm at increased hostility towards women through 2013, with 27 incidents of gender-based attacks, including attacks on their physical integrity. Religious fundamentalist groups have emerged as an increasing threat to the safety of journalists and online activists and as a force against pluralism, gender equality, non-violence and diversity.

  • (Radio Free Asia, Thursday, May 1, 2014)

    The United States will raise the issue of Vietnam’s persistent crackdown on bloggers at a bilateral human rights dialogue this month, a senior official said Thursday, as six Vietnam-based bloggers expressed concerns in Washington over harsh restrictions on Internet freedom in the one-party communist state. “We will be raising these issues with the representatives of Vietnam, because we believe these issues have to be addressed,” Scott Busby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said, speaking on a panel hosted by Radio Free Asia, Reporters Without Borders, and other groups ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

  • (France24, Thursday, May 1, 2014)

    Pakistan's strict online censorship policy has drawn criticism from human rights groups. But while sites like YouTube are banned, Islamist sites proliferate, policed by committed groups of pro-censorship conservatives. At an Internet café in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, students try to get uninterrupted access to the Internet. But for many Pakistanis, it’s a futile exercise. "This site is blocked, we don't have access to it," explained a student, staring at a page with a message that read: “This website is not accessible. The site you are trying to access contains content that is prohibited for viewership within Pakistan.”

  • (Index on Censorship, Thursday, May 1, 2014)

    India was among the few governments that did not sign the NETmundial outcome statement. But why does it seem that the world’s largest democracy is not putting its weight behind a “bottom-up, open, and participatory” multistakeholder process? In his address to the NETmundial gathering, Vinay Kwatra, the official Indian representative said, “We recognize the important role that various stakeholders play in the cyber domain, and welcome involvement of all legitimate stakeholders in the deliberative and decision making process. Internet is used for transactions of core economic, civil and defence assets at national level and in the process, countries are placing their core national security interests in this medium. Now with such expansive coverage of States’ activities through the internet, the role of the governments in the Internet governance, of course in close collaboration and consultation with other stakeholders is an imperative.”

  • (Reuters, Monday, April 28, 2014)

    There can be no Internet freedom without order, China's top Communist Party newspaper said on Monday after several U.S. television shows were pulled from Chinese video sites, the latest signs of Beijing's tightening grip on online content. The removal of the shows coincides with a broad crackdown on online freedom of expression that has intensified since President Xi Jinping came to power last year and drawn criticism from rights advocates at home and abroad.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, April 25, 2014)

    Two Thailand-based reporters for online news and tourism magazine Phuketwan have been sued by the Royal Thai Navy for defamation and an alleged violation of the Computer Crimes Act 2007, which covers defamation, data-related crimes, and Thailand's infamous lèse majesté policy against criticizing the King. If convicted, the men could face up to seven years in jail. The lawsuit was filed last December, five months after Phuketwan posted a story about the plight of Rohingya refugees written by Chutima Sidasathian. The news story included multiple quotes from a Reuters’ investigative report alleging that certain Thai officials have been involved in the illegal trafficking of Rohingya refugees.

  • (Voxy, Thursday, April 24, 2014)

    The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and freedoms for Internet users, as well as providing for an Internet Rights Commissioner and a Chief Technology Officer for the country.

  • (The Guardian, Thursday, April 24, 2014)

    The idea of living in a world where government agencies could almost instantaneously track down journalists’ sources, no matter what the public interest considerations are, seems like a chilling prospect. But it's also largely the state of affairs that journalists now find themselves subject to in Australia. The Telecommunications Interception and Access Act 1979 is so broad and poses such low limitations on state and federal government agencies that it is a remarkably easy feat for governments to track down a journalist's sources, and to take swift and decisive action against them.

  • (Bloomberg View, Wednesday, April 23, 2014)
    Twenty years ago this week, China became the 77th country to connect to the Internet. It was a late and modest start -- a single network in Beijing’s then-outskirts made the connection -- but growth since then has been spectacular. China is now home to the world’s largest population of Internet users. Its social media platforms are some of the world’s most innovative. And its premier online marketplace -- Alibaba -- is about to launch what will probably be this year's most valuable initial public offering. If these were the only tales to tell about the Chinese Internet, this anniversary would be worth celebrating. But, of course, each of these triumphs took place against a backdrop of stifliing censorship that has limited free expression in China and inspired autocratic regimes around the world. Indeed, according to a timeline posted by the state-owned Shanghai Daily, the first major effort to regulate the Chinese Internet occurred less than four years after it was founded.
     
  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Wednesday, April 23, 2014)

    It's not the first time, and it likely won't be the last: Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal has demonstrated little tolerance for criticism of its activities. Last week, the tribunal launched contempt of court proceedings against Dhaka-based British journalist David Bergman for his blog posts on the court. On April 17, Bergman, an editor for the local English-language daily New Age, appeared before the domestic tribunal and was ordered to provide written explanation within 15 days as to why he should not face punitive measures such as a jail term, fine, or both.

  • (The Indian Express, Tuesday, April 22, 2014)

    India is going to press for a “new cyber jurisprudence” independent of political compulsions in an effort to deal with cyber crimes, an internal government note has said. This proposal will be made at the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 23-24. Accessed by The Indian Express, the government’s submission to the meeting states, “A mechanism for accountability should be put in place in respect of crimes committed in cyberspace, so the internet is a free and secure space for universal benefaction. A ‘new cyber jurisprudence’ needs to be evolved to deal with cyber crime, without being limited by political boundaries, so cyber-justice can be delivered in near real time.”

  • (Bolo Bhi, Monday, April 21, 2014)

    The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously passed a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Afrasiab Khattak had earlier tabled a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube but it did not make it to the Senate’s agenda. Today, the committee unanimously passed the resolution. During the committee session,  Senator Khattak mentioned the PTA Chairman had appeared before the committee and submitted his comments on the YouTube ban earlier. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, citing PTA Chairman’s statement said no filtering mechanism could ensure blocking of all objectionable content online 100%. Senator Hussain also pointed out no other Muslim country has banned YouTube, not even Saudi Arabia.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, April 18, 2014)

    A small corruption case in southern China, recently unearthed by the dogged Southern Weekly newspaper, offers an illuminating peek at one corner of China’s shadowy Internet-censorship machinery. A story published Thursday but since removed from the Southern Weekly website, calls attention to the conviction in December of Wei Yining, a former official with the Internet division of the Haikou police, on charges of accepting a little over 700,000 yuan ($112,000) in bribes. The notion of a policeman taking bribes is hardly noteworthy in a country where even teachers routinely exchange favors for cash. And on the Richter scale of Chinese graft, the amount Mr. Wei is accused of taking registers somewhere in the range of a pond ripple. What is notable, however, is who was bribing him and why.

  • (The Washington Post, Thursday, April 17, 2014)

    China has unfurled a vigorous new campaign to clean up the Internet, to purge it of everything from pornography to “rumors” that might undermine Communist Party rule, a crusade that critics say is a renewed attempt to silence grass-roots voices and stifle dissent. Censorship of the media and Internet is routine in China, but controls on online freedom of expression have been steadily strengthened since Xi Jinping took over as president last year. The new campaign appears to represent a further tightening of the screws, part of a bid to bend the Web to the will and values of the Communist Party — to ensure, in the words of blogger Zhang Jialong, that “party organs, and not the Chinese grass roots, have the loudest voice on the country’s Internet.”

  • (Index on Censorship, Thursday, April 17, 2014)

    In an attempt to offer support to the government of Pakistan, Article 19 and Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan dissected the draft legislation to point out the provisions that need to be amended, and to help the government conform to international human rights norms. It is mandatory at this point to pressure the government to put in place better internet legislation in order to avoid future misuse of the legal framework, as has happened with other laws. A leading example of how such poorly devised laws help authorities abuse power is the Monitoring and Reconciliation of International Telephone Traffic Regulations (MRITT), also known as the Grey Traffic legislation. Passed in 2010 to help the government ban anonymous communication and VPN usage, MRITT mandates the monitoring and blocking of any encrypted and unencrypted traffic that originates or terminates in Pakistan, including phone calls and data.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, April 17, 2014)

    The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the Chinese internet regulators for restraining people's freedom to comment on the trial of a prominent microblogger, who admitted in court to charges of rumour-mongering on the net.  Qin Zhihui, known in cyber space by his penname as "Qinhuohuo", admitted on April 11, 2014 to charges of spreading rumors at Chaoyang District People's Court in Beijing. Qin was accused of creating and spreading rumors about several celebrities, including popular television hostess Yang Lan, and a former Minister of Railways who had been convicted of corruption. Qin's trial, covering offences that he allegedly committed between December 2012 and August 2013, was televised via the microblog service Weibo. 

  • (Access, Wednesday, April 16, 2014)

    Last month Telstra became the first non-U.S. telco to release a regular report on government and law enforcement requests for user data. Access has long called for all telcos to release their own statistics and policies on government requests for user data, and we are encouraged by the growing international momentum toward transparency in the telecom sector. Access welcomes Telstra’s commitment to transparency reporting, and urges Australia’s largest telco to release future reports that are progressively more comprehensive and detailed.

  • (IFEX, Monday, April 14, 2014)

    In weeks where Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia has publicly praised the importance of freedom of speech in relation to the repeal of a section of the Racial Discrimination Act (18C) it might seem strange that civil servants caught criticising the government, or PM, can be sanctioned for illicit social media use. But to look at the two and suggest it implies gross, implicit hypocrisy, as some have, is not the most nuanced interpretation; however, the new policy code, which actually only applies to one government department bears looking at. The new guidelines, Social Media Policy of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, outline what can and cannot be done on social media by employees and seem at pains to cover all bases while also being remarkably intrusive compared with other similar government documents. 

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, April 14, 2014)

    Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that two netizens who had spent several years in prison – Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung – were released on 11 and 12 April respectively although they are now assigned to a form of house arrest. Arrested in October 2010, Hoi was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison on a charge of anti-government propaganda under article 88 of the 1999 penal code for writing articles critical of the state. A former Communist Party official who ran a training centre in the northern province of Lang Son, he is now due to spend three years under house arrest.

  • (Tech Times , Saturday, April 12, 2014)

    Anyone living outside India who thinks censorship of Facebook is bad, think again. India was named the top aggressor against the social networking site and users who post content. While the country is not known for its crackdowns on free speech to the same degree as other nations, it more than doubled its content restrictions over the next-worst country, Turkey. While Facebook has only previously released information about government's requests for information concerning a certain user, this new report gave detailed information about those who demand content restrictions be implemented.

  • (Al Jazeera, Friday, April 11, 2014)

    Just before former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from Tunis in January 2011, he addressed his citizens one last time in a seven-minute speech in which he promised "rejection of all forms of censorship". Sure enough, within just a few hours, the internet - which had long been heavily censored - was open and for the first time Tunisians were able to access whatever they wanted to freely. Like Tunisia, Myanmar has recently emerged from the clutches of dictatorship and is slowly taking its first steps toward democracy. Nearly three years ago, after decades of military rule, the country began a transition toward civilian rule. A year later, prior restraint of the media was abolished and the internet - once among the most restricted in the world - opened up.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, April 11, 2014)

    Cambodian netizens and human rights groups are speaking out against an anti-cybercrime bill containing provisions that could undermine freedom of expression. Although the government has refused to comment on the bill, London-based media advocacy group Article 19 obtained a leaked, unofficial English translation of the draft. The government first announced its intention to pass an anti-cybercime law in 2012 but has held no public consultations about the proposal for the past two years.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, April 11, 2014)

    Cambodian netizens and human rights groups are speaking out against an anti-cybercrime bill containing provisions that could undermine freedom of expression. Although the government has refused to comment on the bill, London-based media advocacy group Article 19 obtained a leaked, unofficial English translation of the draft. The government first announced its intention to pass an anti-cybercime law in 2012 but has held no public consultations about the proposal for the past two years.

  • (The New York Times, Thursday, April 10, 2014)

    In September 2012, the Pakistani government expanded a ban on some YouTube contributors to a blockage of the whole video-sharing site, because the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” had appeared on it. Eighteen months later, the ban remains, exposing a simmering struggle within Pakistan over the basic issue of freedom of expression and information that could be decided in court next month. What the Pakistani government doesn’t realize is that its attempts to restrict the Internet have already provoked the growth of the very digital counterculture that it has sought to control. And even if they lose in court, that counterculture’s members are going to become only more determined to communicate on the Internet, using its many alternative channels if they have to.

  • (Index on Censorship, Thursday, April 10, 2014)

    Bangladesh witnessed the internet take on an increasing role in its socio-political sphere in 2013. Usage trends swung more toward heart-warming positives, in contrast to the country’s regulatory precedents, which despite policymakers facilitating net use via cheaper connections and better infrastructure, have been mostly negative. Common people felt empowered using the internet. Last February, tens of thousands of people were gathered, inspired by blog posts and social media to protest for the first time in the country’s history. At the same time, religious zealots started attacking online activists, and policymakers initiated the use of a draconian ICT (information and communication technology) act to clamp down on opposition, thus threatening digital freedom of expression overall.

  • (Article 19, Wednesday, April 9, 2014)

    ARTICLE 19 is deeply concerned about Cambodia’s Draft Cybercrime Law, which falls well below international standards on the rights to freedom of expression, information and privacy. If passed in its current form, there is a serious risk that Cambodia’s currently free online space will backslide into the country’s deep-seated culture of secrecy and self-censorship. ARTICLE 19 obtained a copy of the Draft Law despite the attempts of the Cambodian Government to keep it secret.

  • (The Express Tribune, Monday, April 7, 2014)

    The alleged set-up of a surveillance technology, FinFisher, in Pakistan was challenged before the Lahore High Court on Sunday. The petitioner, Bytes for All chairman Shahzad Ahmad, said that FinFisher software was being used to monitor and obtain information from citizens by placing the Trojan software on their computers. He said the fundamental right to privacy was in danger. His counsel, Yasser Latif Hamdani, submitted a recent public report, issued on April 30, 2013, by the international watchdog Citizen Lab, which indicated that Pakistan was one of the 36 countries that had FinFisher command and control systems.

  • (Future Gov, Monday, April 7, 2014)

    With the support of Ministry of Education, the ‘eLibrary Myanmar’ project will for the first time provide local academics and students online access to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary collection of scholarly resources. The project is funded by the Open Society Foundations’ Higher Education Support programme and is implemented by EIFL, an international not-for-profit organisation working with libraries around the world to enable sustainable access to digital information. Burmese academics and students will have direct access to a comprehensive range of high quality digital resources, including journals, books and reference materials.

  • (Radio New Zealand, Thursday, April 3, 2014)
    The Fiji Law Society says a decree provision allowing phone monitoring in the days before the election is open to abuse. Section 63 of the Electoral Decree says any person is prohibited from communicating political messages by telephone, internet, email, social media or other electronic means 48 hours before polls open. Violating the decree can result in a 27,000 US dollar fine, or 10 years in jail.
  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Thursday, April 3, 2014)

    EFF has closely followed the Philippines Republic Act No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act, since it was passed in September 2012. This controversial Act has been attacked by journalists and rights groups who oppose its draconian legislation, in particular, the libel provision that criminalizes anonymous online criticism. In October 2012, activists in the Philippines took to social media and—taking a cue from the PIPA/SOPA protests—campaigned for website blackouts to encourage action against the law. Then in 2013, a crowdsourced document called the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom was brought to the Senate that, if passed, could have repealed the Act.

  • (The Economist, Tuesday, April 1, 2014)

    A SURVEY conducted in recent months in 17 countries for BBC World Service by GlobeScan, a polling company, suggests a few surprising differences in how Chinese and many Westerners view their freedoms. Some of the results of the poll will not surprise anyone who has heard of Edward Snowden: a majority of Americans and Germans feel they are not free from government surveillance or monitoring, and only a third of Americans and Canadians, 38% of Britons and 27% of Germans feel the internet is a safe place to express their opinions. 

  • (Global Voices, Monday, March 31, 2014)

    After they were attacked and beaten by a mob, two teenage bloggers were arrested for allegedly posting “derogatory comments against Islam and Prophet Mohammad” on their Facebook accounts, according to Bangladesh's English daily Dhaka Tribune. Fellow bloggers allege that an Islamist student organization distributed false propaganda material which rallied the mob against the two bloggers and led to their arrest. The mainstream media has largely refrained from reporting this story.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, March 28, 2014)

    China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) has started to crack down on online TV shows by introducing a policy of “censor first, broadcast later” for local Internet companies.According to the new rule, online companies will have to employ government-approved censors to monitor content before all streaming videos go public. Investors and operators from the companies who stream content that has not been officially approved will be warned, fined or punished with a ban on streaming content for up to five years.

  • (Bolo Bhi, Thursday, March 27, 2014)

    There is a strong reason to believe now that the traffic for our gateways is being managed by Netsweeper. The research revolves around one of the key gateways that handles network traffic for Karachi, namely the following server: khi77.pie.net.pk (202.125.134.154) From within Pakistan, any attempt to access this server results in an access block. However, when accessing this very same server from _outside_ of Pakistan such as the US, results in the following screen being rendered in browser (with a self signed certificate). 

  • (Wired , Thursday, March 27, 2014)

    The NSA’s global spy operation may seem unstoppable, but there’s at least one target that has proven to be a formidable obstacle: the Chinese communications technology firm Huawei, whose growth could threaten the agency’s much-publicized digital spying powers.The NSA and other U.S. agencies have long been concerned that the Chinese government or military — Huawei’s founder is a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army — may have installed backdoors in Huawei equipment, enabling it for surveillance. But an even bigger concern is that with the growing ubiquity of Huawei products, the NSA’s own surveillance network could grow dark in areas where the equipment is used. For that reason, as the latest Snowden revelations showed last week, the spy agency reportedly hacked Huawei as part of an operation launched in 2007. The plan involved stealing source code for some of Huawei’s products in the hope of finding vulnerabilities. Such security holes could allow the NSA to exploit the products and spy on traffic in countries where Huawei equipment is used — such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, and Cuba.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, March 26, 2014)

    Mark Thompson, the chief executive of the New York Times, has hit out at rival Bloomberg for saying it shouldn't have published investigative news stories criticising China, because they jeopardise huge revenue opportunities in the world's second biggest economy.Thompson was responding to comments made by Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg, in a speech to the Asia Society last week.Grauer said that Bloomberg should focus on its core business news product, and that sensitive investigative stories had jeopardised its commercial expansion in China.

  • (Index on Censorship, Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

    The Chinese government has revealed it is expanding their censorship of the internet with a new training programme for the estimated two million “opinion monitors” Beijing organised last year.Training will target civil servants in all aspects of government – from the police force to the judiciary, to academic institutions, and even to the press offices in large and medium sized enterprises, many of which are state-owned, according to the offical state news agency Xinhua. Once trained, monitors will “supervise” the posting of social media messages, deleting those that are deemed harmful. Beijing claims to have deployed “advanced filtering technology” to identify problematic posts, and will need to “rapidly filter out false, harmful, incorrect, or even reactionary information,” according to Xinhua.

  • (Article 19, Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

    Article 19 and Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan are concerned about the draft Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of Pakistan 2014 (Draft Law) currently being prepared for presentation before the Pakistani Parliament. Although the Draft Law contains a number of welcome procedural safeguards, several provisions violate international standards on freedom of expression. We therefore call on the Pakistani Government to amend the Draft Law in accordance with our recommendations below before submitting it for Parliament’s consideration. The Draft Law, which has been drafted by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, establishes specific computer crimes and procedural rules for the investigation, prosecution and trial of these offences.

  • (Renesys, Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

    Three years after the government opened up the country to the outside world, the telecommunications sector of Myanmar recently reached a tremendous milestone in its development. On March 8th, Telenor of Norway established Myanmar’s first independent international Internet connection. Prior to a few weeks ago, all international Internet access to Myanmar had been handled through the state-run telecommunications firm, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT). Telenor was one of two international telecommunications companies to secure a license to operate in what is considered the last green field of the telecom world: an undeveloped country with little or no telecommunications infrastructure. Myanmar is the 24th most populous country on earth with 60 million people, but is also one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, March 24, 2014)

    For many years, the Indian public in particular, had very little interest in who controlled the internet and decisions taken at a structural level that shaped its future. Over the last few years, however, as the Indian experience with the internet has matured, questions of governance, both internally and externally have started making headlines. Allegations of mass surveillance have hogged all headlines. Another factor cannot be missed: the Indian digital economy is growing rapidly, and while internet governance is nowhere close to being an election issue in India, domestically, access, freedom of expression, cyber crime and cyber security are growing concerns. There also the reality that as India’s population gets increasingly connected, it will host one of the biggest online demographies in the world. Therefore, India’s views and actions in terms of how the internet should grow and be governed is crucial to the future of the internet itself.

  • (Reuters, Monday, March 17, 2014)

    Twitter Inc CEO Dick Costolo will meet Shanghai government officials, academics and students in his first visit to China, signaling Twitter's interest in cracking a lucrative but thorny market with 600 million Internet users. Twitter, which has been blocked by Chinese censors since 2009, described the trip as a personal tour for Costolo, who is due to land at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport on Monday and plans to spend three days in the business capital. He is not scheduled to visit Beijing.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Saturday, March 15, 2014)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s arrest of Huang Qi, the director of the independent news website 64 Tianwang, and last week’s arrests of three citizen-journalists who are contributors to the site and who are still detained. They were arrested in connection with their coverage of protests and other actions that “petitioners” staged in Tiananmen Square in an attempt to draw the attention of officials participating in the annual National People’s Congress, which began last week and ended yesterday.

  • (Reuters, Friday, March 14, 2014)

    Chinese authorities have launched another crackdown on Tencent Holdings Ltd's popular social messaging app WeChat, closing dozens of popular accounts, media reported on Friday, as China tightens its control of the Internet. China Business News and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said some of the accounts closed were run by widely-read columnists like investigative journalist Luo Changping, some of which have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.The accounts were closed on Thursday, the newspapers said, the same day Premier Li Keqiang held a news conference in Beijing marking the end of the yearly meeting of parliament.

  • (Business Standard, Tuesday, March 11, 2014)

    To cripple the misuse of mobile phone services by terrorists, the Defence Ministry has asked the Department of Telecom to selectively ban mobile Internet in some places considered 'hot spots' in Jammu and Kashmir. The ministry has raised an alarm about terrorists making phone calls using mobile Internet and asked DoT to take up the matter with the Home Ministry and the National Technical Research Organisation "for interception and selective banning of GPRS service in select terrorist hot spots within the legal ambit," sources said. 

  • (IREX, Friday, March 7, 2014)

    Two journalists in Thailand's Phuket province will be formally charged on Monday 10 March 2014 for criminal defamation and violating the Computer Crime Act (CCA) in connection with an online news article about Rohingya Muslim refugees. Journalists Alan Morison (65 yrs) and Chutima Sidasathian (32 yrs) of the online the tourism news site Phuketwan are set to appear before the provincial Prosecutors' Office at 9.30 am on 10 March to hear the formal indictment for defaming the Royal Thai Navy and for violating section 14 of the 2007 CCA. The indictment will mark the beginning of the legal procedure in the provincial court. 

  • (International Business Times, Wednesday, March 5, 2014)

    The search engine, ChinaSo, is a platform that was born from the merge of two preexisting search engines, Panguso and Jike, which are rarely used. The site’s beta version, which includes image, video and news-search capabilities, was launched on March 1 with a multicolored logo that bears a striking resemblance to the now-iconic Google logo. Unlike Google, however, ChinaSo will be at the hands of China’s government, which is notorious for censoring certain searches on “sensitive” subjects. 

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, March 4, 2014)

    “We deplore this use of censorship after the attack,” said Reporters Without Borders research chief Lucie Morillon. “The media have been ordered to use only the official version provided by the national news agency Xinhua. This is intolerable. “We call on the authorities to guarantee complete transparency about this incident and about progress in the investigation. It is vital that journalists should be able to work without any hindrance and that the public should have access to full, unrestricted news coverage.”

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, March 4, 2014)

    Truong Duy Nhat, a blogger based in the central city of Danang who has been held since May 2013, was sentenced to two years in prison today on a charge of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state and on the legitimate rights and interests or organizations and citizens.”

  • (IFEX, Monday, March 3, 2014)

    On 27 February 2014, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a Briefing Note focused on the drafting of the Kingdom of Cambodia's first ever Cyber Crimes Law, initially announced in May 2012. This Briefing Note summarizes the current internet landscape in Cambodia, the worldwide increase in cyber-crimes, and the ways in which cyberspace can be legislated, and offers concrete recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia on the draft Law to ensure it complies with international human rights standards and guarantees the right to freedom of expression. The Law is expected to be passed in the first half of 2014, although requests from civil society to review the draft have thus far been denied. 

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, February 27, 2014)

    China's government appears to be tightening its grip on online discourse with the formation of an Internet-security committee led by top Communist Party officials. The official China Central Television said the group was set up to address a growing number of cyberattacks and other Internet security issues, and will work to turn the country into a "global Internet power" and promote socialist values. China has long maintained it is a victim of cyberattacks. The creation of the committee appears to be the latest effort by the government to crack down on social media. 

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Wednesday, February 26, 2014)

    Chinese authorities should immediately release a Uighur blogger and academic who has been charged with separatism after being held incommunicado and without charge since January 15, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ilham Tohti's wife, Guzaili Nu'er, said she was told of the arrest on Tuesday and that her husband was at a detention center in China's far-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, about 2,000 miles away from their home in Beijing, according to reports. This was thefirst time Guzaili Nu'er had learned of her husband's whereabouts or the official accusations against him since he was picked up from his home by police.

     

  • (Center for Democracy & Technology, Wednesday, February 26, 2014)

    Yesterday, LinkedIn announced its plans to start offering a Chinese-language version of its platform to users in mainland China. Acknowledging that the Chinese government requires Internet companies to engage in censorship in order to do business in China, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner pledged that “the company will undertake extensive measures to protect the rights and data of our members.“ LinkedIn’s move is potentially good news for greater access to information for Internet users in China. Social networking sites like LinkedIn, which has a user base that spans the globe, can help people to forge connections with those inside and outside their country. Users in China will have access to the professional and educational networks that already exist on LinkedIn, and will be able to develop their own connections and make contributions to the platform. Indeed, some 4 million users in China already use the English-language version of LinkedIn.

  • (Index on Censorship, Thursday, February 20, 2014)

    The 30 month prison sentence for Vietnamese human rights lawyer and blogger, Le Quoc Quan, was today upheld by a Hanoi appeals court. Quan, who has frequently blogged about human rights violations by the government, was convicted in October 2013 on tax evasion charges. He has been arbitrarily detained since December 2012. A crowd of hundreds wearing t-shirts in support of Quan were present outside the court, while a European Union delegation, representatives from the United States and Canada and a small group of journalists were present at the trial. This is just the latest move in the Vietnamese authorities’ ongoing attack on dissent, free speech, free press and a free internet. If you need to communicate with someone the Vietnamese government is interested in keeping an eye, it is always been useful to be careful. Phone conversations can be listened to. Meetings at houses could be watched. Protests are invariably filmed by government operatives. If you were going to, say, chat via Gmail’s chat function it should be switched to “off the record” to prevent a copy of the discussion being archived. Some unlucky people have seen their blog posts traced to the internet cafe they’ve later been arrested at. If you are a dissident you won’t be the only one the police are interested in; they’ll talk to your family, friends and employers, too. The latter they may ask to dismiss you.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, February 20, 2014)

    The February 18, 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court declaring key provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) unconstitutional is a victory for free expression. But its declaring the provision on libel committed through the Internet constitutional retains one of the most problematic provisions of the Act. In 2012 CMFR asked for the repeal of the Act and the crafting of a less restrictive law. While crimes committed over the Internet such as child pornography need legal sanctions, the Cybercrime Act throws such a wide net it penalizes even legitimate expressions of opinion online. According to Supreme Court Chief Public Information Officer Theodore Te, the Court declared unconstitutional the RA 10175 provisions on unsolicited commercial communications (Section 4c3), real-time collection of traffic data (Section 12), and blocking access to computer sites found in violation of the Act (Section 19). It also declared the section on aiding and abetting, and attempting to commit cybercrimes (Section 5), and the section on liability under other laws (Section 7) unconstitutional with respect to certain crimes defined in Section 4 of the law, notably with respect to libel and child pornography because other laws already penalize these crimes.

  • (Tech In Asia, Wednesday, February 19, 2014)

    UNICEF, alongside Indonesia’s ICT ministry, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Harvard University all worked together in conducting a nationwide survey about Indonesian teens’ internet usage and behavior. The study shows that there are at least 30 million teenagers in Indonesia who regularly access the internet. If Indonesia’s has a total of about 75 million web users, almost half of them are still in their teenage years.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, February 19, 2014)

    The Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition from New Zealand to the US on internet piracy charges, has said he will appeal against a court ruling that a raid on his mansion was legal. The New Zealand court of appeal has thrown out a 2012 decision of the high court that the warrants used were invalid because they were not specific enough and did not properly describe his offences. The warrants preceded Dotcom’s arrest and were used to seize 135 electronic items including laptops, computers, hard drives, flash sticks and servers in January 2012. But the appeals court decided that while the warrants were defective in some respects it was not enough to declare them invalid.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, February 7, 2014)

    Reporters Without Borders participated in a series of meetings and conferences on Vietnam on 3 and 4 February ahead of Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review (an examination of its human rights performance) by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. “Together with other groups, we evaluated the human rights situation in Vietnam, including freedom of expression and information, and shared our recommendations, which are, above all, the immediate and unconditional release of all detained bloggers, netizens and journalists and an end to censorship and online surveillance,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. In the light of the latest information available to us, we call on the Human Rights Council’s member states to respond to the constant violations of freedom of information and persecution of independent news providers, and to remind the Vietnamese government of the added obligations that accompany its election as a member of the Council.” Ismaïl added: “Urgent action is needed for the human rights lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan, who began his sixth day on hunger strike today.”

  • (Forbes, Tuesday, February 4, 2014)

    While China’s social media users are at home spending time with their families for the Spring Festival holiday, the rest of the world is busy trying to make sense of what happened to Sina Weibo. Engagement on the popular social network has dropped like a rock, and no one is quite sure why. Sina Weibo is a microblogging service that was being hailed as a revolution for China’s internet just a few years ago. Following its launch in the summer of 2009, Weibo grew quickly, attracting hundreds of millions of users. Users loved its brevity and the speed at which it could transmit information. Western pundits loved the way it seemed to be subverting China’s censorship system, which wasn’t quick enough to respond to the absolute torrent of messages Weibo could unleash when high-profile events like the Wenzhou high speed rail crash were unfolding. Investors loved it because it gave Sina a foothold in China’s massive social media market.

  • (IFEX, Friday, January 31, 2014)

    ARTICLE 19 has launched a social media project to facilitate discussion about issues surrounding religious intolerance in Malaysia, in partnership with the website Projek Dialog. By supporting the website, ARTICLE 19 hopes to promote greater interfaith and intercultural understanding in the country. Religion plays a significant role in Malaysian politics, culture and identity. The Internet has created new spaces for people to discuss interfaith issues, with a great many people interacting in particular through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, the online space for free expression is under attack. In November 2013, Friday Muslim sermons, which are scripted officially by the Malaysian Department for Islamic Development (JAKIM), preached nationwide about the threat that social media posed against Islam, and urged for more Internet control and for online censorship. These demands followed a series of arrests for online content that was deemed to be offensive to Islam.

  • (Index on Censorship, Friday, January 31, 2014)

    It’s easy to be glib about social media. Page upon page of selfies, pleas for attention from celebrities, misogynist trolls and angels-on-pinhead arguments.But as the Telegraph’s recent research shows, the Chinese authorities take the web very seriously indeed.Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, is a huge platform, with over 200 million users. And for a while, it functioned freely, or as freely as anything does in China. It was, of course, monitored, and thousands of people were employed to post pro-government opinions and stories on the network.But the old-style censorship didn’t seem to be working as well as it should. Partly because it was just too obvious. In March 2012, rumours spread that the son of a Communist Party Official had been involved in a fatal crash while driving his Ferrari. As people discussed the story, they suddenly found that the word Ferrari had been blocked. For many, this made it clear that someone powerful had something to hide, and people openly wrote about their frustration with the system. Shortly afterwards, Weibo introduced new contracts concerning conduct. Anonymity went out the window. Spreading ‘umours’ became an offence. High profile users were put on alert – if a story you shared went viral, you were personally responsible. On a platform dependent on sharing, this was bound to cause people to think twice before sending their messages out to the world. And on a reactive, interactive and instantaneous platform like Weibo or Twitter, that slowing of pace is lethal. It would appear that Weibo is in danger of becoming boring. Just how the authorities want.

  • (International Federation of Journalists, Tuesday, January 28, 2014)

    On 28 January 2014, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) released the sixth annual China Press Freedom Report, titled Back to a Maoist Future: Press Freedom in China 2013. The report, launched at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, documents the continued deterioration of press freedoms in Mainland China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. It takes its title in direct response to Chinese authorities adopting more repressive measures in 2013 reminiscent of the Mao era four decades ago, including direct censorship, internet surveillance, abuse of legal process, harassment and intimidation, and televised confessions of journalists and bloggers without trial. "Press freedom is a human right and the media must be able to perform their professional duties without fear and intimidation," the IFJ said. "The ongoing challenge for journalists in Mainland China is not only facing a government that prevents the free dissemination of information in the public interest, but also powerful business interests that try to influence and place pressure on the media's independence."

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, January 28, 2014)

    Reporters Without Borders deplores the four-year jail sentence that Beijing Intermediate Court No. 1 imposed on the cyber-dissident Xu Zhiyong on 26 January on a charge of "gathering a crowd to disturb public order." He got just one year less than the maximum of five years. "We condemn both the harshness of the sentence and the way the trial was conducted," said Benjamin Ismail, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. The judicial authorities flouted many procedural regulations, including those governing the right of defence. This legal farce was deplorable and confirms that the government has no time for international conventions. We call for Xu's immediate release." Xu and his lawyer, Zhang Qingfang, chose to remain silent throughout most of the trial. At the end, Xu began to read a final statement entitled "In the name of freedom, justice and love," but the judge cut him short after five minutes. Zhang had planned to call 68 defence witnesses but the court did not allow any of them to testify. Foreign diplomats were not allowed to attend the trial, while police prevented TV reporters from filming outside the court, manhandling them and pushing them away. One plainclothes policeman forced an Agence France-Presse journalist to leave in a taxi.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, January 24, 2014)

    After the publication in several international medias of revelations about the money Chinese elites hide in offshore taxe havens, the Monde, Guardian, Global Mail, El Pais and Süddeutsche Zeitung websites were blocked in China. The entire Chinese Internet also went down for several hours after these reports appeared online. Access to the websites of Le Monde, The Guardian, Global Mail, El País and Süddeutsche Zeitung were blocked in China after they and other international media reported the results of research into the accounts held by members of the Chinese elite in offshore tax havens. The entire Chinese Internet also went down for several hours after these reports appeared online. “The Chinese government’s reaction to the publication of these revelations about corruption in China is evidence of its embarrassment about information of public interest,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We will do everything possible to make this information available to Chinese citizens.”

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, January 22, 2014)

    Despite being regularly blocked by the government, Facebook continues to grow in terms of users in Vietnam. Patrick Sharbaugh of Vietmeme explains how Vietnamese are maximizing Facebook pages.

  • (The New York Times, Wednesday, January 22, 2014)

    The story behind what may have been the biggest Internet failure in history involves an unlikely cast of characters, including a little-known company in a drab building in Wyoming and the world’s most elite army of Internet censors a continent away in China. On Tuesday, most of China’s 500 million Internet users were unable to load websites for up to eight hours. Nearly every Chinese user and Internet company, including major services like Baidu and Sina.com, was affected. Technology experts say China’s own Great Firewall — the country’s vast collection of censors and snooping technology used to control Internet traffic in and out of China — was most likely to blame, mistakenly redirecting the country’s traffic to several sites normally blocked inside China, some connected to a company based in the Wyoming building. The Chinese authorities put a premium on control. Using the Great Firewall, they police the Internet to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment, sometimes jailing dissidents and journalists; they blacklist major websites like Facebook and Twitter; and they block access to media outlets like The New York Times and Bloomberg News for unfavorable coverage of the country’s leaders.

  • (PBS, Tuesday, January 21, 2014)

    By the time the first story based on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures splashed across the front pages of the world’s newspapers, India had reportedly begun deployment of its own major surveillance architecture, the Central Management System (CMS). The system is a $132 million project that allows central access to all communications content and metadata carried over Indian telecommunications networks. According to documents reviewed by The Hindu, the CMS will enhance the government’s surveillance and interception capabilities far beyond ‘meta-data,’ data mining, and the original expectation of “instant” and secure interception of phone conversations. The interception flow diagram, hitherto under wraps, reveals that the CMS being set up by C-DoT — an obscure government enterprise located on the outskirts of New Delhi — will have the capability to monitor and deliver Intercept Relating Information (IRI) across 900 million mobile (GSM and CDMA) and fixed (PSTN) lines as well as 160 million Internet users, on a ‘real time’ basis through secure ethernet leased lines.

  • (Ars Technica, Monday, January 20, 2014)

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published details of an attempted malware attack on two of its employees by a group of hackers associated with the Vietnamese government. The hacker group, known as Sinh Tử Lệnh, has targeted Vietnamese dissidents and bloggers in the past; it now appears that the campaign has been extended to attacks on US activists and journalists who publish information seen as critical of the Vietnamese government. The Vietnamese government has gone after bloggers in its own country before, and as of last year it had jailed 18 independent journalists—bloggers being the only journalists in the country not affiliated with state-run media. And since 2009, the hacker group has taken that campaign beyond Vietnam's borders, targeting members of the Vietnamese diaspora critical of the Hanoi regime. In December, two staff members of the EFF received e-mails from someone claiming to be from Oxfam International, inviting them to “Asia Conference.” The e-mail, from a Gmail address for “Andrew Oxfam,” appeared to have been sent to a list and included links to two documents that appeared to be information on the conference shared over Google Drive.

  • (IFEX, Friday, January 10, 2014)

    Privacy International's partner organisation, Bytes for All, has filed a complaint against the UK Government, decrying the human rights violations inherent in such extensive surveillance and demonstrating how the UK's mass surveillance operations and its policies have a disproportionate impact on those who live outside the country. Bytes for All, a Pakistan-based human rights organization, filed its complaint in the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the same venue in which Privacy International lodged a similar complaint in July 2013. While such mass surveillance, in and of itself, is violative of human rights, that infringement is compounded where foreigners' phone calls, emails, or internet searches are intercepted as they currently receive even fewer legal protections than the communications of those who reside in the UK. In addition to violating Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which protect private communications, such disparate treatment is a violation of Article 14 that prohibits discrimination of all sorts, including based on nationality.

  • (IFEX, Friday, January 10, 2014)

    2013 saw Pakistan successfully transferring power from one democratically elected government to another. A norm in many countries worldwide, this was a milestone for Pakistani citizens. However, while a peaceful transition is welcome, there have been few changes in policy making and inclusion of citizens and civil society in due process when it comes to the country's deteriorating state of cyberspace, digital security and surveillance issues. Last year proved to be a bumpy ride too for Pakistan. From one ban to another broken promise, the Pakistani internet community really didn't have much to be happy about. YouTube was first blocked by the previous government in September 2012 after a blasphemous movie named The Innocence of Muslims was uploaded, and remained blocked as of 31 December 2013.

  • (The Guardian, Thursday, January 9, 2014)

    Access to the Guardian website in China appeared to have been restored on Thursday afternoon, after users reported it partially blocked the previous day. The website greatfire.org, which tracks censorship, said the Guardian had first become inaccessible on Tuesday and multiple attempts to access the site from various browsers, devices and locations in China had failed, though some users said they had managed to reach it. The Guardian mobile and iPad apps appeared unaffected by the problems. The service appeared to be back to normal on Thursday. Chinese authorities prevent access to numerous overseas websites and services – including internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter – but do not comment on individual cases, still less give reasons for their decisions. Foreign media have also been subject to restrictions. Bloomberg and the New York Times have been blocked since 2012, when they published reports on the wealth of relatives of senior leaders, while the Chinese-language sites of Reuters and the Wall Street Journal became inaccessible in November, but were unblocked a month later.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, January 2, 2014)

    Who would've thought the news earlier this month [December 2013] of YouTube­­ being finally made accessible in Pakistan, albeit as a local search engine, would open a floodgate of criticism? Minster of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Anusha Rehman certainly did not. She probably thought she had done a good turn - wooed many young digital rights activists who had long been demanding unblocking of the website and calmed others who had demanded blocking of objectionable content from it. "Instead of installing costly filtration mechanisms, Google will easily be able to block blasphemous content on the request of the Pakistan government," Rehman told the Senate's Standing Committee on Information and Technology. "Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have also reached a similar arrangement with Google," she added. But Farieha Aziz, director at Bolo Bhi, a not-for-profit geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, internet access, digital security and privacy, dismissed the news out right saying: "There is no arrangement between the company and the government, unlike the perception the government is projecting." "I don't want a localised version. Remember what became of Disney in India with everything getting dubbed in Hindi! I would definitely prefer the original version," said a resolute 12-year old Khadeja Ebrahim, a YouTube buff. "I love YouTube, my entire school loves YouTube and we hate the people who have blocked it," she added vehemently.

  • (Blocked on Weibo, Wednesday, December 18, 2013)

    In the infographic below, we have collected data from a number of sources, including GreatFire.org, China Digital Times, Blocked on Weibo, and Twitter users to chart the moments when Bo’s name became blocked or unblocked on Weibo. The speculation is that the authorities blocked his name when online conversations got too unpredictable to control and unblocked it when they sought to give netizens the space to criticize Bo. We have lined up those moments with what was taking place offline at the same time, presenting a connection between how real-life political turmoil was often reflected in changes in censorship online.

  • (NK News, Monday, December 16, 2013)

    North Korean state media outlet the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) has deleted over 35,000 articles from its on-line archives. The deletion, the biggest ever article removal in KCNA’s history, means that with the exception of a small number of articles about Kim Jong Un, the digital record of state-approved news currently only reaches back to October 2013 on KCNA’s North Korea (.kp) hosted website. “There were 35,000 articles dated September 2013 or earlier on KCNA in Korean. If they’re leaving the odd one in, it’s still a kill ratio of 98-99%,” said Frank Feinstein, a New Zealand based programmer that tracks North Korea’s online media output for NK News. In addition to the 35,000 original Korean language articles, translations in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese were all deleted from the archives, bringing the total to nearly 100,000 missing articles.

  • (Global Voices, Saturday, November 23, 2013)

    The South Korean government has announced plans to allow large portal sites to censor or delete user comments that are deemed libelous, a move that Korean web users fear will restrict freedom of expression online. The South Korean Communications Commission held a conference this week proposing regulations that give popular portal sites the power to make user comments invisible especially those considered libelous, for 30 days. If no active measures, such as the concerned user filing a complaint, are taken during that period of time, the sites can delete the comment. Authorities claim that the regulation will lessen the burden of portal sites by reducing the number of defamation cases they face because of their users’ comments. However, critics question whether it is justifiable to allow the portal site to decide whether a comment is libelous or not– a tough judgement call even for legal professionals. 

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, November 21, 2013)

    Next week, the Committee to Protect Journalists will be honoring four journalists from around the world at the International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous reporting. As the awardees from Ecuador, Egypt, and Turkey make the journey to attend the awards and benefit dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on November 26, one of the awardees will be absent. Blogger Nguyen Van Hai of Vietnam, popularly known by his penname Dieu Cay, will be spending the evening behind bars. Hai is serving a 12-year prison sentence under a vague law barring propaganda against the state in connection with his politically sensitive blog posts. His blog posts touched on politically sensitive issues, including government corruption and protests against China, which disputes Vietnam's claim to nearby maritime territories. In prison, Hai has endured solitary confinement and waged a hunger strike. His prison visits are heavily restricted, and his family members say his health has deteriorated to such a degree that he is barely recognizable.

  • (TechPresident, Thursday, November 21, 2013)

    ome users of the popular chat application LINE get a custom version of the program, complete with built-in keyword censorship. If someone sets their country location to China during installation, the app downloads a list of censored words from LINE's host server and then any messages containing censored words is blocked. The findings are part of a report by The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, the first of a series on Asian chat and instant messaging applications. LINE was developed by the Japanese LINE Corporation, which is itself a subsidiary of the Naver Corporation in South Korea. Released in June 2011, the application has already garnered 280 million users. They launched Lianwo, their application for the Chinese market, at the end of 2012. The Citizen Lab report by analyst Seth Hardy found that the censorship functionality has been active as far back as January 18, 2013, shortly after the release of the Chinese version of LINE. The most recent block list (version 21) contains 370 keywords, up from 223 keywords in the previous version. It includes phrases like “candlelight vigil,” “organ harvesting,” which followers of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong have accused the Communist Party of China of doing to executed members, and “Xi Hu Beidaihe,” the name of the resort town where CCP leaders gather to discuss policies. Citizen Lab has compiled a list of all 370 censored terms, with notes when necessary.

  • (Index on Censorship, Thursday, November 21, 2013)

    Since 2003, the institutional structure of internet censorship and filtering has centred on the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT), a department of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology that serves as a nodal agency for accepting and reviewing requests from a designated pool of government officials to block access to specific websites. This chapter will outline how takedown requests, both with and without court orders, are commonplace, and demonstrate that corporations sometimes contribute to censorship by over-complying with government requests. Along with filtering and blocking policies, these procedures are inconsistent and often threaten freedom of expression in India. With so many methods being used to restrict online speech, there is lively debate in India around how censorship affects fundamental freedoms and society. “There is no definition of what ‘obscenity’ and ‘incitement’ constitutes. Because of the vagueness of the law on the one hand, and the obligations of the law on the other hand [taking down offensive content], the door is opened to interpretation and subjectiveness,” says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament. The vagueness of the law has led to people being arrested and charged for innocuous posts and tweets. The Information Technology Act (IT Act) and its 2008 amendments do not provide a clear legal definition of what is offensive and there is no common view in society of what can or cannot be said online and offline, leading to uncertainty. This has resulted in a growing tendency to report content deemed “offensive” and demand its removal. Intermediaries – web companies that host content but do not produce it – tend to over-comply with takedown notices out of fear of being liable for offensive content and then prosecuted. The over-compliance of internet intermediaries with takedown notices is concerning as it removes from the internet content which is entirely legitimate. Compounding this problem is the lack of an appeal process. Intermediaries in India are neither required to notify people when their posts or photos are censored nor give them an opportunity to appeal the decision. In practice, this situation creates an indirect form of censorship when not the government but intermediaries become censors.

  • (Freedom House, Tuesday, November 19, 2013)

    China’s ruling Communist Party boasts an increasingly intrepid army and navy, an expanding web of international energy pipelines and other trade links, and a suite of generously funded media companies with bureaus around the world. But unlike past empires, Beijing’s true strength does not derive from its ability to project force and soft-power influence overseas. Instead, particularly when dealing with developed nations and their citizens, the party has imposed its will by squatting at the gates of the massive Chinese economy and issuing demands as the price of admission. After a Central Committee meeting last week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promised a series of economic reforms, including a greater emphasis on market forces and improved land and internal-migration rights for Chinese citizens. But few of these proposals touch on China’s relations with foreign companies, governments, or individuals, and there is some doubt as to whether the stated plans will be consistently implemented. Even after joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, Chinese officials have felt free to flout their government’s commitments when doing so serves their political or personal interests. The CCP’s trollish behavior is perhaps most obvious in the field of online media. The party presides over an elaborate internet filtration system, arbitrarily blocking any foreign service or website that fails to comply with its censorship directives. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked for years, and the websites of the New York Times and Bloomberg News have been unavailable in China since 2012, when they published revealing articles on the family wealth of top Chinese leaders.

  • (PBS NewsHour, Monday, November 18, 2013)

    China's ban on Wall Street Journal and Reuter's Chinese-language sites Friday prompted activists to find a weak spot in China's expansive internet censorship system, the Guardian reports. The two sites were blocked after publishing a New York Times expose on business ties between the daughter of former Premier Wen Jiabao and JP Morgan. Both the New York Times English and Chinese-language sites have been blocked since 2012. Charlie Smith, the co-founder of GreatFire.org, a website that monitors internet censorship in China, said these sites are now accessible after replicas of them were created and hosted on servers that could not be blocked without severely disrupting internet traffic. "We're serving these mirror sites through companies like Amazon," Smith said. "For them to block these mirror sites, they're going to have to take down Amazon web servers in China, and that would affect thousands of services in China, maybe tens of thousands," he said.

  • (France 24, Monday, November 18, 2013)

    Pakistani activists are turning to humor as a weapon in their fight against state internet censorship. YouTube may have been banned for over a year, but it still managed to make an appearance on the streets of Karachi: as a mascot offering hugs to those who want it back. In a video uploaded by members of 'Pakistan for all' - a citizens' rights group - a mascot dressed up in a YouTube logo walks through the city with a sign that says: 'Hug me if you want me back'. The mascot makes its way from traffic-clogged streets to the calmer confines of the beach, where Karachiites meet it with a smile and a hug. The stunt is part of a campaign that opposes state regulation of the internet. The video-sharing site was originally blocked in September after the short film 'The Innocence of Muslims' led to rioting across the Islamic world. But the site is just one of many that internet users are denied access to. Other pages that have been banned include the video of a song by the 'Beygairat Brigade' that pokes fun at the Pakistani military.

  • (ProPublica, Thursday, November 14, 2013)

    The word “tank.” Photos and names of Chinese dissidents. Images of rubber ducks. Any mention of Tibetan protests or Bo Xilai, the disgraced senior member of China’s Communist Party. Political cartoons. Every day, more than 100 million items are posted to Sina Weibo, the microblogging service sometimes called “China’s Twitter.” And every day, teams of censors comb through the posts in search of anything that challenges what the government likes to call a “harmonious society.” How Sina Weibo censors its users is as revealing as the content that appears on the site, and for the past five months, we’ve been watching the watchers. We’ve created an interactive feature, launching today, that allows readers to see and understand the images that censors considered too sensitive for Chinese eyes. Because the Chinese government blocks popular worldwide services like Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo has emerged as an influential player in China’s daily life, with some 500 million users. But while the speech on Weibo is equal parts sophisticated and base, considerate and raucous, it is by no means free. Sina’s censors appear to be walking a fine line seen frequently in modern China. If they allow users too much freedom, the government will shut them down. But if they block too much material, the users in this quasi-capitalist economy can go to one of the company's competitors.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, November 12, 2013)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists has created a petition that calls on Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to immediately release unjustly imprisoned blogger Nguyen Van Hai. Hai, who is also known by his penname Dieu Cay, is serving a 12-year prison sentence under a vague law that bars "conducting propaganda" against the state. His blog posts touched on politically sensitive issues, including government corruption and protests against China, which disputes Vietnam's claim to nearby maritime territories. In prison, Hai has endured solitary confinement and waged a hunger strike. His prison visits are heavily restricted, and his family members say his health has deteriorated to such a degree that he is barely recognizable.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, November 7, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns today’s decision by a Bangkok appeal court to uphold Prachatai news website editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn’s May 2012 conviction on a charge of lèse-majesté for failing to remove anti-monarchist comments from the site quickly enough. “This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for editors, who could now be held responsible for the comments that visitors post on their sites,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The judicial system’s obstinacy is appalling, but the fight for freedom of information must not be abandoned. We will keep on condemning use of lèse-majesté charges to persecute critics of the monarchy.” The court also upheld the eight-month suspended prison sentence that Chiranuch received at the original trial, arguing that, as an experienced journalist, she should have known that “criminals” often use the Internet to attack the monarchy and that it is every Thai citizen’s duty to defend the royal family.

  • (Global Voices Online, Thursday, November 7, 2013)

    A new study shows that China's Communist Party is winning an “ideological battle” against public opinion leaders on social media and other commentary platforms in China. At the recent China Internet Media Forum, People’s Daily Public Opinion Monitoring Unit director Zhu Huaxin presented data illustrating the initial impact of an online offensive launched by the Chinese Communist Party in August of this year. The results show a marked drop in political commentary and conversation on social networks and other platforms over the past two months. The offensive began on August 10, when the State Internet Information Office convened a group of major online opinion leaders and Internet celebrities and compelled them to adopt and promote a set of seven “self-censorship guidelines.”

  • (Forbes, Tuesday, November 5, 2013)

    After decades of rule by a brutal regime known for imprisoning cyber-dissidents, Internet freedom in Myanmar expanded dramatically over the past year, according to a recent report by Freedom House. The report warns that the Internet in Myanmar is still “not free,” however, and that major obstacles remain to further improvement. One is a legacy of repression that casts a shadow on the reform process. Just two years ago, Freedom House ranked Myanmar’s Internet policies as the world’s second most repressive, surpassed only by Iran’s, and in the same league as serial offenders like China and Vietnam. To keep citizens in the dark, Myanmar’s government routinely restricted Internet access and censored large amounts of online content, including most foreign media. Those who defied them faced severe penalties, including torture and lengthy prison sentences. The restrictions and a poor infrastructure make Myanmar one of the world’s “least connected countries,” according to the International Telecommunications Union. Massive coverage gaps, glacial connection speeds, and exorbitantly high service costs put the Internet beyond the reach of 98 percent of Myanmar’s citizens.

  • (ENGadget, Monday, November 4, 2013)

    Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, was at the Chinese University of Hong Kong earlier today to launch a local entrepreneurship program with the institute. As a man who believes in free and open internet to aid startups and innovation, the exec was happy to give an update on North Korea and Myanmar since he last visited there to promote better web access. For the former, Schmidt joked that no one called him back since the phones there still don't work for local folks. "North Korea is the most isolated country in the world. 23 million people, a million phones, they talk within the country but not out," Schmidt said. "You cannot get information in and out of the country, it's a terrible disservice to the citizens of the country." The exec continued that he can't tell if his visit had any impact at all: soon after he attempted to convince Kim Jong-un's government "to open up to a little bit of the internet," its recent territorial dispute with South Korea held back progress.

  • (Yahoo!, Thursday, October 31, 2013)

    A person claiming to speak for activist hacker group Anonymous on Thursday threatened to "go to war" with Singapore by attacking its financial infrastructure to protest recent licensing rules for news websites. "We demand you reconsider the regulations of your framework or we will be forced to go to war with you," a male voice said as a person hiding behind a mask appeared in a clip posted on video-sharing site YouTube. "Everytime you deprive a citizen his right to information, we will cause you financial loss by aggressive cyber intrusion," said the speaker. The video was taken off YouTube by early evening after Singapore media reported on the threat, but other sites had copied it by then.

     

  • (Global Voices Online, Wednesday, October 30, 2013)

    Drugs, alcohol and gambling. With those already under tight control, the South Korean government wants to add a fourth vice to the list – online gaming. Earlier this month, South Korean lawmakers proposed a bill that regulates online gaming in a similar fashion to drugs and alcohol. As local news reported, the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare took a step further towards the restriction last weekend by designating the online game as one of the four major addictive elements which merit state-level control. Net users have erupted with jeers and criticism, and the proposed regulation has unsurprisingly drawn severe backlash from members of the gaming industry who are enraged to be considered in the same category as drugs and gambling.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, October 30, 2013)

    SEAPA member AJI Indonesia held a discussion on Internet governance prior to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali in October 2013, and concluded that the country's Internet laws are in need of reform. Case in point: Wahyu Dwi Pranata, a student at Dian Nuswantoro University (Udinus), Semarang, Central Java, who was forced to leave his studies for writing an article criticizing university policy. University authorities deemed Wahyu's article to be defamatory of his campus. His article was submitted to the online news portal Wawasanews on 23 December 2013. Wahyu had already been summoned several times by the rector of the university, yet he continued to write. After writing a piece titled "You Robbed Billions from Us and You Treat Us as Paupers" in his blog, the university called his parents. He was given two options: be charged with defamation based on the Electronic Transaction Information Act (ITE Act - UU ITE No. 11/2008), or resign from the university; in other words, be expelled from campus. But long before Wahyu's case, a number of bloggers had been charged under the same Act for indictment of defamation. The Internet certainly allows society to exchange information quickly and in real time, but often without sufficient understanding of the impact of information dispersion.  

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, October 30, 2013)

    The official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday night that police detained five suspects in connection with the crash about 10 hours after it occurred, adding that the three occupants of the car — all of whom died — were a man named Usmen Hasan, his wife and his mother. From the WSJ’s report: The crash, which occurred in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, also killed two tourists and injured 40 others, according to authorities. Beijing police recovered gasoline canisters, iron rods, two meat cleavers and banners with extremist slogans from the vehicle used in the attack, Xinhua said. Police identified the vehicle used in the attack as a Jeep with a license plate from the western region of Xinjiang, Xinhua said. Xinjiang is home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, some of whom have been engaged in a sometimes violent separatist campaign for decades, but there hasn’t been an attack in Beijing since the late 1990s. Tensions between Uighurs and Han Chinese have occasionally exploded inside Xinjiang itself, including in 2009, when ethnic riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi left nearly 200 dead.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, October 29, 2013)

    A Vietnamese court today sentenced independent blogger Dinh Nhat Uy to a 15-month suspended prison term and one year of house arrest in connection with his posts on Facebook, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the verdict and calls on Vietnamese authorities to end their escalating campaign of harassment against independent bloggers. In a one-day trial, a Long An province court ruled that Uy's use of Facebook to campaign for his brother's release from prison on anti-state propaganda charges was in breach of Article 258 in the criminal code, a vague charge that bans "abusing democratic freedoms." News reports said Uy's conviction was the first against a blogger or dissident specifically for using Facebook. Most independent bloggers in Vietnam use Facebook as their blogging platform. A new decree for governing the Internet that came into effect on September 1 restricts the types of content that foreign companies are allowed to host on their Vietnam-related websites or social media platforms.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, October 28, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders has asked the Ministry of Communications and Internet Technology to change its approach to updating the Computer Crime Act of 2007. The law already authorizes the government to arrest journalists and bloggers for political reasons. If a newly proposed amendment were adopted, the government would have even more latitude to muzzle the independent and opposition media. “We support the five journalists association which have protested the bill,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The bill – in addition to eliminating a requirement for a judicial warrant to block a website – would allow that action without approval from the Ministry of Communications and Internet Technology, thereby distancing the law even more from international standards.” The press freedom organization added, “We request that the legislation be withdrawn in its entirety.” Any official attempt to amend the Computer Crime Act should be undertaken after consulting with representatives of the media and information sectors – a move not made in this case - RWB said. A cooperative effort would ensure that the crime of lèse-majesté could not be charged for political purposes. And expression of opinion and offenses arising from online publication would be decriminalized, the organization said.

  • (Citizen Lab, Friday, October 25, 2013)

    Indonesia, an archipelagic island country with a population of over 240 million people, is involved in many regional and international debates on integrating information and communication technology (ICT) in national development. As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, the steps that the country take toward ICT development and regulation will have a significant influence on the trajectory of similar efforts in other countries within the region. This blog post seeks to map out the infrastructure and governance of ICTs in the country, and explores the trends and challenges regarding the right to freedom of expression and access to information, that is grounded in the universal human rights framework. Internet penetration in Indonesia has increased since the beginning of the century from less than one percent in 2000 to just over 15 percent in 2011 (or roughly 45 million people). At the end of 2012, that figure was 10 million more, or equivalent to an increase of over 800,000 users every month. It is predicted that there will be 80 million Indonesian users by the end of 2013. With Indonesia’s current population numbering about 240 million people, this means that Internet penetration will grow to 33.3 percent. The value of the Internet in Indonesia, as calculated from the amount it will deliver to the gross domestic product (GDP), according to Deloitte Access Economics, is at 1.6 percent of GDP, bigger than liquefied natural gas exports, and is growing rapidly. Deloitte Access Economics expects it to grow at three times the pace of the economy, from 1.6 percent of GDP in 2010 to at least 2.5 percent of GDP over the next five years.

  • (Index on Censorship, Friday, October 25, 2013)

    Just days before the United Nation’s led Internet Governance Forum in Indonesia, India, held its own – and first of its kind – conference on cyber governance and cyber security. With the support of the National Security Council Secretariat of the Government of India, the two-day conference was organized by private think-tank Observer Research Foundation and industry body, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (FICCI). Speakers were from a host of countries including Estonia, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Russia, Israel, and of course, India. It was ironic, that in a post-Snowden world, buried under allegations of the extent of the NSA’s spying, US officials were unable to attend the conference due to their government’s shutdown. Instead, other views took center stage, and India also visibly demonstrated the various positions its stakeholders take around the questions of governance and security. Right at the kickoff, India’s Minister for Communications and Technology, Kapil Sibal, challenged the question of sovereignty and jurisdiction in cyberspace. “If there is a cyber space violation and the subject matter is India because it impacts India, then India should have jurisdiction. For example, if I have an embassy in New York, then anything that happens in that embassy is Indian territory and there applies Indian Law.”

  • (Bytes for All, Pakistan, Monday, October 21, 2013)

    After 14 hearings, a lot of deliberations, several inputs from experts within the country and abroad, the Honorable Justice Mr. Mansoor Ali Shah on September 19, 2013 has marked the Internet Freedom Case, also known as YouTube Case, to the Honorable Chief Justice, Mr. Umar Ata Bandial to be fixed before larger bench. This means that a full bench of either three or five judges at the Lahore High Court will now further deliberate this case. While we would have liked to see an early resolution of the case and at least quick unbanning of Youtube in the country, we are not too disappointed by this turn of events. Full bench are rare cases in the High Court and usually carry greater weight in terms of judgment. This development also shows what is at stake for the civil liberties in the country. In coming months as this case is heard by the judges at Lahore High Court, we will endeavor to drive home the point that ours is a pure constitutional case, which relates to Article 19 (Freedom of Expression), Article 19-A (Right to access information) and Article 14 (Right to privacy). Today, we are submitting an application to the Lahore High Court for early hearing of Internet Freedom Case. We are also initiating a contempt of court case against the Government for not reproting back to the court on our FinFisher petition.

     

  • (Global Voices , Sunday, October 20, 2013)

    The first week of October saw the government of Pakistan's Sindh province, which includes Karachi, the country's largest city, propose a ban on voice communication tools such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype for three months due to security concerns. Various activists and bloggers have taken to Twitter to vent their anger at the government over the plan. As the discussion heats up throughout social media, it's becoming clear that proposing and implementing a ban of this nature on such widely used technology is not going to happen quietly. The jury is still out on whether the ban will be implemented. Some have worried that recent service disruptions on voice over Viber and WhatsApp meant that the government was going through with the plan. However, conflicting statements from the federal and local governments coupled with the fact that nothing has gone completely dark yet have lead Pakistan's online community to still have hope that the government will not put a ban in place. 

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, October 16, 2013)

    Pakistan's move to ban access to a gay website reflects the conservative society's inability to accept a “larger world view”, activists say. “Freedom of speech remains in peril and online privacy and security is almost nonexistent in the country making dissidents worry for their and their families' safety,” Nighat Dad, a lawyer working with the Digital Rights Foundation in Pakistan, said. Dad was referring to last month's blocking of a gay website www.queerpk.com by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for being “against Islam”. But for others belonging to the LGBTQ community, the ban has not come as a big surprise. “They banned YouTube, you think Queerpk would count at all?” said banker Imran, requesting only his first name to be used.

     

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, October 15, 2013)

    A frequent topic of conversation among my friends here has been: Who will be arrested next? Some of us met recently for dinner and started a list of potential candidates. We included outspoken scholars, writers and lawyers who have discussed democracy and freedom, criticized the government and spoken out for the disadvantaged. Some of my dinner companions nominated themselves for the list. We agreed that the social critic Xiao Shu (the pen name of Chen Min) and Guo Yushan, a friend of the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (now in the United States), should top the list. I’m right behind them. Almost of all of us are active microbloggers. Some of us qualify as Big V, the widely used label for influential bloggers with millions of followers. (V stands for “verified account.”) It is our online activism that makes us prime targets of the government.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, October 13, 2013)

    Journalist Liu Hu was formally arrested for accusing officials of corruption seven weeks after his detention on Aug 24, 2013. Liu, from the Guangzhou-based New Express, had called for an investigation into Ma Zhengqi, the deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, through his account on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo on July 29. Liu’s posts detail the alleged corruption involving four high-ranking officials. He has been detained on suspicion of “fabricating and spreading rumours” since, and his Sina Weibo account deleted during his detention. Liu Hu’s arrest is the latest crackdown on critical voices in Chinese social media. Some high-profile liberals on Weibo have been warned or detained by the police during the past few months. In September 2013, prominent online celebrity Charles Xue was detained by Beijing police for suspected solicitation of prostitution. 

  • (ARTICLE 19, Wednesday, October 9, 2013)

    On Thursday 3 October 2013, the Information Minister for Sindh province forwarded a summary to the Federal Ministry of Interior to impose a three-month blanket ban on instant messaging and VoIP services. The reason for the proposed ban was to combat terrorism and safeguard national security. The Sindh Information Minister said it was needed because Sindh law enforcement agencies are unable to monitor VoIP services, which are increasingly being used by “criminal elements and terrorists”. The proposed ban is a disproportionate and overly broad measure. It will curb the fundamental rights of people in Sindh province and undermine the use of widespread communication platforms. Instant messaging and VoIP services, such as Skype, Viber, Tango and WhatsApp, are increasingly popular with Pakistani smartphone users looking for affordable means of communication. All of these services are now under threat of being suspended. The Sindh province authorities have not indicated how they will carry out this proposal: whether, for example, they will use filtering or blocking.

     

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, October 8, 2013)

    Since the late 20th century, many Southeast Asian countries have moved from military dictatorships and unelected governments to representative governance systems. While these transitions have brought many improvements to national law and government accountability, certain old ways still remain. Both off and online, censorship is still enforced in several countries through the use of draconian laws and strict media regulation. Media groups have consistently decried certain controversial laws and regulations as tools of media repression in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Myanmar.

  • (Mashable, Tuesday, October 8, 2013)

    China has 2 million people working as online monitors, according to a report last week by state news publication Beijing News — a new estimate that reveals the breadth of the country’s massive online censorship and surveillance systems. The monitors, who scour online comments and compile reports for officials or private businesses, outnumber even China’s 1.5 million active military personnel. There is now an entire industry and profession dedicated to controlling — or attempting to control — China’s fast-moving social media world, where comments quickly go viral among the country’s 500 million Internet users. The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese communist party, is holding a four-day seminar this month where successful students can be certified as “public opinion analysts,” according to a Beijing Times report. Once certified, they’re eligible for jobs with China’s propaganda department, commercial companies, news websites or public relation firms.

  • (IFEX, Monday, October 7, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders urges the Chinese authorities to stop censoring information and harassing independent news providers, a policy that has just received a new boost in the form of an "anti-rumour" campaign. Combined with a wave of arrests for "disturbing public order," this new offensive against freedom of information is fuelling fears of an unprecedented increase in self-censorship in China. "The new anti-rumour ruling unveiled on 9 September 2013 will make it much easier for the authorities to jail any Internet user who is the source of embarrassing information," Reporters Without Borders said on 3 October. "They just have to deny the accuracy of the information for it to qualify as a 'rumour' under the new law. "The aim of arresting many human rights activists and influential bloggers as part of an overall campaign against freedom of information is to crush those who keep on demanding more democracy and reporting abuses by the authorities, and to deter their colleagues from continuing on the same path.  

  • (Global Voices, Friday, October 4, 2013)

    The Sindh provincial government in Pakistan has unveiled its plan for a three-month ban on messaging apps Viber, WhatsApp, Tango, Skype and other Voice Over Internet Protocol-based calling and messaging applications in what officials call an “disrupt terrorist and criminal activities in the province, especially in the urban areas”. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon shared this news in a press conference on Thursday, 4 October, 2013 in the southern port city of Karachi. The Sindh government is waiting for an approval from the federal government in Islamabad.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, October 3, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the 30-month prison sentence and fine of US$59,000 that a Hanoi court passed on 2 October 2013 against dissident lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan on a trumped-up charge of tax evasion. The court also ordered the seizure of Quan's assets, worth US$27,000. "This clearly politically-motivated sentence is designed to gag and punish a dissident and is part of a strategy orchestrated by the Communist Party to persecute all independent news and information providers in Vietnam," Reporters Without Borders said. "We deplore the way this trial was conducted, including the fact that the defendant's relatives were not allowed into the courtroom and the way the authorities again manipulated the media. Quan is the victim of a judicial system that takes its orders from authoritarian party officials. He must be released."  

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, October 1, 2013)

    On September 30, 2013, the District Police in Kathmandu arrested the editor of the Share Bazaar weekly, Dinesh Acharya, over a complaint lodged by an industrialist. Industrialist Nirvan Chaudhary has accused the editor of "assassinating his character" through the Internet (specifically a post on Facebook). Acharya had published a news story about Chaudhary in the June 23 edition of Share Bazaar, and also posted the story on Facebook. Freedom Forum condemns the way in which Chaudhary and the police have opted to harass the journalist. It is not the place of the police administration to oversee the accusation of the character assassination, when a separate body, the Press Council Nepal, exists and is tasked with monitoring media content and journalists' code of conduct.  

  • (Time, Monday, September 30, 2013)

    Being a dissident in Vietnam has always been a dangerous business, and it’s getting more so. Ranked as the world’s 8th worst country for online freedom in 2012 by Freedom House, Vietnam has seen over 50 bloggers and activists arrested already this year, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Things got even tighter for the country’s 30 million Web users when the government began enforcing the now infamous Decree 72 on Sept. 1. Among other things, the vaguely worded law bans the publishing of material that “opposes” the Socialist Republic of Vietnam or “harms national security.” Definitions of offending matter are disconcertingly broad and could, for example, include news, which would make it illegal for Vietnam’s 16 million Facebook users to discuss articles, or even to post links to them. A ban on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Viber and Line has also been proposed.

     

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, September 27, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders calls for the complete repeal of the 2006 Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT Act), which has been rendered even more draconian by amendments adopted in August. “This law, under which four bloggers and a human rights defender have been arrested and charged this year, is a tool for harassing netizens that violates the 2009 Freedom of Information Act,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The recent amendments permit even more arbitrary behaviour by the police and judicial authorities towards news providers.” Section 57 of the ICT law, as passed in 2006, criminalizes “publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form.” The amendments adopted in August allow the authorities to carry out arrests without a court warrant, prevent release on bail and raise the maximum sentence from 10 to 14 years in prison. The minimum remains at seven years.

     

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, September 26, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders today tried to hand a copy of its petition for the release of 35 bloggers and netizens detained in Vietnam – which already has more than 25,000 signatures ¬ – to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during his current visit to Paris. The attempt came just two days after Reporters Without Borders published a damning report on censorship in Vietnam entitled “Vietnam: programmed death of freedom of information.” “Our requests for a formal meeting with the Vietnamese prime minister did not receive a reply,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “As the Vietnamese authorities turned a deaf ear, we tried to meet up with him as he moved around Paris, in particular, as he emerged from a meeting with the French private sector association MEDEF.

  • (Salon, Wednesday, September 25, 2013)

    Citing unnamed government sources, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that China will lift a ban on “foreign websites considered politically sensitive by the Chinese government, including Facebook, Twitter and [the] newspaper website The New York Times.” The end of the ban, however, only applies to a newly defined Shanghai “Free Trade Zone.” “In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China,” said one of the government sources who declined to be named due to the highly political sensitive nature of the matter.

  • (The Guardian, Tuesday, September 24, 2013)

    Authorities in north-west China have suspended a county police chief who oversaw the detention of a teenage boy last week for posting "online rumours", in an unexpected twist to one of the most high-profile cases to emerge from a nationwide crackdown on internet freedom. Yang Hui, a 16-year-old student in Zhangjiachuan county, Gansu province, was arrested after posting messages castigating local police for their handling of a murder case. The authorities accused him of "spreading rumours, inciting mass demonstrations and seriously obstructing social order". He was released on Monday after seven days in custody.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, September 23, 2013)

    n January 2011, the Arab Spring transformed Tunisia. Egypt followed suit. Then Burma had its own spring. But no spring ever came to Vietnam. On the contrary, the political chill deepened. When National Assembly speaker Nguyen Phu Trong took over as Vietnamese Communist Party general secretary, he was ready to do anything to maintain order and, above all, stay in power. He inaugurated a new era marked by a growing crackdown on journalists and bloggers. Since his promotion, those who refuse to submit to the single party’s censorship have been subjected to waves of arrests, trials, physical attacks and harassment. The Trong era’s statistics are impressive, if not glorious. In 2012 alone, the Vietnamese authorities prosecuted no fewer than 48 bloggers and human rights activists, imposing a total of 166 years in jail sentences and 63 years of probation. Vietnam is now the world’s second biggest prison for blogger and netizens, after China. Relative to population size, the situation is much worse in Vietnam than China. A total of 35 bloggers and netizens are currently detained just for exercising their right to information and expression, of whom 26 were arrested since Trong took over.

  • (The Guardian, Friday, September 20, 2013)

    Chinese authorities have detained a 16-year-old schoolboy for posting "fabricated facts" on the internet amid an extensive crackdown on the country's relatively free-wheeling online communities. The boy from Zhangjiachuan county in north-west Gansu province, identified only by his surname, Yang, was detained after rebuking local police on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging service. Local authorities have accused Yang of "picking quarrels and provoking disputes", Chinese media reported. This summer, Beijing launched a draconian campaign against what it calls "internet rumours", a thinly veiled move to tighten its grip over the censored, yet often surprisingly critical, online communities. On 9 September, China's top court and prosecutor issued a new "judicial interpretation" stipulating that an internet user could be sentenced to three years in jail for posting a "defamatory" message that receives more than 5,000 views or is forwarded more than 500 times.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Wednesday, September 18, 2013)

    With protests raging since early spring, blogger persecution in Bangladesh has reached an all-time high this year. Many say bloggers and activists have been arrested and detained under terms that fall outside of legal limitations. But now the law is catching up. In late August, the Ministry of Law approved amendments to the nation's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act that upend due process, increase criminal penalties for violations of the law, and all but endorse arbitrary, warrantless arrests and detentions of suspected offenders. Without question, the original ICT Act presented plenty of problems when it came to the rights of online speakers — the new amendments will only exacerbate these issues.

     

  • (Reuters, Wednesday, September 18, 2013)

    China's crackdown on online "rumor-mongering", widely seen as a tool to halt criticism of the ruling Communist Party, has chilled political discourse, with high-profile bloggers saying they have reined in sensitive posts for fear of detention. Lawyers and activists called the crackdown a significant, if crude, expansion of powers to police the Internet and a blow to those who rely on microblogs to disseminate information that is often not monitored as strictly as traditional media. "I am really scared now that any whistleblowing might lead to an arrest," said Zhou Ze, a rights lawyer with more than 165,000 followers on the Twitter-like microblog Sina Weibo. "We all have to talk less, and more carefully."

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, September 17, 2013)

    It is a year to the day since the Pakistani authorities blocked access to the video-sharing platform YouTube on 17 September 2012 in response to the release of The Innocence of Muslims, a film considered blasphemous by many in the Muslim world. Two days before Pakistan’s telecommunications minister is due to appear before the Lahore high court to explain the government’s decision, Reporters Without Borders and the Pakistani digital rights group Bytes for All (B4A) join in condemning this flagrant act of censorship and call on the government to lift the ban immediately.

  • (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/17/chinese-communist-party-online-crackdown, Tuesday, September 17, 2013)

    An influential Communist party journal has compared online rumours to Cultural Revolution-style denunciations and warned of the need to curb "wanton defamation" of authority, as China intensifies its campaign to control social media. It came as the Chinese state broadcaster aired video footage of the handcuffed businessman Xue Manzi, also known as Charles Xue, confessing that he had irresponsibly spread rumours because his 12 million microblog followers made him feel like an "emperor". While China has repeatedly attempted to rein in the country's boisterous social media, a leading internet activist described the wide-ranging crackdown on dissent as unprecedented.

     

  • (The New York Times, Monday, September 16, 2013)

    Twitter disclosed last week that it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering. The secret filing means outsiders are left guessing about many details of the social media giant’s business. We can be fairly certain, however, that Twitter has no meaningful financial contribution from China. Nor are more than a handful of its reported 240 million active users among the nearly 600 million people on the Chinese Internet. Twitter, like Facebook, YouTube and several other foreign Internet services and news Web sites deemed sensitive, is blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.” Twitter, however, may still have opportunities to generate revenue from China. While Google’s consumer Internet services have basically become irrelevant inside China since it refused in 2010 to censor its search results in China, the company earns several hundred million dollars a year selling advertising to Chinese firms that want to reach customers on the Internet outside China.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, September 16, 2013)

    Beijing police arrested and detained billionaire venture capitalist Wang Gongquan on September 13, 2013 on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb social order”, another disturbing move in the latest crackdown that targets opinion leaders, intellectuals and activists online and offline. Wang Gongquan was once a Chinese Communist Party propaganda official in Jilin province. He left the office and decided to go south to Hainan province for trade in 1988. Arrested and detained for one year after the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown, he returned to the business sector and become the vice chairperson of Vantone corporation, a property development corporation, in 1993. He entered the venture business field in 2005 and become a billionaire because of a number of successful investments in early 2000.

  • (Offbeat China, Monday, September 16, 2013)

    Gone are the days when Chinese bloggers on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, rushed to get “verified accounts.” As Beijing’s anti-rumor campaign targeted at celebrity bloggers spins on, more and more verified accounts are seeking to “un-V” themselves in hopes of getting a little bit more room to speak their minds online. Originally, Weibo’s verified accounts are similar to that of Twitter’s – known people or organizations, after going through Sina’s verification process, will have the verification badge, a capitalized letter “v”, added next to their account names. These verified accounts are what later netizens call the “Big Vs.” In Weibo’s early days, Big Vs and their enthusiastic followers are one of the most important reasons why the site was able to gain momentum in a very short period of time. Verified accounts command a higher degree of trust from netizens and they gather followers much easier. Their posts get more comments and shares.

  • (IFEX, Friday, September 13, 2013)

    It has been a year since President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The Anti-Cybercrime Law took effect on October 3, 2012 but the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) six days later. On February 5, the Court extended the TRO until further notice. Republic Act (RA) 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, penalizes crimes committed through computers and online. The punishment for online libel is also "one degree higher" than that provided for libel in the Revised Penal Code. A year after its signing, some bills are filed before the 16th Congress asking to repeal or amend the law.
     

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, September 12, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that a people’s court in the south-central province of Phu Yen sentenced 65-year-old dissident activist Ngo Hao to 15 years in prison on 11 September on a charge of trying to overthrow the government. Hao’s harsh sentence came just weeks after appeal court in the southern province of Long An commuted the sentences of two bloggers, Nguyen Phuong Uyen and Dinh Nguyen Kha. “This long jail term has dashed the hope of less repressive policies that was raised by Uyen’s release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As was the case with Uyen’s and Kha’s appeal, the court did not allow Hao to exercise his right to a fair defence and, except for his son, did not allow his family to attend the hearing.” Reporters Without Borders added: “We call on the authorities to overturn this conviction and release Hao at once. We also reiterate our call for the release of all the cyber-dissidents currently detained in Vietnam.”
     

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, September 10, 2013)

    These are bad times to be a Big V in China. Big V, for verified account, is the widely used moniker for the most influential commentators on China’s growing microblog sites — online celebrities whose millions of fans read, discuss and spread their outpouring of news and opinions, plenty of which chastise or ridicule officials. And the Communist Party has turned against them in the most zealous crackdown on the Internet in years.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tuesday, September 10, 2013)

    Internet freedom has gone from bad to worse in Vietnam as an online censorship law known as Decree 72 went into effect this month. It bans bloggers and users of social media from quoting, gathering, or summarizing information from press organizations or government websites. While the main justification for the law is to uphold "national security," Vietnamese authorities also claim that this law is aimed at combating online copyright infringement. The law is packed with vague language, including bans on “abusing the provision and use of the Internet and information on the web” to “oppose the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” and “undermining the fine customs and traditions of the nation.” It requires filtering of all such offensive content, requires real-name identification for all personal websites and profiles, and creates legal liability for intermediaries such as blogs and ISPs for failing to regulate third-party contributors, triggering grave concerns about the law’s impact on domestic online service providers. In addition, the decree attempts to require all foreign and domestic companies that provide online services to cooperate with the government to take down prohibited content. For international companies without a business presence in Vietnam, the law would “encourage” them to establish offices or representatives in the country in order to hold them accountable for implementation of the decree.
     

  • (Southeast Asian Press Alliance, Monday, September 9, 2013)

    At a street corner in Kamayut Township, Yangon, a young man does what would be seen as freakish in his country just three or four years ago – he lowers his head, fixes his eyes on his smart phone, swipes the screen and smiles at it. He is probably in his 20s, dressed casually in a black striped shirt and dark jeans, which makes him stand out in the crowd of people wearing the traditional longyis (cloth worn as a long skirt). Still, he is not uncommon among the Burmese of his generation, especially those on the streets of downtown Yangon these days. More and more young Burmese are joining their smartphone-toting peers elsewhere in the world: a generation that cannot imagine their lives without their all-in-one gadget. Amidst the traditional or even nostalgic atmosphere, a traveller would get the feeling that Myanmar is finally catching up with the outside world after strict military rule of over five decades.
     

  • (CNet, Monday, September 9, 2013)

    The Indian government is reportedly carrying out Internet surveillance on its citizens, in contrast with the government's rules and notifications for ensuring communications privacy. According to an investigation by Chennai-based publication The Hindu, Lawful Intercept and Monitoring (LIM) systems have been deployed by the country's Center for Development of Telematics (D-DOT) to monitor Internet traffic, e-mails, Web browsing, Skype, and other Internet activities by Indian citizens. The systems are fully owned and operated by the Indian government, unlike similar systems deployed by local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which have to comply with Indian Telegraph Act and Rule 419(A) of the country's IT rules, the publication reported on Monday.
     

  • (The Guardian, Sunday, September 8, 2013)

    A Chinese reporter who was sentenced to prison in 2005 after Yahoo disclosed details of his email has been released, a writer's group has announced. Shi Tao had been released on 23 August, 15 months before the end of his sentence, the Independent Chinese Pen Centre said in a statement. There was no indication why Shi was released early. Shi was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to prison the following year on charges of disclosing state secrets. He had sent details of a government memo about restrictions on news coverage of the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary to a human rights forum in the United States.

  • (Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Friday, September 6, 2013)

    Chinese government censorship of social media constitutes the largest selective sup- pression of human communication in the history of the world. Although existing systematic research on the subject has revealed a great deal, it is based on passive, observational methods, with well known inferential limitations. We attempt to gen- erate more robust causal and descriptive inferences through participation and experi- mentation. For causal inferences, we conduct a large scale randomized experimental study by creating accounts on numerous social media sites spread throughout the country, submitting different randomly assigned types of social media texts, and de- tecting from a network of computers all over the world which types are censored. Then, for descriptive inferences, we supplement the current approach of confidential interviews by setting up our own social media site in China, contracting with Chinese firms to install the same censoring technologies as existing sites, and reverse engi- neering how it all works. Our results offer unambiguous support for, and clarification of, the emerging view that criticism of the state, its leaders, and their policies are rou- tinely published whereas posts with collective action potential are much more likely to be censored. We are also able to clarify the internal mechanisms of the Chinese censorship apparatus and show that local social media sites have far more flexibility than was previously understood in how (but not what) they censor.
     

  • (Rappler, Friday, September 6, 2013)

    Five years ago, Nay Phone Latt tried to kill time by reading, doing yoga, and writing letters, short stories, and poems. But on a recent gloomy Monday morning, the blogger could hardly answer a phone call as he rushed about before he took a bus to Myanmar’s administrative capital to help change the law that sent him to prison. “I only have 20 minutes,” he said with an apologetic smile at his office in the ramshackle city of Yangon before braving the rainy Monday morning for the 4-hour bus ride to Naypyidaw. Making final arrangements on his phone, he paced to and fro the room with a wall bearing photos of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and his other technology idols.
     

  • (International Journalists’ Network, Thursday, September 5, 2013)

    Booting up my laptop in an open-air concrete building on the outskirts of Bhopal, India, I’m astonished. As soon as my computer turns on, I have high-speed Internet access. The former mushroom farm where I sit is now Hackergram, a tech lab and the new hub of the CGnet Swara mobile news service. CGnet Swara, created by Shubhranshu Choudhary during his recent Knight International Journalism Fellowship, uses mobile phones to give hundreds of millions of Indian tribal people, Dalits (“untouchables”) and others living in an information vacuum an outlet to report on their communities.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, September 5, 2013)

    This article by Jefry Tupas was produced for the 2013 Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) fellowship program. Tupas, who is one of the founders of NewsDesk, is one of the 2013 fellows. This year's theme is Freedom of Expression - Challenges to Internet Government in Southeast Asia. Two years ago, Freddy Lynn was spending most of his time at a public access centre in downtown Myitkyina in Kachin State. There he was introduced to a world that he did not learn in his university or heard about in his community that had been slowed down by more than six decades of armed conflict. It was a discovery often interrupted by frequent power outages and news of violent clashes between ethnic groups and the military across Burma. Yet Freddy Lynn knew he should keep at it, because it kept him connected to a world outside Kachin, a western Burmese state that lies on the boundary of China and India. And unlike his friends who had to have at least 400 kyats ($0.41) per hour to have the same privilege, Freddy Lynn was getting his information about the 'outside world' for free as he worked at the public access centre, known elsewhere as an Internet café.
     

  • (The Guardian, Thursday, September 5, 2013)

    Less than 48 hours out from the federal election, the Liberal party released an internet censorship policy remarkably similar to that of the Cameron government in Britain. A mere few hours after the announcement and in the face of a huge backlash, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull disowned the policy shortly after having defended it on Triple J radio. In case Australian voters have to face yet another U-turn, it might be worth looking at whether censorship laws ever work. All censorship regimes face the question of what exactly should be censored. If we aim to prevent children from viewing particular content, who has the power to decide what that content is? Is this up to the whim of whichever government happens to be in power? Pornographic websites are easy enough to identify, especially the websites of registered businesses, but what about information about pornography (such as a Wikipedia article)? 
     

  • (The Guardian, Thursday, September 5, 2013)

    Hours before the Coalition backed down on its 11th-hour policy of introducing an opt-out internet filter, the opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, was championing it on the youth radio station Triple J. In a policy document published online on Thursday the Coalition backed an opt-out filter for home Wi-Fi and smartphones to be installed by internet service providers. A few hours later Turnbull released a statement saying the Coalition had "never" supported a mandatory filter. It said: "The Coalition has never supported mandatory internet filtering. Indeed, we have a long record of opposing it. The policy which was issued today was poorly worded and incorrectly indicated that the Coalition supported an 'opt-out' system of internet filtering for both mobile and fixed line services. That is not our policy and never has been."

  • (Index on Censorship, Wednesday, August 28, 2013)

    Bo Xilai, the ousted former Chinese politician, continues to capture headlines even as Chinese authorities begin a highly concerted campaign to stifle online expression, Vincent Chao reports. The trial of Bo Xilai, the once promising leader of China’s most populous city, ended on Monday with revelations about murder, corruption and torrid details of a love-triangle – offering the public a rare glimpse into the lives of China’s richest and most powerful politicians. But outside the spotlight, authorities have directed an increasingly hostile campaign to limit free expression, especially online. Over the past few weeks, a growing number of journalists, bloggers and activists have been arrested or detained on vague and obscure charges. And last week, an official forum warned of new limits to what internet users should and should not say on social media.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, August 27, 2013)

    Well-known Chinese-American angel investor and prominent online celebrity Charles Xue has been detained by Beijing police for suspected solicitation of prostitution. Speculation is rampant in China's social Web, however, that the prostitution bust was just a scheme set up by the authorities to control influential liberals online as part of recent crackdown on “online rumors.” The outspoken Xue, better known by his nickname Xue Manzi, is one of the most prominent figures in the Chinese Internet industry and is also a famous political critic on Chinese social media with over 12 million followers on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo.

  • (Article 19, Tuesday, August 27, 2013)

    ARTICLE 19 is deeply concerned by reports that the Pakistan Ministry of Information Technology's recently issued a statement announcing that they had 'resolved' the issue of the YouTube ban by installing Internet filters. Far from offering a viable solution, internet filtering poses significant threats to freedom of expression online. ARTICLE 19 reminds the Pakistani government that filtering Internet content is an extremely serious restriction on freedom of expression and as such may only be justified if it strictly complies with the three-part test under international law. The four special mandates on freedom of expression clearly stated in their 2011 Joint Declaration on freedom of expression and the Internet that "content filtering systems which are imposed by a government or commercial service provider and which are not end-user controlled are a form of prior censorship and are not justifiable as a restriction on freedom of expression".  

  • (IFEX, Monday, August 26, 2013)

    The seventh regular Session of the Lower House approved a proposal to amend the Electronic Transactions Law on August 21, 2013. The Law has a long list of offenses and imposes heavy penalties. Many political activists and student leaders were jailed for many years under this law. U Thein Nyut, MP of Thingankyun constituency, submitted a proposal on August 21, making a motion to make the law more humane and suitable to contemporary Myanmar by reducing punishments and amending some of the sections.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, August 21, 2013)

    On a recent trip to Burma, I was moved to see evidence of real dialogue between the people and government, dialogue that was simply unimaginable even two years ago. Driving through downtown, all the taxis avoided a central construction site, making side streets congested and transit difficult. But after a few weeks, I heard the area had improved – a colleague's taxi driver confidently took some credit, saying he had been posting complaints to deputy minister Ye Htut's Facebook page every day for weeks. The implications are striking – not only that the driver felt embolded to complain, and the complaints seemed to be working, but that he had an online forum to do so. The internet and Facebook have essentially merged in the eyes of many Burmese – a recent survey showed about 800,000 Facebook users. Essentially, even accounting for users with multiple accounts, nearly the entire internet-using population of Burma uses Facebook.

  • (The Guardian, Tuesday, August 20, 2013)

    In the offices of China's Communist party newspaper, rows of analysts sit at computer screens poring over data that is stripped off the internet. Every comment made by the 591 million Chinese "netizens" is analysed at the People's Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Centre, with summaries sent in real time to party leaders. More than ever before, China's rulers are actually listening to their people, reacting quickly to contain potential crises that could threaten one-party control. With its ability to control the internet increasingly challenged, China's Communist party has had to change its game.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, August 19, 2013)

    It has been around a year since Vietnam did something to maintain the title – Enemy of the Internet – that it shares with eight others that include Uzbekistan, Iran and China. Whilst the communist nation has locked up more bloggers so far this year than throughout all of 2012 it is now revisiting last year’s widely derided, and unrealistic, internet draft decree. The reworked Decree 72, due to come into force September 1, has caused friction as it essentially prohibits people from posting links to news stories, or sections of news articles, on social media sites such as Facebook or the equally popular, locally produced Zing Me.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, August 19, 2013)

    The New Delhi High Court has given Facebook and Google one month to submit suggestions on how minors can be protected online in India. This move is in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by KN Govinacharya, a senior member of the right wing political party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The PIL seeks to protect citizens of India from cyber crimes, which according to the government, has cost the exchequer $4 billion last year. Some of the highlights include the PIL pointing out that despite guidelines given by the government for companies to follow the KYC normal (“know your customer”), social networking companies do not follow them. The PIL believes that Facebook is not verifying its users, and instead allowing minors to set up accounts because it uses them for marketing, advertising, and data mining purposes.

  • (Tech In Asia, Monday, August 19, 2013)

    Yahoo’s (NASDAQ:YHOO) email service in China is now shut, in line with an announcement of its closure that came in April. After that four-month warning, yesterday was the final day for Yahoo China email users to login and migrate their email to an alternative service. Since Yahoo China is run by local e-commerce titan Alibaba, that company is aiming to get all Chinese Yahoo mail users onto its own Aliyun email service instead, with the added advantage of email forwarding from your old account until December 31 this year. Alternatively, people could switch over (minus that useful forwarding feature) to more popular email services such as Tencent’s QQ Mail or Netease’s 163 Mail, both of which have the advantage of being supported by the email app in Apple’s iOS.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, August 19, 2013)

    Thailand is pressing ahead with more Internet control – this time targeting the popular messaging application “LINE”. The Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) recently announced that it plans to “monitor” conversations on LINE as well as other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp to remove “threats” to the national security. The TCSD argues that:We need to make sure that we safeguard order, security and morality of Thailand.
     

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, August 16, 2013)

    An appeal court in the southern province of Long An today reduced blogger Dinh Nguyen Kha’s sentence from eight to four years in prison, and reduced fellow blogger Nguyen Phuong Uyen’s sentence from six years in prison to a suspended sentence of three years in prison. Both sentences still include three years of house arrest. The original sentences were passed on the two young bloggers in May. Today’s hearing was marked by a flagrant violation of defence rights, as none of the lawyers representing the bloggers was allowed into the courtroom.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, August 14, 2013)

    Pakistan is reassessing its near yearlong ban on YouTube following a challenge by Internet rights group Bytes for All in the Lahore High Court. The Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Evaluation of Websites, a body set up in 2006 that includes representatives from intelligence agencies, religious authorities and cabinet ministers, said it will meet to decide if the ban should be lifted. But Internet freedom activists aren’t holding out much hope. Instead, they are looking for a decision by the court, which could come as early as next month, on reform of Internet censorship in Pakistan.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, August 14, 2013)

    For several months, activists in Taiwan fighting to prevent the launch of operations at a nuclear plant they argue would be hazardous for public health and the natural environment. Alongside mobilizing public support and lobbying government officials, they are now facing a new challenge: search engine censorship. Over the last few days, searches run on Yahoo! Kimo for the names of various anti-nuclear activists have yielded links to Nuclear Safety, Taiwan Energy, a website run by the Bureau of Energy and Ministry of Economic Affairs, as their top result.

  • (Renesys, Tuesday, August 13, 2013)

    Before Egypt became the country known for shutting off its international Internet during anti-government protests in January 2011, it was Myanmar that was known for infamously shutting down its Internet connections for two weeks following anti-government protests which turned violent in September 2007.During those protests, as the government began cracking down on anti-government demonstrations, protestors began sending out images and videos of the violent suppression. This led to the government’s disconnection of outside Internet access for the country.

  • (Mashable, Tuesday, August 13, 2013)

    Online surveillance isn't confined to the NSA. Governments around the world are trying to snoop on Internet communications. In an attempt to monitor Thai citizens who use the mobile messaging app Line, the Royal Thai Police have asked the Japanese company that owns the app for access to chat records, according to media reports.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, August 13, 2013)

    A group of Internet celebrities in China have endorsed a government guideline for self-censorship on a variety of topics such as law, socialism, the state, the public's legal rights, and morality, according to state-controlled media outlet the People Daily. But did they really? Some are arguing their endorsement was invented as political propaganda. The Internet celebrities were part of a group invited to attend a forum on Internet Celebrities’ Social Responsibility [zh] organized by the State Internet Information Office (IIO) and held at the China Central Television on August 10, 2013. There, they exchanged views with the head of IIO, Lu Wei, who presented the seven-point guideline.

  • (Washington Post, Monday, August 12, 2013)

    American Internet companies that want to operate in China generally have to play by Chinese rules. But Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales told The Wall Street Journal this weekend that his site will never comply with government requests to restrict information in China — making it one of only a handful of large American sites to do so. Here, for comparison, are the top 10 American Web sites by global traffic, according to Alexa. Most of the sites that operate in China obey censorship rules, which ban information on politically sensitive topics such Tibet, the spiritual movement Falun Gong, and the 1989 protests and crackdown most commonly associated with Tiananmen Square.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, August 12, 2013)

    The New Delhi High Court has given Facebook and Google one month to submit suggestions on how minors can be protected online in India. This move is in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by KN Govinacharya, a senior member of the right wing political party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The PIL seeks to protect citizens of India from cyber crimes, which according to the government, has cost the exchequer $4 billion last year. Some of the highlights include the PIL pointing out that despite guidelines given by the government for companies to follow the KYC normal (“know your customer”), social networking companies do not follow them. The PIL believes that Facebook is not verifying its users, and instead allowing minors to set up accounts because it uses them for marketing, advertising, and data mining purposes.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Friday, August 9, 2013)

    A Thai journalist has been harassed and questioned today in connection with comments he posted to his personal Facebook page in early August that speculated about a possible military coup, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Thai authorities to drop the criminal investigation against Sermsuk Kasitpradit and to refrain broadly from curbing freedom of expression over the Internet. Sermsuk, political news editor at Thailand's Public Broadcasting Service, was interrogated at the police-run Technology Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok for more than 90 minutes today. He told CPJ that officers had asked him to explain his intention in making the comments on the Facebook page and that he was told the information he provided would be sent to more senior investigating officers. No charges were immediately filed.

  • (CNN, Wednesday, August 7, 2013)

    YouTube is a source of entertainment and news for billions around the world, but Pakistanis have lost access to the video site for almost a year after clips of the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims" prompted a government ban. That ban will be challenged for the first time in court Wednesday -- and activists, as well as artists, some of whose careers were launched on YouTube, are keeping their fingers crossed.

  • (New York Times, Tuesday, August 6, 2013)

    American officials criticized the Vietnamese government on Tuesday for its new limits on political dissent on the Internet, citing a decree that appears to restrict people from sharing news articles on social media and personal Web sites. The decree, announced last Wednesday and scheduled to go into force on Sept. 1, states that personal blogs and social media sites “should be used to provide and exchange information of that individual only.”

  • (Washington Post, Monday, August 5, 2013)

    China’s famously invasive and restrictive Internet regime is taking on a new mission: trying to understand Chinese popular opinion instead of merely seeking to control it. In addition to censoring or discouraging talk on sensitive topics, the Chinese government is also seeking to understand what people are thinking and saying, something it’s done by hiring polling firms — a remarkable step — and asking state media organizations and universities to track Chinese Web chatter.

  • (Global Voices, Saturday, August 3, 2013)

    Vietnam’s new Internet decree made public on July 31 instantly generated controversy after it purportedly contains several provisions that would ban the sharing of news stories in various social networks. But the government clarified that the decree is aimed only at protecting copyright. The regulation will take effect on September 1. Decree 72/2013/ND-CP or “Management, Provision, Use of Internet Services and Information Content Online” was signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15.  

  • (IFEX, Friday, August 2, 2013)

    Chinese authorities should release a veteran journalist and government critic being held without charge and reverse their orders to shut down more than 100 websites, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on August 2, 2013. State security agents detained Xiao Shu in Beijing early on August 2, according to local and international news reports. The accounts said Xiao's friends have been unable to contact him since he was taken into custody. Authorities have not disclosed where Xiao is being held or any charges against him.

  • (ZDNet, Friday, August 2, 2013)

    Six Chinese Internet companies have introduced online platform to refute rumors and false information circulating on the Web. According to a China Daily report Thursday, the new website collates and monitors statements from microblogging services, news portals, and China's largest search engine Baidu, to refute online rumors and expose the scams of phishing Web sites. The six Internet companies are: Qianlong, Sogou, Sohu, Netease, Baidu, and Sina Weibo. The new online platform operates under the instruction of the Beijing Internet Information Office (BIIO) and Beijing Internet Association, a non-profit social organization.

  • (Jakarta Post, Friday, August 2, 2013)

    A tiny crack in the "Great Firewall of China" will allow some forbidden bytes to filter through, at the first university on mainland Chinese soil with a campus-wide uncensored Internet connection. Students and researchers from the University of Macau, which is relocating to Hengqin Island in Guangdong next January, will have unfettered Internet access. This includes sites banned in China such as Facebook, YouTube and Bloomberg news.

  • (The Times of India, Thursday, August 1, 2013)

    In its counter-affidavit to the PIL in the Delhi high court, Facebook has argued that limiting access to social media can limit an individual's freedom of speech and expression. The PIL, among other things, deals with the issue of minors accessing Facebook services, arguing that under the Indian Contract Act 1872, minors can't enter into a contract. The PIL will be heard next on Friday.

  • (Mashable, Tuesday, July 30, 2013)

    China's surveillance of its citizens' digital activities is common knowledge. However, questions remain concerning what content is targeted by government censors and how these blacklists change in response to current events. A new study released this month in First Monday uncovers more than 4,000 unique keywords censored over the last year and a half on Chinese instant messaging platforms. Focusing on Skype and the microblogging service Sina Weibo, the researchers cultivated their keyword list using reverse-engineering techniques such as packet sniffing, which captures and analyzes packets of data as they pass through a network.

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, July 30, 2013)

    Asif Mohiuddin, an atheist blogger who was freed on bail on 27 June 2013 after three months in pre-trial detention, was returned to prison on 29 July by Dhaka judge Mohammad Akharuzzaman, who ruled that "no grounds" had been presented for extending his bail period. Accused of making "derogatory contents about Islam and the Prophet Mohammed" on an online social network, Mohiuddin is facing a possible 14-year jail sentence. Three other bloggers who were arrested on the same charge - Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Russel Parvez and Mashiur Rahman Biplob - are still free on bail.

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, July 30, 2013)

    The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement threatens the rights of Internet users in all its potential signatories, from Peru to Canada to the United States. On 23 July 2013, as part of the 18th round of meetings in Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia, a new country, Japan, officially joined the negotiations. Japan is arriving late to the TPP table, but its participation already risks making Japanese law harsher while demolishing the hard-won victories of copyright reformers in the country. Japan has its fair share of severe copyright laws. Those who upload unauthorized copyrighted content can face up to 10 years in prison or approximately US$125,000 in fines.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, July 28, 2013)

    Bangladeshi Blogger and activist Asif Mohiuddin, the winner of the best social activism blog from the Deutsche Welle Best Of Blogs Awards 2012, was arrested last April on charges of “hurting religious sentiment of Muslims through writing”. He has been released under bail and is now writing about his experiences in confinement in Guruchandali blogging platform [bn] from West Bengal, India.

  • (The Express Tribune, Thursday, July 25, 2013)

    The government is considering reopening video sharing website YouTube after Eidul Fitr, Express News reported. Minister of State Anusha Rahman has formed a 12 member committee to review the possibility of removing objectionable content from the website after PTA voiced its inability to block the content. The government said that all stakeholders will be taken into confidence before reopening the website.

  • (Washington Post, Thursday, July 25, 2013)

    China’s Twitter-like weibo microblogging services have become lively forums for commenting on the events of the day in China’s otherwise tightly controlled media landscape. On Thursday, however, the comments about disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai’s indictment for alleged corruption, bribe taking and abuse of power were uniformly positive, a likely sign that censors had removed any that criticized the government or voiced support for Bo.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, July 25, 2013)

    Chinese censors have cracked down on blogger Zhu Ruifeng, an apparent signal that there are limits to the government's tolerance for citizens assisting with the exposure of corrupt officials. On July 16, one day after the Beijing-based blogger and founder of an anti-corruption website published corruption allegations about the chief secretary of Jinjiang city in Fujian province, his online presence disappeared. Government censors disabled all four of his microblog accounts and blocked mainland access to his website, Renmin Jinduwang ("People's Supervision"), which is registered in Hong Kong. Zhu issued a statement through another Sina Weibo user on July 17 saying that he is safe but that his "microblogs have to take a summer vacation."  

  • (MemeBurn, Wednesday, July 24, 2013)

    This is interesting. Anyone even vaguely familiar with the Chinese online scene knows that Western social networks like Twitter and Facebook are banned in the country. But now people using China’s Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo can post statuses to Facebook, unless they’re in China that is. According to The Next Web, the feature was first spotted by Jeffrey Broer, CEO of the Hong Kong-based Sina Weibo-translation app Surround App. In order to make use of the feature, you just have to click on the Facebook icon, located next to the log in and registration buttons at the top of the page. For now, it looks like all you can do is let your friends know you’re using Sina Weibo although the company says that it will likely increase the functionality to allow people to cross-post status updates and audiovisual content from Sina Weibo to Facebook.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Wednesday, July 24, 2013)

    Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang, who is to meet with US President Barack Obama tomorrow, heads a country that is second only to China in the number of bloggers and netizens it is currently detaining – 35. Serving long sentences of up to 13 years in prison on trumped-up charges, they are the victims of his government’s determined persecution of dissident voices. Reporters Without Borders has just launched a petition for the immediate and unconditional release of all these bloggers. Although it has been online for just a few days, it has already been signed by more than 3,000 people, demonstrating the rightness of this cause and the support it is attracting.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, July 23, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the violence that members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) used against two employees of the English-language daily Rising Kashmir, Mohammad Jaffar and Abdul Qayoom, in Peerbagh, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 20 July. RWB is also disturbed to learned that Internet and 3G mobile networks were blocked in Jammu and Kashmir on 18 July after members of the Border Security Force (BSF) shot six demonstrators during a protest against the BSF’s recent intrusion into a mosque.

  • (Freedom House, Monday, July 22, 2013)

    This special report is based on the 2013 China chapter of Freedom House’s annual Freedom on the Net survey. Freedom on the Net is a comparative analysis of internet freedom with a unique methodology, and includes a detailed narrative report and a numerical score for each country assessed. The 2013 edition, which will be published in September, covers 60 countries. Past editions are available at www.freedomhouse.org.

  • (Malaysia Chronicle, Monday, July 22, 2013)

    Think twice before you post sensitive comments on the social media relating to race, religion and the position of the King. You are being watched! There are now volunteers who call themselves the "Sensible and Ethical Malaysian United Troopers" or in short SEMUT who monitor the social media for sensitive remarks or comments that can be harmful to the society. "The volunteers will feed us the information, including screenshots of the postings. Then we will look at the information and lodge a police report in order for the authorities to initiate investigation," the group coordinator, Huan Cheng Guan told Bernama.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, July 22, 2013)

    A new decree aimed at regulating Internet-related information and services in Vietnam represents a significant new danger to online journalists and bloggers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The decree was signed into law on July 15 and will be implemented on September 1, according to news reports.

  • (Time, Thursday, July 18, 2013)

    Every time Le Anh Hung starts to write he thinks of his three young children. The 38-year-old has already been imprisoned twice for blogging about human rights and corruption from his home in Hanoi and lives half-expecting another fateful knock at the door. And yet “I’m not scared,” he says, “I know what I choose to do is risky but I accept the fight.”

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, July 15, 2013)

    According to Bytes for All (B4A), a representative of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority claimed on 4 July that “the government of Pakistan has an existing ‘arrangement’ with Facebook, which allows them to have ‘undesirable content and Facebook pages blocked as per directions from the authority”. In an open letter to the Global Network Initiative (GNI) — of which Facebook is a member — B4A said that if true, it is “betrayal by the company towards the users of Facebook in Pakistan. The claim is upsetting because if true, it breaches the trust of its users, vehemently opposes what Facebook publicly proclaims in its principles, and is in stark contrast to the social network’s commitment to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association as a member of the Global Network Initiative”.

  • (Index on Censorship, Monday, July 15, 2013)

    Real improvements have been made that strengthen digital freedom of expression in Burma from ending the blocking of Skype calls, to restrictions on internet cafe use being lifted and a reduction in SIM costs which will open up access to the internet and mobile telecoms. However, the legal framework remains largely unchanged during the transition to civilian government, in particular the draconian Electronic Transactions Act which contains many restrictive provisions on internet use. Built into the network infrastructure there are physical restraints on the internet in Burma with only one internet gateway for personal users allowing the possibility of deep packet inspection and web filtering.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, July 12, 2013)

    There’s a battle brewing in Chinese social media between text and voicemail service WeChat and microblogging website Sina Weibo. According to huxiu.com, recent research completed by a third-party data-tracking service has shown that user activity on popular Sina Weibo has declined more than 30 percent compared to mid-2012.

  • (New York Review of Books, Wednesday, July 10, 2013)

    Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to earlier budgets, list no links, and say nothing that might raise questions”; “Downplay stories on Kim Jung-un’s facelift”; and “Allow stories on Deputy Mayor Zhang’s embezzlement but omit the comment boxes.”

  • (Index on Censorship, Wednesday, July 10, 2013)

    The first new system is the Central Monitoring System (CMS) that will be used by tax authorities and the National Investigation Agency to track phone calls, texts and emails to fight terror related crimes.

  • (First Monday, Monday, July 8, 2013)

    In this paper, we present an analysis of over one year and a half of data from tracking the censorship and surveillance keyword lists of two instant messaging programs used in China. Through reverse engineering of TOM–Skype and Sina UC, we were able to obtain the URLs and encryption keys for various versions of these two programs and have been downloading the keyword blacklists daily.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Monday, July 8, 2013)

    The past couple of years have seen a growing interest in Internet regulation developed in a multistakeholder environment. From Brazil to Jordan, such participatory processes have yielded mixed results, but around the world, many activists, policymakers, and other stakeholders remain optimistic that multistakeholder-developed regulation is possible.

  • (IFEX, Friday, July 5, 2013)

    In 2009 Chinese authorities clamped a week-long communications blackout on the Uighur autonomous region as part of a military repression prompted by disturbances. On the eve of the anniversary of those events, Reporters Without Borders has concluded that authorities are maintaining their tight control of information in the most heavily monitored area of China. 

  • (Global Voices, Friday, July 5, 2013)

    Protests have continued for several weeks in South Korea against revelations that the country's intelligence agency allegedly meddled in December's presidential election by undertaking an anonymous online attack campaign against opposition parties.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, July 2, 2013)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by the ongoing investigation into a critical Vietnamese blogger. Dinh Nhat Uy was the third blogger arrested in a month, signaling that the country's crackdown continues to intensify.

  • (IFEX, Friday, June 28, 2013)

    The government of Pakistan has repeatedly shown it is relentless when it comes to deploying measures to censor and spy on its own citizens. On 21 June 2013, a report released by Citizen Lab revealed another repressive tool being used to control and prevent information being accessed on the internet - this time with help from the Canadian web-filtering company, Netsweeper. 

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, June 28, 2013)

    A Dhaka court finally decided yesterday to release Asif Mohiuddin, an atheist blogger who was arrested on 3 April. Charged with violating the Information and Communication Technology Act, he will hopefully be freed on 30 June after 88 days in detention, during which his health has worsened considerably.

  • (TechPresident, Wednesday, June 26, 2013)

    "You're going to an Internet freedom forum in Burma?" a friend of mine asked me. "Is that even legal?" The question didn't surprise me. Many still imagine Burma as a place where activists and writers meet covertly in doughnut shops, trailed by secret police, and where bloggers and monks alike are thrown into prison for dissent.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, June 25, 2013)

    This spring, the Taiwanese government has proposed multiple amendments to existing laws that could impact free expression online, sparking concern among Taiwanese netizens. While many are comparing the amendments to Chinese-style speech control, others have noted the influence of the United States on the legislation.

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, June 25, 2013)

    Freedom Forum is concerned over the arrest of three journalists over a news story about a women's college published on the Nepali Headlines news portal about a month prior to the arrest. Police arrested guest editor Sushil Pant and website owner Santosh Bhattarai in the capital city of Kathmandu, on June 20, 2013.  

  • (Global Voices, Monday, June 24, 2013)

    Ethnic minorities in China may be facing discrimination online due to the country's new real-name registration policy. The law mandates all major portal websites to require that users verify their identity (by submitting their national ID number, home address, and other personal information) by June 2014. Since China's national legislature approved the real name registration system in December 2012, many online service providers have implemented the policy and asked their customers to verify their identity before signing up for their services.

  • (The Atlantic, Monday, June 24, 2013)

    Censorship on Sina Weibo has gotten much more complicated in recent months. Through the testing of searches of key "sensitive" terms on the site, it has become clear that some previously-blocked search terms now return results. Don't pop open bottles of champagne to celebrate a decrease in censorship yet, however: an examination of available search results shows that it is instead merely a shift in tactics. The implementation of more targeted, subtler censorship -- including the sanitization of keyword search results to remove unwanted content -- makes the suppression of information more invisible, and harder to fight.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, June 13, 2013)

    Early moves by Thein Sein to ease Internet censorship are viewed as a limited concession to press freedom, since Burma has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the world. Now, planned foreign investments in mobile infrastructure promise to expand access, but a draft telecommunications law would leave intact many of the vague legal restrictions used to curb online freedoms in the past.

  • (IFEX, Friday, June 7, 2013)

    The Indian government should enact clear laws to ensure that increased surveillance of phones and the Internet does not undermine rights to privacy and free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. In April 2013, the Indian government began rolling out the Central Monitoring System (CMS), which will enable the government to monitor all phone and Internet communications in the country. The CMS will provide centralized access to the country's telecommunications network and facilitate direct monitoring of phone calls, text messages, and Internet use by government agencies, bypassing service providers. 

     

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Thursday, June 6, 2013)

    Australian Internet users have been cursed for over a decade by governments who appear to neither understand nor care about the consequences of Internet censorship. The current Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has been particular notorious on this matter: after failing to get parliamentary approval for his Internet blacklist plans, he announced that government departments, including his own, had powers to block websites anyway under the ambiguously-written powers of Section 313 of the fifteen-year old Telecommunications Act.

  • (Asia One News, Wednesday, June 5, 2013)

    Mr Siew Kum Hong, a former Nominated MP and regular online commentator, gives his take on MDA's new licensing scheme. What do you make of the new licensing framework that the Media Development Authority announced this week, and its impact on the media landscape? "This is a significant retreat from the "light touch" approach to Internet censorship that the Singapore Government has espoused since the late 1990s."

  • (The Atlantic, Tuesday, June 4, 2013)

    China's censors are blocking words like "today" and "June 4" from social media as part of the country's yearly chore to block any reference to the anniversary to the Tiananmen Square massacre 24 years ago. And though the Chinese are running a sophisticated and tight censorship ship, they're having a bit harder time blocking memes. Yes memes. 

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, May 30, 2013)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention of Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat on anti-state charges and calls for his immediate release. "The arrest of Truong Duy Nhat is the latest instance of Vietnamese authorities using vague anti-state allegations to stifle a critical voice," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "Vietnam's prisons are bulging with innocent journalists and bloggers. It's time authorities halt this repressive practice and release all of the reporters now behind bars."

  • (Android Authority, Thursday, May 30, 2013)

    In countries like China, government control looms large. As much of the rest of the world enjoys hassle-free Internet browsing, countries with less than open governments face censorship on a grand scale. Painting with a broad brush, The People’s Republic of China is not friendly to outside influence, including those on the Internet. Where there’s a will, there’s a Pi. A Redditor, going by JaiPasInternet, has found a nifty workaround for censorship on the go. Using a Raspberry Pi computer, this crafty Redditor has turned theirs into a remote VPN client, able to operate free of oversight.

  • (Foreign Affairs, Thursday, May 30, 2013)

    The Chinese Internet is becoming a walled garden -- an Orwellian environment, separated from the rest of the global Web, where information unfavorable to the government simply disappears, public discussions are shaped by undercover agents, and censorship and surveillance are built into the most popular online services.

  • (ARS Technica, Wednesday, May 29, 2013)

    A Vietnamese blogger, Truong Duy Nhat, was arrested at his home for his blog posts that called for social reform, according to a report Monday from Reporters Without Borders. After his arrest, Nhat’s blog was temporarily disabled. An unknown party then set it up again as a trap, downloading malware on any PC that tries to access it. Nhat’s blog, entitled “Another Point of View,” was his follow-up to reporting positions at two state-controlled newspapers, Quang Nam Da Nang Police Newspaper and Great Solidarity Newspaper. Nhat has been writing at “Another Point of View” since 2010, criticizing the country’s Communist government.

  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, May 29, 2013)

    Everyone from Hillary Clinton to Amnesty International has bashed China’s “Great Firewall” as an impediment to free speech and democracy. That’s what makes a new study out of Northwestern University both odd and intriguing: According to its authors, media researchers Harsh Taneja and Angela Xiao Wu, Chinese censorship actually has little impact on what people there read online, and Chinese Internet users aren’t particularly isolated, even vis-a-vis users in countries with unrestricted access. What’s more, they essentially argue, the Internet isn’t that grand, global community that connects and equalizes everyone. Instead, users self-select the cultural communities and content they’re most comfortable with — rather like real life.

  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, May 29, 2013)

    Singapore’s government says a new policy will require online news websites to be licensed, a move that is being criticized as a form of censorship in a country where media outlets are already strictly controlled. The policy will require websites that report regularly on Singapore news and have at least 50,000 visitors a month to obtain annual licenses, the city-state’s Media Development Authority said in a statement Tuesday. They also will be required to remove content found to be in breach of MDA standards within 24 hours of notification.

  • (Northwestern University, Monday, May 27, 2013)

    Internet access blockage is widely understood to “balkanize” the Internet into isolated communities. Drawing from the literature on global cultural consumption, we question this assumption and argue that online user behavior is structured by cultural factors. We develop a conceptual framework that integrates access blockage with social structures to explain web users’ choices. To test it, we focus on China, where Internet blockage is notoriously comprehensive, and compare Chinese web usage patterns with those elsewhere. Analyzing online audience traffic among the 1000 most visited websites globally, we find that websites cluster according to language and geography. Chinese websites constitute one cluster, which resembles other such geo-linguistic clusters in terms of both its composition and degree of isolation. Our study demonstrates that cultural proximity has a greater role than access blockage in shaping people’s web usage. Our sociological investigation questions the prevalent discourse on the impact of Internet blockage.  

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, May 27, 2013)

    Public security ministry officials yesterday arrested Truong Duy Nhat, one of Vietnam’s most influential bloggers, at his home in the central city of Da Nang and escorted him by plane to Hanoi. “Nhat’s arrest is particularly disturbing as it shows that the government is bent on persecuting and jailing all dissidents, despite the many calls for the release of five bloggers when their appeals were heard last week,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call for Nhat’s immediate and unconditional release and an end to this unjustified persecution.”

  • (IFEX, Thursday, May 23, 2013)

    The Indian government has been implementing a system to track and access calls, texts, and online activities. Mahima Kaul reports from Delhi that the Central Monitoring System (CMS) will be used by tax authorities and India's National Investigation Authority to fight terror-related crimes. Opponents to the surveillance system have now launched an online petition against it. They say that while the system can be used to halt terror attacks and other violence, the government will primarily use it to police hate speech and criticism of authorities. They point to the government's track record of arresting its online critics under Section 66A of the IT Act.  

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, May 23, 2013)

    A court in the northern city of Vinh on today ruled on the appeals by five bloggers – Ho Duc Hoa, Paulus Le Van Son, Nguyen Van Duyet, Thai Van Dung and Tran Minh Nhat - against their long jail terms, upholding the existing sentences for three of them and reducing the sentences of the other two. “Even if the appeal court reduced Son’s sentence by a considerable amount, it is still unacceptable and reflects the government’s determination to reduce all dissidents to silence,” Reporters Without Borders said.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, May 22, 2013)

    On April 29, 2013, China’s biggest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group announced that it would acquire an 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo for US$ 586 million, a deal that could reshape the country’s Internet landscape. Sina Weibo is China’s most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform with over 500 million user accounts, but it has yet to find a profitable business model... But the deal also marks a subtle trend which will enable the authoritarian state to tighten its grip on the Internet. As the line dividing economics and politics in the Internet space erodes, new possibilities arise for governments to pursue systematic online persecution beyond content control.

  • (The New York Times, Wednesday, May 22, 2013)

    Name a target anywhere in China, an official at a state-owned company boasted recently, and his crack staff will break into that person’s computer, download the contents of the hard drive, record the keystrokes and monitor cellphone communications, too. Pitches like that, from a salesman for Nanjing Xhunter Software, were not uncommon at a crowded trade show this month that brought together Chinese law enforcement officials and entrepreneurs eager to win government contracts for police equipment and services.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, May 15, 2013)

    Brunei internet users are complaining against the slow and unreliable internet connection in their country. Writing for The Brunei Times, Shareen Han cited a study by the World Economic Forum which listed Brunei as having one of the most expensive internet rates in Southeast Asia. But many Brunei netizens feel they are getting poor internet service for the high fees they are paying.

  • (Christian Science Monitor, Wednesday, May 15, 2013)

    Chinese government censors are silencing influential opponents by shutting down their social media accounts on the pretext of a campaign against online rumors, victims of the practice say. “The authorities believe that liberal ideology will undermine their rule,” says Murong Xuecun, a famous author and outspoken critic of censorship whose accounts on four Twitter-like platforms disappeared suddenly last Sunday evening. “The space on China’s Internet for public opinion is being narrowed.” 

  • (Delimiter, Wednesday, May 15, 2013)

    The Federal Government has confirmed its financial regulator has started requiring Australian Internet service providers to block websites suspected of providing fraudulent financial opportunities, in a move which appears to also open the door for other government agencies to unilaterally block sites they deem questionable in their own portfolios.

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, May 15, 2013)

    On 9 May, I posted the following message on Sina Weibo: "The account you have been managing for years can be deleted in a second. Then you try to plot its reincarnation by writing every word from scratch. The house you have been building all your life can be bulldozed in a moment. Then you try to rise from its rubble by picking up every piece of brick and tile. "This is my Chinese dream: harbour no illusion about the evil powers, and understand that their evil will only grow. 

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, May 13, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the Vietnamese public security ministry’s decision to prevent the well-known blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh from travelling abroad. Winner of the 2013 Netizen Prize, which Reporters Without Borders awards annually with support from Google, Chenh and his daughter were stopped at Ho Chi Minh City airport as they were about to board a flight to the United States on 10 May.

  • (Index, Monday, May 13, 2013)

    We are a consortium of NGOs and individuals, committed to respecting user privacy and promoting freedom of expression and access to information. We express our dismay and condemnation over the presence of a FinFisher Command and Control server on a network operated by the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTLD’s). FinFisher, developed by a UK-based company Gamma International, has been used to target activists in Bahrain. Privacy International is currently engaged in a lawsuit over the export of FinFisher, and has also filed a complaint with the OECD.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, May 13, 2013)

    The online Sina Weibo microblogging account of Murong Xuecun, one of China's most popular writers and one of the country's foremost critics of censorship, has been deleted from the site, suspected to be part of the government's efforts to crack down on online rumors by targeting high-profile users.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, May 10, 2013)

    Replete with its own thriving news portals, social media and gaming sites, the Chinese Internet could take a major step toward becoming fully Chinese by the end of the year. Speaking in an interview Wednesday, Fady Chehadé, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the private body that oversees the basic design of the Internet — said the organization would roll out Chinese character options for top-level domains in the second half of 2013.

  • (IFEX, Friday, May 10, 2013)

    Charges of terrorism laid and dropped against a journalist in Vanuatu over a Facebook comment need independent investigation, states the Pacific Freedom Forum. "A Facebook comment alone cannot possibly constitute terrorism," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi. "Governments of the day must not use terrorism laws against freedoms of expression, no matter how robust, rude, or just plain wrong. At the same time, media must ensure they use freedoms responsibly and try to avoid comments that could be misconstrued.  

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Wednesday, May 8, 2013)

    Bloggers and netizens who took part in “picnics to discuss human rights” in public places in several Vietnamese cities on 5 May were violently attacked by police and many were briefly detained. “We firmly condemn this deliberate police violence against news providers and we are very disturbed to see that such unacceptable violence seems to be the automatic and systematic response from the authorities to any attempt to use freedom of expression,” Reporters Without Borders said.

  • (The Times of India, Tuesday, May 7, 2013)

    The government last month quietly began rolling out a project that gives it access to everything that happens over India's telecommunications network—online activities, phone calls, text messages and even social media conversations. Called the Central Monitoring System, it will be the single window from where government arms such as the National Investigation Agency or the tax authorities will be able to monitor every byte of communication.

  • (Access, Monday, May 6, 2013)

    Last week, we documented network interference in Malaysia: local internet service providers (ISPs) were obstructing the free flow of traffic from selected sites hosting opposition political content, right ahead of a critical election. Users attempting to visit certain pages on Facebook, or videos on YouTube, were unable to access that content: their ISPs were monitoring their networks, identifying user requests for select content, and then preventing those platforms from returning any data. To a user, it would appear that Facebook or YouTube were responsible, while in reality, the local network was actively preventing certain information from being shared.

  • (Reuters, Saturday, May 4, 2013)

    Ahead of Malaysia's elections on Sunday, independent online media say they are being targeted in Internet attacks which filter content and throttle access to websites, threatening to deprive voters of their main source of independent reporting. Independent online news sites have emerged in recent years to challenge the dominance of mostly government-linked traditional media. The government denies any attempts to hobble access to the Internet in the run-up to a close-fought election.

  • (Parity News, Saturday, May 4, 2013)

    Officials over in the US have told the Indian Government that they will not be able to serve summons to the executives of companies like Google and Facebook because they are not convinced that the content hosted on these sites can cause violence and that these summons impact “free speech principles". The reply comes as a response to India’s request to the US to help serve papers to 11 Internet Companies as they were accused of hosting content on their sites that was meant to fuel communal hatred and violence.

  • (Open ITP, Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

    Collateral Freedom: A Snapshot of Chinese Users Circumventing Censorship, just released, documents the experiences of 1,175 Chinese Internet users who are circumventing their country’s Internet censorship— and it carries a powerful message for developers and funders of censorship circumvention tools. We believe these results show an opportunity for the circumvention tech community to build stable, long term improvements in Internet freedom in China.

  • (The Express Tribune, Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

    It is perhaps of little surprise that the YouTube ban earned its own session at the Islamabad Literature Festival, a session that challenged the establishment in all its crumbling, insecure and hegemonic glory. The delightful assembly of satire-charged speakers included internet parody-king Osman Khalid Butt of “PTA-banned words”, “Crazed Maya Khan” and “Halal Paris Hilton” fame, Friday Times editor and famed ‘tweeter’ Raza Rumi, ‘Bayghairat Brigade’ vocalist Ali Aftab Saeed, and musician-academic Taimur Rehman.

  • (IFEX, Tuesday, April 30, 2013)

    On 28 April 2013, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights ("CCHR") released a Briefing Note on the subject of Freedom of Expression and Internet Censorship in Cambodia. The Briefing Note provides an overview of the use of new media in Cambodia, examines the recent trend towards internet censorship, and highlights the implications for freedom of expression in Cambodia.

  • (Asian Correspondent, Thursday, April 25, 2013)

    Much of the news and debate surrounding Burma these days is on peace and conflict in the nation, and analysis of politics, corruption and civil war. However, issues such as technology and the Internet in Burma seem to fly under the news radar. The Internet market in Burma is not a vibrant one, but technologists and entrepreneurs are becoming more hopeful that it is just a matter of time before the people of Burma can buy and sell online. Investors are coming to Burma in droves, but so far there is now method of online payment.

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, April 23, 2013)

    His bookshelves are filled with the collected works of Marx, Engels and Ho Chi Minh, the hallmarks of a loyal career in the Communist Party, but Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, 77, says he is no longer a believer. A former adviser to two prime ministers, Mr. Tuong, like so many people in Vietnam today, is speaking out forcefully against the government.

  • (BBC News, Monday, April 22, 2013)

    Japanese people who "abuse" the Tor anonymous browsing network could be blocked from using it. The recommendation was made in a report drawn up for the National Police Agency (NPA) in Japan by a panel of technology experts. The panel was formed to help decide how to tackle crimes committed with the aid of the Tor network.

  • (The New York Times, Monday, April 22, 2013)

    The United States and China held their highest-level military talks in nearly two years on Monday, with a senior Chinese general pledging to work with the United States on cybersecurity because the consequences of a major cyberattack “may be as serious as a nuclear bomb.”

  • (The Atlantic, Monday, April 22, 2013)

    In the summer of 2012, Steve Fan suspended his graduate studies at Stanford University and headed back to China, which he had left four years earlier. The motivation of this computer science major -- to launch a start-up and cash in on an idea he spotted in the world's largest Internet market -- was not uncommon. Less expected were the extra costs he incurred for doing business in China. These had nothing to do with common costs like equipment, rent, or hiring workers. Rather, daily life involved finding workarounds past China's immense national Internet censorship apparatus, widely known as the Great Firewall.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, April 22, 2013)

    In South Korea where net users are accustomed to whizzing along with one of the fastest Internet connection speeds in the world, YouTube's sluggish performance is a source of constant complaints. But why does the video-hosting site run so slow compared to the rest of South Korea's Internet? The answer lies in the utter disrespect that South Korea's dominant corporations have for net neutrality.

  • (ARS Technica, Sunday, April 21, 2013)

    Authorities in Japan are so worried about their inability to tackle cybercrime that they are asking the country's ISPs to block the use of Tor. According to The Mainichi, the National Police Agency (NPA, a bit like the Japanese FBI) is going to urge ISPs to block customers if they are found to have "abused" Tor online. Since Tor anonymizes traffic, that can be read as a presumption of guilt on anyone who anonymizes their Web activity.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, April 18, 2013)

    You have to wonder how this will be enforced, but China's State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television has issued a "Notice on Strengthening Control of Media Personnel's Online Activities." Chinese media organizations have been told to stop posting foreign media news without government permission: "Without authorization, no kind of media outlets shall arbitrarily use media release from overseas media agencies and media websites," is the way Caijing magazine translated it.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, April 17, 2013)

    The Bangladesh authorities should immediately drop charges against and release four bloggers and a newspaper editor arrested in April, Human Rights Watch said on April 15, 2013. All five are facing criminal charges solely related to the peaceful exercise of their right to free speech. Human Rights Watch said the government should stop targeting individuals and media publishing stories the government deems objectionable and reaffirm its commitment to freedom of expression, a principle which the governing Awami League has long claimed to champion. 

     

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, April 16, 2013)

    Chinese Web users skirted the country's tough Internet censors to pay homage to former communist party leader and popular reformer Hu Yaobang, whose death 24 years ago sparked the Tiananmen Square protests. Hu's support for free market reforms and more government transparency during his time as the Chinese Communist Party’s General Secretary from 1982 to 1987 were welcomed by many Chinese, but made him the enemy of some powerful party leaders.

  • (The Atlantic, Monday, April 15, 2013)

    Earlier this week, a Chinese propaganda official said China's internet-based "new media" were threatening the Communist party. Using one of Mao Zedong's most famous phrases, Ren Xianliang, vice-minister of propaganda in Shaanxi province, wrote in an editorial (link in Chinese): "Just as political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, the Party's control of the media is an unassailable basis of the party's leadership."

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Thursday, April 11, 2013)

    Apparently as a result of this blog post, social media attention, and questions from the Australian Greens to the Australian Federal Attorney General's Department, the block has been lifted. But there has not yet been any explanation of why these 1,200 sites were blocked in the first place.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, April 11, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the baseless judicial proceedings brought against the detained blogger Asif Mohiuddin, who could be tried and convicted on a charge of blasphemy and “hurting religious sentiments” at his next hearing, scheduled for 15 April. “Keeping Mohiuddin in detention is unacceptable, especially as his family says his health has deteriorated,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities must stop trying to appease the extremists and must end this persecution of ‘secularist’ bloggers.

  • (CircleID, Tuesday, April 9, 2013)

    One of the staggering numbers introduced during the opening remarks at ICANN 46 here in Beijing by multiple speakers, including ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade and speakers from the Chinese government, was this: China now has over 564 million Internet users! Think about that for a minute. Most estimates these days are that there are around 2 billion people around the world using the Internet. We have no real way of knowing exactly how many people are online, but the estimate most of us use is "2 billion".

  • (The Washington Post, Tuesday, April 9, 2013)

    At a rare public forum on cyberissues Tuesday featuring American and Chinese government officials, U.S. diplomats and business leaders tried using economic arguments to persuade China to stop its cyberattacks and Internet censorship. China’s heavy-handed Web restrictions not only slow Internet speeds and make company data less secure, but they also have “tangible economic” effects on the country, said Gary Locke, the U.S. ambassador to China.

  • (The Economist, Saturday, April 6, 2013)

    China's sophisticated hackers may be the terror of the Earth, but in fact most of their attacks are rather workaday. America and Russia have hackers at least as good as China’s best, if not better. What distinguishes Chinese cyber-attacks, on anything from governments to Fortune 500 companies, defence contractors, newspapers, think-tanks, NGOs, Chinese human-rights groups and dissidents, is their frequency, ubiquity and sheer brazenness. This leads to an unnerving conclusion.

  • (The Economist, Saturday, April 6, 2013)

    On February 9th, Chinese New Year’s Eve, Fang Binxing, known in China as the father of the Great Firewall, wished his followers on Sina Weibo a happy Year of the Snake. As always whenever Mr Fang tweets, thousands of fellow microbloggers sent messages along the lines of “get lost”. They could not reply directly: Mr Fang gets so much abuse for his role in engineering China’s censorship technology that the “comments” function on his microblog page had to be disabled long ago. Nor can users easily find the comments on the 35,000 retweets of his new-year post: Sina has blocked access to those as well.

  • (The Economist, Saturday, April 6, 2013)

    The history of the internet in China is one of give and take, of punch and counterpunch, where the authorities are often surprised by the force and speed of online interactions but determined to keep them under control. The result has been a costly and diverse industrial complex of monitoring and censorship. Central-government ministries have invested in two pillars of control: the Great Firewall, a Western name for a system of blocking foreign websites, starting in the late 1990s, which some believe has cost as much as $160m (the details are state secrets); and Golden Shield for domestic surveillance and filtering, begun in 1998 by the Ministry of Public Security and estimated to have cost more than $1.6 billion so far.

  • (The Economist, Saturday, April 6, 2013)

    Thirteen years ago Clinton, then America’s president, said that trying to control the internet in China would be like trying to “nail Jell-O to the wall”. At the time he seemed to be stating the obvious. By its nature the web was widely dispersed, using so many channels that it could not possibly be blocked. Rather, it seemed to have the capacity to open up the world to its users even in shut-in places. Just as earlier communications technologies may have helped topple dictatorships in the past (for example, the telegraph in Russia’s Bolshevik revolutions in 1917 and short-wave radio in the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991), the internet would surely erode China’s authoritarian state. Vastly increased access to information and the ability to communicate easily with like-minded people round the globe would endow its users with asymmetric power, diluting the might of the state and acting as a force for democracy.

  • (The Express Tribune, Friday, April 5, 2013)

    Thus far in its short term, the caretaker government has been content to stay relatively low-key, and even though a peaceful transfer of power to the next democratically-elected government is the main goal of the caretaker set-up, there is another area where it can stamp its mark. The ban on YouTube now stands at 200 days and counting.

  • (Huffington Post, Wednesday, April 3, 2013)

    The Bangladeshi government is cracking down on bloggers critical of its pro-Islamist stance, arresting four of these writers in the capital of Dhaka this week. Asif Mohiuddin, 30, is one of those bloggers. Mohiuddin has only recently recovered from injuries he incurred during an attack on him by a militant Islamist group in January. Detectives took him from his home on Wednesday night, just two days after police arrested three other bloggers for allegedly hurting the religious beliefs of the people.

  • (The Verge, Monday, April 1, 2013)

    Google chairman Eric Schmidt is worried about the future of internet openness in Burma, one of the least-connected countries in the world. In a post on his Google+ page published Sunday, Schmidt describes some of his initial impressions after visiting the country last month, when Google launched new services there.

  • (Open Society Foundations, Monday, April 1, 2013)

    The United Nations pointed out in 2010 that more Indians have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet. There are over 800 million mobile connections, although the number of unique users (excluding inactive connections) is estimated at around 600 million. Together with the fact that 60 percent of all households have cable and satellite television, providing access to many of the 700-plus television channels licensed to broadcast, it becomes clear that in garrulous India, mass poverty and marginalization do not result in a perfect “digital divide.” This, together with the fact that the public broadcaster’s prime terrestrial channel, DD National, covers about 92 percent of the 1.2 billion-plus population, clearly suggests that the users of digital technologies in India include many of the 300 million still below the official poverty line.

  • (The Citizen Lab, Monday, April 1, 2013)

    This blog post is part of a series documenting the use of information operations against Tibetans and others who advocate for Tibetan rights and freedoms. This research is part of the Citizen Lab’s ongoing study of targeted cyber threats against human rights organizations. Prior research by the Citizen Lab has documented targeted malware sent to a Tibetan organization by the APT1 group, malware that repurposes privately-held content of Tibetan groups, and malware that leverages the issues of self-immolations amongst Tibetans and a European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Tibet.

  • (Forbes, Monday, April 1, 2013)

    In the last months, new research has made it clearer than ever that every computer in the world is a potential target for Chinese government hackers. So perhaps it’s no surprise that smartphones appear to be among those state-sponsored hackers’ targets, too. A report released Monday by the Citizen Lab, a group of information security researchers at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, shows that Tibetan activists are being targeted with sophisticated malware designed to infect Android phones, allowing the malware’s operator to steal the user’s contacts and messages, and track his or her location.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, March 26, 2013)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the hounding of the blogger Asif Mohiuddin, who was summoned and questioned by the police three days ago, two days after the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) blocked access to his blog (http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/realAsifM). The government seems to have yielded to pressure from Islamists amid growing political tension.

  • (The Washington Times, Tuesday, March 26, 2013)

    Several websites that carry independent news or defectors’ reports from North Korea said they were knocked offline Tuesday in what looks like another cyberattack from Pyongyang. The Daily NK, a news site about North Korea, said its website was “temporarily paralyzed this afternoon following an invasive attack by an external hacker.” In a statement, Daily NK said the attack, which appeared to have been routed through an Internet address in the United States, knocked the site offline for nearly an hour.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, March 25, 2013)

    In China's Southern Guangdong province, the local government honored the Guangdong Baiyun University for its ‘excellent work’ in monitoring activities and opinions of students online, according to the Nandu Daily. Nicknamed the ”online red army” and led by nine teachers and six students, Guangdong Baiyun University's own “Student Internet and Social Media Information Monitoring” team was built in 2010 to watch student conversations and control negative sentiment online. Their daily work involves monitoring online chat rooms, following microblogging and tracking online forums. Hired students work 1.5 hours everyday and get paid RMB 200 ($32) per month.

  • (Delimiter, Friday, March 22, 2013)

    The Australian Federal Police has revealed that its limited mandatory ISP filtering scheme based on a list of offensive sites supplied by Interpol has not yet been taken up by most of Australia’s ISPs, with only Telstra and Optus having implemented the filter so far and a further “large ISP” having flat out refused to comply with the project.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, March 22, 2013)

    In an article published online on 14 March, the Vietnamese daily Nhan Dan criticized the fact that the 2013 Reporters Without Borders Netizen Prize was awarded to the Vietnamese citizen-journalist and blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh. Like his compatriots Ta Phong Tan and Nguyen Hoang Vi, Chenh was singled out for his defence of freedom of the media and information in Vietnam and for the courage he showed in using his website for the free and constructive expression of diverse opinions about political and social issues in his country.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    A Shanghai poet was detained for questioning by Chinese police after she posted to popular microblogging site Sina Weibo calling on her followers to take a stroll en masse along the Huangpu River to bring attention to the waterway where nearly 15,000 dead pigs have recently been found floating. The dead pigs scandal and the resulting fears of contaminated tap water have become a hot topic of discussion online since the first carcasses were discovered on March 7, 2013. Web users have posted sarcastic pictures to poke fun at the situation, and some have questioned the government's management of the incident.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, March 19, 2013)

    Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, published a chart on Twitter showing how often his micro-blog was deleted by the Chinese government's censorship arm. Lee regularly blogs about cultural and technology issues in China on Sina Weibo, the most influential micro-blogging platform in the country.

  • (The Times of India, Tuesday, March 19, 2013)

    We are living in an unparalleled time for technological progress. In 10 years, it will be almost impossible to describe to any child in India what life was like before the internet. Only about two billion of the world's seven billion people have an internet connection, and i believe the remaining five billion will get one in the next decade. Almost one billion of them will come online in India. They will have different needs from people online today and expect different things from the internet. Now is the moment for India to decide what kind of internet it wants for them: an open internet that benefits all or a highly regulated one that inhibits innovation.  

  • (TechInAsia, Monday, March 18, 2013)

    Three Indonesian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Telkom, Biznet, and Matrixnet Global are somewhat under fire now as they will face 15-year imprisonment charges if they are proven guilty of spying on their users. This incident came under scrutiny after the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs Citizen Lab published a report last week which found that as many as 25 countries are infected by the remote intrusion and surveillance software FinSpy.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, March 18, 2013)

    After analyzing over 490 million posted messages from users of Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging service, a group of US-based computer scientists are beginning to understand how the platform's censorship mechanisms work. In a research paper entitled “The Velocity of Censorship: High-Fidelity Detection of Microblog Post Deletions,” the group describes how they collected Sina Weibo posts both from common and “dissident” Weibo users. Launched in 2010, Sina Weibo had over 500 million users by end of 2012. Over 46 million users post messages on a daily basis.

  • (Open Democracy, Friday, March 15, 2013)

    You may not actually be able to see the Great Wall of China from space but you can certainly see the Great Firewall of China in action anywhere in the country. 
With the largest population of web users in the world, China also has one of the most restricted internets, with a host of measures employed to make sure that netizens cannot read about sensitive issues nor themselves post - or at least for very long - information the government deems threatening.





  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, March 13, 2013)

    Most North Koreans can’t access the Internet, and only foreigners can use the country’s brand-new 3G cellular network. But the country has still developed its own rudimentary social network — which you can now see for yourself, thanks to a SXSW panel the Associated Press’s Jean Lee gave this weekend. Lee shared this screenshot from the unnamed social network, which is more of an intranet bulletin board and is used largely to post birthday messages, especially among university students and professors.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, March 11, 2013)

    As Xi Jinping takes office as president of China, the citizenry he governs is more sophisticated and interconnected than any before, largely because of the Internet. A complex digital censorship system--combined with a more traditional approach to media control, such as jailing journalists--keeps free expression in check. Repressive regimes worldwide look to China as a model, but Beijing's system of control is increasingly endangered.

  • (The Atlantic, Monday, March 11, 2013)

    After more than a year in pre-trial detention, five independent bloggers amid other activists stood in a Vietnamese court for two days in January to hear they would live behind bars for up to 13 more years. They join a growing cohort of bloggers imprisoned for "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration," "undermining of national unity" and committing "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." Vietnamese bloggers tasted internet freedom over the last decade as online access grew, but social media is no game changer in a paranoid state.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, March 8, 2013)

    China’s social media censors never sleep, though they do fall behind on their work late at night. That’s one of a number of findings from a new study by independent researcher Zhu Tao and a handful of U.S. academics that analyzes the mechanics of censorship on China’s most popular microblogging platform, Sina Corp.’s Weibo. Based on an analysis of 2.38 million Weibo posts published between July and September 2012 by users known to have run afoul of censors, the report lays out the approach most likely taken by Sina’s team of “editors” who are at the heart of the world’s largest effort to control social media.

  • (Access, Thursday, March 7, 2013)

    As Burma solicits bids from telcos to build out its telecommunications infrastructure, the country is making it clear that they’re open for business. But as the Burmese government seeks to hand out two 3G licenses, allowing millions of people to be connected with one another and the world, companies must perform their due diligence. With billions of dollars on the line for both the country and the companies, it’s no wonder that interest is high. Telcos that receive the new licenses, though, may be surprised by the number of obstacles they face on entering the country. Democratic reforms may be coming into shape, but progress remains incredibly fragile. Telcos, then, need to consider whether investing in Burma is feasible under internal company ethical standards and international law obligations.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, March 6, 2013)

    On 6 March 2013, CCHR released a fact sheet on the recent case of a teacher, Phel Phearun, who was summoned by the Chamkarmorn Police in connection with a defamation case over a Facebook post. The Phnom Penh municipal police allege that a Facebook post made public by Phel Phearun on 24 January 2013 constitutes defamation. The post in question detailed the confiscation of Phel Phearun's motorbike earlier that day and expressed concern about his treatment by the police. This is the first case of its kind in the Kingdom of Cambodia.  

  • (Tech in Asia, Wednesday, March 6, 2013)

    Oftentimes, people like to compare Vietnam with China. In some ways, the similarities are pretty obvious. The Chinese dynasties ruled Vietnam for one thousand years. Vietnamese people celebrate Lunar New Year, and our names have Chinese roots. But online and in the tech industry, things look really different. In Asia, there are four communist countries: China, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea. Laos and North Korea are so small they’re not really on the tech map (even if North Korea is finally using mobile internet). That leaves China and Vietnam. In China, Baidu, Tencent, and Sina Weibo are the search and social media giants. In Vietnam, Google and Facebook are tops and Twitter isn’t blocked. What happened?

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Friday, March 1, 2013)

    What happens when a country's government censors the entirety of its domestic web, with no oversight or transparency? It turns out that politicians aren't the only ones with an interest in repressing free expression--and given a lever of control, a black market of censors quickly emerges. A group of investigators from Chinese magazine Caixin recently uncovered the activities of Beijing's "dark PR" agencies, who take money from private companies to bribe Internet censors to delete unfavourable commentary on Chinese forums and microblogging sites, using the infrastructure that the Chinese authorities have built for political censorship.

  • (IFEX, Thursday, February 28, 2013)

    Myanmar's Hluttaw (Parliament) approved on 8 February 2013 a proposal to investigate a blogger for writing a critical article that 'dishonored' the legislature. A 17-member bicameral commission was formed to determine the identity of and take action in regards to a blogger who wrote, under the pseudonym Dr Sate Phwar, an article on 17 January 2013 entitled “Is the Hluttaw (Parliament) above the law?”The Hluttaw's move stems from a 17 January proposal by lower house representative Dr Soe Yin of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) from the Kamaryut Constituency accusing the writer of dishonoring the dignity of Parliament, its members, and its performance, which could mislead the public and the international community.

  • (The Washington Post, Tuesday, February 26, 2013)

    This photo by AP Korean bureau chief Jean H. Lee has rocketed around the Internet this week, and for good reason. It’s one of the first Instagrams posted since North Korea enabled 3G access for foreigners this week. Until just a few weeks ago, foreigners could not even bring their own phones into the country — they had to give them up at customs. The recent changes will allow foreigners to not only use their own cellphones (with North Korean SIM cards, of course) but also to Instagram, tweet and Skype from one of the world’s most isolated countries.

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, February 26, 2013)

    Apart from a few companies like Google, which revealed that Chinese hackers had tried to read its users’ e-mail messages, American companies have been disturbingly silent about cyberattacks on their computer systems — apparently in fear that this disclosure will unnerve customers and shareholders and invite lawsuits and unwanted scrutiny from the government.

  • (Media Shift, Monday, February 25, 2013)

    Cyberattacks on news websites and apparent government hacking into journalists' email accounts have raised new questions about the integrity of media reforms in Burma. The New York Times reported earlier this month that several journalists who regularly cover Burma-related news recently received warning messages from Google that their email accounts may have been hacked by "state-sponsored attackers."

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, February 21, 2013)

    Pakistani Internet rights NGO Bytesforall has started an online campaign about internet filtering and online censorship. The campaign, called “Access Is My Right,” aims to raise Internet users’ awareness about policies and practices that limit the right to free expression online. In recent years, online surveillance in Pakistan has increased tremendously. Government officials have repeatedly argued that this is done in the interest of citizens’ safety and security. The tagline for this awareness campaign is “A Pakistan free of censorship and surveillance will be a prosperous Pakistan.”

  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, February 20, 2013)

    Start asking security experts which powerful Washington institutions have been penetrated by Chinese cyberspies, and this is the usual answer: almost all of them. The list of those hacked in recent years includes law firms, think tanks, news organizations, human rights groups, contractors, congressional offices, embassies and federal agencies. The information compromised by such intrusions, security experts say, would be enough to map how power is exercised in Washington to a remarkably nuanced degree. The only question, they say, is whether the Chinese have the analytical resources to sort through the massive troves of data they steal every day.

  • (PC Advisor, Tuesday, February 19, 2013)

    China is facing allegations that it is helping the Zambian government with deep packet inspection technology to eavesdrop, mine data, censor and intercept communications. The allegations come less than two years after the Chinese government was accused of helping the Ethiopian government block news websites in Ethiopia and jam Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and other broadcasters including the Voice of America and Germany's Deutsche Welle Amharic service. Deep packet inspection technology (DPI) allows monitoring of traffic from a specific IP address and enables the ability to spy on email even as it is being typed out by the user. The Zambian government reportedly intends to introduce the monitoring mechanism to vet Internet services coming in and out of the country.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, February 18, 2013)

    As protesters continued their chants at Shahbag calling for Bangladesh's war criminals and affiliates of the Islamist party to be beheaded, one of their own Ahmed Rajib Haider, was brutally killed outside his home in capital city Dhaka on February 15, 2013. The following day, thousands gathered around his body at the site of the protests, Shahbag square, to pay their last respects. Haider blogged under the pseudonym Thaba Baba (Captain Claw) and was on the forefront of the blogger and online activist-led Shahbag protests. For years, he had been writing about war criminals and Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, February 14, 2013)

    When a Bangkok court ruled that website editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn was criminally liable for an anti-royal comment posted by an anonymous visitor to one of her news site's Web boards, the landmark verdict effectively shifted the onus of Internet censorship in Thailand from government authorities to Internet intermediaries. Judges ruled that by failing to remove the comment quickly enough--it remained on Chiranuch's Prachatai website for more than 20 days--she had "mutually consented" to the critical posting.

  • (Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, February 12, 2013)

    Nguyen Hoang Vi was knocked from her motorcycle in an accident she believes was no accident. The windows of a car she was riding in were smashed nine months later, gashing her arms, legs and face, she told activists. Last spring her passport was taken away, rights groups say. Then, in December, police arrested and stripped her, saying she was hiding “illegal exhibits” inside her body, she alleged. State nurses forcibly searched her as she screamed for help, she said. She was targeted, human rights activists claim, for blogging.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, February 11, 2013)

    Authorities in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on February 9, 2013, ordered citizens to remain indoors and restricted mobile Internet service and cable television across several districts in the lead-up to a controversial execution of a militant from the region, according to news reports. The curfew was imposed in parts of Kashmir hours before the execution of a convicted militant for his role in the 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, news reports said. Clashes broke out between protesters and police and paramilitary forces after the execution, and at least two people were reported killed, news reports said.

  • (Media Shift, Monday, February 11, 2013)

    "Reactionary group leader sentenced to life in jail" ran the headlines in Vietnam's government-linked press earlier this week. Such coverage sheds light on how the media works in the one-party state where online writing has filled a void. In state-run mainstream media, topics such as power struggles within the ruling Communist Party and relations with China are often taboo, and challenges to authoritarian rule are dismissed with old-school Soviet slurs. Professor Ben Kerkvliet, a Vietnam specialist at Australian National University, told MediaShift that "my sense is that the Internet has enhanced knowledge and awareness among many Vietnamese, especially younger ones and urban folks, about shortcomings of various levels of government. 

  • (The New York Times, Sunday, February 10, 2013)

    Several journalists who cover Myanmar said Sunday that they had received warnings from Google that their e-mail accounts might have been hacked by “state-sponsored attackers.” The warnings began appearing last week, said the journalists, who included employees of Eleven Media, one Myanmar’s leading news organizations; Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based author and expert on Myanmar’s ethnic groups; and a Burmese correspondent for The Associated Press. Taj Meadows, a Google spokesman in Tokyo, said that he could not immediately provide specifics about the warnings, but said that Google had begun the policy of notifying users of suspicious activity in June.

  • (The Hindu, Saturday, February 9, 2013)

    Your internet service provider (ISP) could be blocking some content. A study conducted by a Canadian university has found that some major Indian ISPs have deployed web-censorship and filtering technology widely used in China and some West Asian countries. The findings, published on January 15, were the result of a search for censorship software and hardware on public networks like those operated by ISPs. A research team at Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, found a software-hardware combo package called PacketShaper being used in many parts of the world, including India.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, February 7, 2013)

    Not every media company is as tempting a target for hackers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Not every company can afford high-priced computer security consultants, either. Is there anything that everyday reporters and their editors can learn about protecting themselves, based on the revelatory details the Times and other targets made public last week? As we wrote at the time, the cyber-attacks on the Times, the Post, and the Journal came as no surprise to foreign reporters working in China or elsewhere who repeatedly face fake emails, custom malware, and hacking attacks on their webmail. But the level of access that the hackers obtained at the Times' main offices, and the publication of details by their technical advisers, can be instructive.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, February 7, 2013)

    Vietnamese blogger Le Anh Hung was released on February 5, 2013, about 12 days after he was arrested and held against his will in a psychiatric institution in Hanoi, the national capital, according to news reports. Hung was initially arrested on January 24 in the northern city of Hung Yen. Security agents said they needed to question him over his "temporary residence papers" but later detained him at Social Support Center No. 2, a mental health institution.

  • (Access, Tuesday, February 5, 2013)

    In a victory for digital rights and democracy activists in the Philippines, the Filipino Supreme Court today indefinitely extended a temporary restraining order (TRO) on a controversial cybercrime law. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in September, despite widespread public protests about harmful effects to free speech and internet freedom, and critical comments from lawmakers who claimed many aspects of the law were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court stepped in shortly after in October, putting the law’s implementation on hold until the Court could review its constitutional merits.

  • (Access, Tuesday, February 5, 2013)

    In a victory for digital rights and democracy activists in the Philippines, the Filipino Supreme Court today indefinitely extended a temporary restraining order (TRO) on a controversial cybercrime law. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in September, despite widespread public protests about harmful effects to free speech and internet freedom, and critical comments from lawmakers who claimed many aspects of the law were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court stepped in shortly after in October, putting the law’s implementation on hold until the Court could review its constitutional merits.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Friday, February 1, 2013)

    In a widening crackdown on online expression, Vietnamese security officials have arrested critical independent blogger Le Anh Hung and are holding him against his will in a psychiatric institution, news reports said. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest and calls on authorities to immediately release Hung and all other journalists detained on spurious charges in Vietnam. Six security agents arrested Hung on January 24 in the northern city of Hung Yen, saying they needed to question him in connection to matters related to his "temporary residence papers," according to a Radio Free Asia report. The officers took Hung to Social Support Center No. 2, a mental health institution in Hanoi, the report said. The institution's director later told Hung's colleagues that he had been admitted at the request of his mother and was not allowed to see visitors, the report said.

  • (Renesys - Blog, Tuesday, January 29, 2013)

    The Internet of Bangladesh has been connected to the world by a single submarine cable, Sea-Me-We 4 (SMW4), since this 18,800 kilometer-long optical-fiber system made its landing at Cox's Bazar in 2006. However, in the nearly seven years since SMW4's activation, national Internet outages have plagued Bangladesh with some regularity. When their portion of this system is sabotaged, suffers a failure or is down for maintenance, virtually all Internet bandwidth for the 7th most populous country in the world disappears, forcing local providers to fall back to slow and expensive satellite services or to simply wait for restoration.

  • (Access, Friday, January 25, 2013)

    New mechanisms to censor websites and filter mobile communications could come online in Pakistan, possibly within 60 days, according to government officials in the country and activists on the ground. News that the censorship system is being built directly conflicts with promises made by Pakistani government officials a little less than a year ago to not pursue massive online censorship.

  • (Slate, Wednesday, January 23, 2013)

    Many employers are facing staff cutbacks amid the current bleak economic climate. But not Australia’s top surveillance agency—it’s recruiting a new batch of spooks while it seeks sweeping new powers to monitor communications.Last week it was confirmed that the Aussie Attorney-General’s Department wants to give the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization, which is tasked with protecting the country from terrorism and espionage, powers to hack into personal computers and smartphones to plant spyware for the purposes of monitoring “suspected terrorists and other security interests.”

  • (Index, Tuesday, January 22, 2013)

    If debate is a sign of a positive environment for internet freedom, then India scores highly. From debates in parliament, and panel discussions (including Index’s own recent event) to newspaper editorials, blogs and tweets on the rights and wrongs of internet freedom, controls on the web, and India’s position in the international debate, there is no shortage of voices and views.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, January 21, 2013)

    More voices in the Philippines are questioning the Cybercrime Prevention Law as the oral arguments on the petitions against the law are being heard in the Supreme Court (SC) starting last January 15, 2012. The next schedule for the oral arguments will be held on January 22. The controversial law was signed by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III last October despite massive protests and questions on its constitutionality.

  • (Global Voices, Saturday, January 19, 2013)

     Network Neutrality Forum, an alliance of South Korean Internet freedom-concerned civic organizations, hosted a public workshop at the Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, to address concerns over waning civic participation in global Internet governance. Internet policy expert and lawyer Borami Kim moderated the whole event and Professor Dongman Lee, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), one of the early participants in Korean Internet governance, joined as a main speaker. The panel also included Eung Hwi Chon, a seasoned Internet civic activist at the Green Consumer's Network, and Jae Yeon Kim, an activist and member of Creative Commons Korea and Global Voices Online.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, January 15, 2013)

    Authorities in Bangladesh must immediately investigate Monday's stabbing of a blogger in Dhaka, determine the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Three unidentified men attacked Asif Mohiuddin, 29, as he left his office in Uttara district, and stabbed him several times in the neck and back, according to news reports. The journalist sought treatment at a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

  • (The Guardian, Monday, January 14, 2013)

    When a liberal Chinese newspaper stood up to China's draconian censorship rules earlier this month, rank-and-file journalists across the country quietly tipped their hats to their intrepid colleagues – then returned to work as if nothing had happened. The Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly newspaper's week-long battle over provincial propaganda officials' decision to turn an outspoken front-page editorial into brazen pro-Communist propaganda – and the ensuing three-day anti-censorship protest outside the paper's headquarters – do not herald a new dawn for Chinese press freedoms, that much is clear.

  • (Global Voices, Saturday, January 12, 2013)

    After attending a training course in Bangkok organized by Vietnam Reform Party or Viet Tan, 14 people were arrested by Vietnam authorities for allegedly participating in “activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration.” The arrested individuals were mostly Catholic students, bloggers, and human rights activists. Last January 9, a local court found them guilty of subversion by citing Article 79 of the penal code.

  • (Bloomberg Businessweek, Thursday, January 10, 2013)

    Google Inc. (GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt called on North Korea to end its ban on Internet access after a visit to the totalitarian country with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. “As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world,” Schmidt told reporters today at the Beijing airport after the visit to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. “The government has to do something -- they have to make it possible for people to use the Internet, which the government in North Korea has not yet done. It is time now for them to start or they will remain behind.”

  • (The Christian Science Monitor, Wednesday, January 9, 2013)

    School authorities in Vietnam have suspended an eighth-grade student for one year after she posted a parody of a speech by revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh on Facebook. State-controlled media said Tuesday that the girl's post used language from a famous speech by Ho Chi Minh in 1946 appealing for resistance against French colonialists. “All students! As we desire peace, we have made concessions. But the more concessions we make, the more the teachers press on, for they are bent on failing us once again. No, we would rather sacrifice all than be dismissed. Never shall we have to take the exam again. We have to stand up!” said Ho Chin Minh.

  • (Washington Post, Wednesday, January 9, 2013)

    Spare a moment for the Chinese censor, stuck between a Communist Party that demands strict control and a few million Web users who increasingly expect the ability to speak their minds online. As controversy over a censored newspaper grows into one of China’s biggest and potentially most significant free-speech fights in years, party officials are likely seeking greater control at exactly the moment that outraged Web users are making that task most difficult. At least one censor on Weibo, the popular Twitter-like service that often serves as the closest China has to a public national conversation, seems to have snapped.

  • (TNW, Monday, January 7, 2013)

    China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has issued a public prediction that the country’s Internet user base will reach 800 million in 2015, as noted by Marbridge Daily. MIIT official Miao Wei attributed the expected increase to the expansion of its “Broadband China” project, which is committed to bringing broadband connections to more regions throughout the world’s most populous nation.

  • (IFEX, Monday, January 7, 2013)

    Vietnam's crackdown on independent bloggers hit a new low in recent days with reports of sexual violence perpetrated by state officials against a prominent online reporter. In a disturbing first person account posted Friday to the Danlambao collective blog, Nguyen Hoang Vi detailed how police officials beat and stripped her and ordered state nurses to conduct a vaginal cavity search while she was in custody on December 28 in Ho Chi Minh City's Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward.  

  • (Tech Crunch, Friday, January 4, 2013)

    Google has quietly disabled a feature that notified users of its search service in China when a keyword had been censored by the Chinese government’s internet controls, according to censorship monitoring blog GreatFire.org. The blog reports that the change was made sometime between December 5 and December 8, 2012, with no official statement from Google to announce or explain its removal.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Thursday, January 3, 2013)

    The fleeting nature of YouTube's availability in Pakistan this weekend--the site, which has been banned in the country since September, was unblocked for a whole three minutes--is only the latest emblem of Islamabad's erratic and confounding approach to Internet censorship. Those who have been hoping for less opaque tactics apparently are in for disappointment. "It's become even clearer that content regulation in Pakistan is not carried out in a transparent manner. Rather it is done at the whims of those in power," Sana Saleem, co-founder and director of Karachi-based group Bolo Bhi, which works on Internet freedom and digital security, told CPJ by e-mail. 

  • (The Washington Post, Thursday, January 3, 2013)

    Several influential Chinese bloggers, activists and even a popular cartoonist have had their online microblogging accounts shut down in recent days, belying the hopes of many here that the country’s new Communist Party leaders might begin to relax strict controls over the Internet and free expression. Instead, the latest moves against “weibo,” the wildly-popular Twitter-like microblogging sites, appear to suggest that the party’s new leaders, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, may be more intent on reforming the country’s economy than opening up space in the political sphere.

  • (IFEX, Wednesday, January 2, 2013)

    Without Borders condemns the rulings that courts issued today in the cases of three bloggers - Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay), Ta Phong Tan and Phan Thanh Hai (also known as Anhbasaigon) - and yesterday in the case of Nguyen Van Khuong, an investigative journalist also known as Hoang Khuong. The organization also condemns yesterday's arrest of the blogger and activist Le Quoc Quan and calls for his immediate release.  

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, January 1, 2013)

    On December 28, 2012, the Chinese government approved a set of new net control laws that would make it compulsory for internet intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Online Service Providers (OSP) to enforce users' real name registration. In South Korea, a similar online real name registration policy has been in place since 2005, but with little success and eventual failures. In this post, we will examine the South Korean experiment and see the lessons Chinese netizens can learn from it.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, December 28, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders condemns the rulings that courts issued today in the cases of three bloggers – Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay), Ta Phong Tan and Phan Thanh Hai (also known as Anhbasaigon) – and yesterday in the case of Nguyen Van Khuong, an investigative journalist also known as Hoang Khuong. The organization also condemns yesterday’s arrest of the blogger and activist Le Quoc Quan and calls for his immediate release.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Friday, December 28, 2012)

    China's mounting crackdown on online news dissemination took an extra step today, when the country's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, its de facto legislative body, announced new requirements on Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to identify their users. The new rules would potentially allow ISPs and the authorities to more closely tie real identities to posts and commentary on micro-blogging sites like Weibo, as well as connect text messaging and mobile phone conversations to individuals.

  • (The New York Times, Friday, December 28, 2012)

    Pakistan’s interior minister announced on Friday that the country plans to lift a ban on YouTube that was imposed in September, following violent protests over a crude anti-Islam film uploaded to the site by an Egyptian-American. The government acted to rescind the ban just hours after the star of one of the year’s most popular YouTube videos, a singing Pakistani fishmonger, was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to the city of Lahore from Britain.

  • (The Los Angeles Times, Thursday, December 27, 2012)

    For years, China’s net nannies turned the other cheek to a loophole in their vast online censorship apparatus. Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, need only download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as gmail.com and imdb.com.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, December 21, 2012)

    On December 18, 2012 China's government backed People's Daily published an article on the front page titled “The Internet is Not Outside the Law”. The article said: "the internet is as much a tool of rumor and misinformation as a platform for information sharing, and everyone must be as responsible and law-abiding online as they are offline." This piece was soon broadcast on China's state broadcaster CCTV. On the next day, People's Daily reinforced its opinion with another piece: “Internet Supervision in Accordance with the International Practice.”

  • (IFEX, Monday, December 17, 2012)

    The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) would like to express its grave concerns regarding the recent move by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to restrict the freedom of the internet in Cambodia. This recent move was reported by the Cambodia Daily Newspaper on 13 December 2012, in the article entitled, "Government Order May Close Many of City's Internet Cafés". The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has issued a Circular dated 12 November 2012 calling for the relocation of all internet cafés located within a 500 meter radius of schools and educational institutions in Phnom Penh. 

  • (The Guardian, Friday, December 14, 2012)

    China appears to be tightening its control of internet services that are able to burrow secretly through what is known as the "Great Firewall", which prevents citizens there from reading some overseas content. Both companies and individuals are being hit by the new technology deployed by the Chinese government to control what people read inside the country. A number of companies providing "virtual private network" (VPN) services to users in China say the new system is able to "learn, discover and block" the encrypted communications methods used by a number of different VPN systems.

     

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, December 14, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) raise their concerns about online freedom in Cambodia as the Minister of Telecommunications, So Khun, signed a circular on November 16th, 2012, to regulate the use of Internet in the country. According to the decree issued by the ministry, Internet cafes cannot be located within 500 meters of a school or allow their clients to gamble, porn surf, visit websites selling drugs or commit crimes that threaten national security or “traditions”. The Minister of Telecommunications also stated that “students can learn new technology as long as [it] is legal”.

  • (Tech President, Tuesday, December 11, 2012)

    Though North Korea remains as isolated as ever from the technological community (as TechPresident wrote last year,it was a full 48 hours after the death of Kim Jong-Il before the news broke on Twitter), the Internet is a temptation both for the country’s citizens and for the government of Kim Jong-Un, as the BBC reports. While the only telecom provider in North Korea has no mobile network, its 3G connection speed can be used on illegal cell phones smuggled from China, giving ordinary North Koreans the chance to go online. Many do so, even at the risk of imprisonment.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tuesday, December 11, 2012)

    The 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations in New Zealand concluded this week, locking out civil society participation in an unprecedented way. The TPP is a trade agreement between eleven Pacific nations and it covers a wide range of regulatory issues including transnational investment, services, tobacco, and textiles. The chapter that EFF and other digital rights groups around the world find alarming covers intellectual property. EFF is also looking into issues of free flow of information and cross-over issues that may appear in the ecommerce and service chapters. 

  • (Chicago Tribune, Monday, December 10, 2012)

    China must deepen reforms to perfect its market economy and strengthen rule of law, Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said in southern Guangdong, echoing groundbreaking comments by reformist senior leader Deng Xiaoping in the same province 20 years ago. Xi's call for reform was reported on Monday, coinciding with an apparent easing of Internet search restrictions that the party has energetically used to suppress information that could threaten one-party rule.

  • (ZD Net, Saturday, December 8, 2012)

    New proposals submitted to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) aim to redefine the Internet as a system of government-controlled, state-supervised networks, according to a leaked document. The WCIT-12 summit in Dubai is currently where the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is being held, where member state countries are going head-to-head about proposed revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR), a legally binding international treaty signed by 178 countries.

  • (South China Morning Post, Tuesday, December 4, 2012)

    What do China and its longtime partner Pakistan have in common? According to Pakistani writer Sana Saleem, they both face an increasingly disgruntled online population eager to break free from government-imposed online surveillance and censorship. In her recent open letter to Chinese netizens, the Global Voices writer Sana Saleem pointed out that her government is not only eyeing China’s economic success, but also its “system of censorship and surveillance”.

  • (IDG Capital Partners, Monday, December 3, 2012)

    If we look at the Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon, despite their success in almost all other geographic regions, they enjoyed only brief bright moments in China before they lost their hard earned market share to their domestic competitors. How is Internet in China different? Their is no simple answer, but at least it is simpler than to answer how China is different. In this white paper, we try to offer glimpses into some unique aspects of Chinese Internet with the hope that an aggregate view can gradually be developed if one knows more specific differences in culture, regulations, demographics, competitions, and behavior for both the companies and the users.

  • (Global Voices, Saturday, December 1, 2012)

    I am writing this letter to you on behalf of many Pakistani Internet users who are currently fighting their government’s attempt to restrict their access to information. The 20 million Internet users in Pakistan are on the brink of being monitored, filtered and possibly silenced for their views, and we fear that the government of China and Chinese spy-tech companies are aiding this human rights violations. It is distressing that Chinese companies have been named as being involved in aiding authoritarian regimes. Chinese companies like ZTE Corp and Huwaei have been accused of aiding censorship in Libya and Iran. 

  • (The New York Times, Friday, November 30, 2012)

    he two young women who were arrested for their Facebook activity last week have found an unlikely champion for their cause: another young woman, Shreya Singhal, who filed public interest litigation with the Supreme Court to challenge one of the controversial laws used to justify the arrests.

  • (The New York Times: India, Friday, November 23, 2012)

    Civil rights activists, free speech advocates, lawyers and politicians have spoken out in recent days against India’s controversial Internet laws, after two women were arrested in Mumbai for criticizing in a Facebook post the city’s shutdown after the Hindu leader Bal K. Thackeray’s death last week. A particular target for criticism is Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, an amendment added in 2008, which, among other things, makes it a crime to digitally send “any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character.”

  • (IFEX, Thursday, November 22, 2012)

    Secret, undemocratic trade agreements that put shackles on our free speech online are nothing new. Civil society organisations have been fighting the passage of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for the past six years. But some bad ideas never die. The same year that ACTA was defeated in the European Union, a new agreement was forged behind closed doors: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

  • (The Guardian, Wednesday, November 21, 2012)

    Chinese internet users are rallying around a Beijing blogger detained by police after posting a joke on Twitter about the pivotal Communist Party congress. Chinese authorities have been especially sensitive to dissent about the party meeting, which last week ushered in a new generation of leaders. Activists were sent out of Beijing beforehand, and police rounded up hundreds of people who tried to draw the central authorities' attention to grievances against local governments.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, November 20, 2012)

    In yet another act of summary justice, a court in Dak Nong province took just 45 minutes today to confirm blogger Dinh Dang Dinh’s six-year jail sentence on appeal.Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the decision and calls on the international community to react quickly. “We urge Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, to condemn the latest sentences imposed on Vietnam’s cyber-dissidents and bloggers,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If this crackdown continues, there will soon be no one left to criticize the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in this country.”

  • (The Washington Post, Tuesday, November 20, 2012)

    Here’s the timeline: On November 8, the first day that Chinese leaders gathered for their once-in-a-decade Party Congress to announce the next generation of leaders, a Chinese-language Facebook page posted a clearly doctored photo of the party’s top officials doing the dance from South Korean pop hit Gangnam Style. On November 13, popular China blog Beijing Cream picked it up. The congress ended two days later, and on the 17th, a widely followed user on China’s popular Twitter-like service, Weibo, posted the image with a banal message about the song’s popularity. Censors pulled it down almost immediately.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, November 19, 2012)

    One of the open secrets of South Korea's political landscape is that people are hired to hijack the comment sections of online posts. These hired commenters, or political “trolls,” copy-and-paste slanderous messages that have been created by their team leaders and post them on major online platforms; more skilled trolls conjure up original vicious comments all by themselves. Both have one political purpose: to warp the public discussion in favor of the party.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, November 19, 2012)

    The city of Mumbai's reaction to the death of Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray, founder of the Hindu right-wing Shiv Sena party in India, has raised concern in India (see Global Voices report). Shops, cinemas, public transport and other businesses in Mumbai were quickly closed either as a show of respect, or in fear of mob violence by Shiv Sena supporters. On Sunday, the funeral of Mr. Thackeray was held in Mumbai and an estimated one million mourners filled the streets of the city bringing it to a halt.

  • (Focus Taiwan, Saturday, November 17, 2012)

    The ascension of China's propaganda chief into the country's core leadership has many netizens worried about the prospects of Internet freedom in the future, and experts believe their concerns are warranted. Liu Yunshan, director of the Department of Propaganda of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, was announced as one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee Thursday.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, November 15, 2012)

    Police from the Fukui Prefecture raided Fukuoka-based video blogger Yuzuru Kaneko's home on October 1, 2012. He has been covering Japan's anti-nuclear protests on his youtube channel. Since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima following the 2011 Earthquake in Japan, the long believed myth of 'safe' nuclear power has lost its support, resulting in anti-nuclear protests all over the country.

  • (ABC News, Thursday, November 15, 2012)

    A South Korean presidential candidate has promised to get rid of encryption technology that has tied South Korean Internet users to a single web browser — Microsoft's Internet Explorer —for online financial transactions. Ahn Cheol-soo, a popular independent presidential candidate, said companies will be free to choose what online security technology they use if he wins the December election.

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, November 13, 2012)

    As the Chinese cyberpolice stiffened controls on information before the Communist Party leadership transition taking place this week, some companies in Beijing and nearby cities received orders to aid the cause. Starting earlier this year, Web police units directed the companies, which included joint ventures involving American corporations, to buy and install hardware to log the traffic of hundreds or thousands of computers, block selected Web sites, and connect with local police servers, according to industry executives and official directives obtained by The New York Times. Companies faced the threat of fines and suspended Internet service if they did not comply by prescribed deadlines.

  • (The Washington Post, Sunday, November 11, 2012)

    For two months, Pakistanis have been unable to call up YouTube to watch an anti-Islam video that sparked deadly riots here and elsewhere in the Muslim world. But neither have they been able to use the service to view the U.S. presidential debates, to catch the “Gangnam Style” craze or even to laugh at silly kitties in the Friskies Internet Cat Video Awards. Now, the netizens of Pakistan are telling the government that they want their YouTube back, prompting a reevaluation of the ban.

  • (The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday, November 9, 2012)

    The federal government has abandoned its long-standing commitment to introduce a national internet filter and will instead ban websites related only to child abuse. Following years of debate about trying to censor the internet, the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the government would no longer proceed with ''mandatory filtering legislation''. It would, however, use powers under the Telecommunications Act to block hundreds of child abuse websites already identified on Interpol's ''worst of'' list.

  • (The Washington Post, Thursday, November 8, 2012)

    As China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition begins, the usual censorship, slowdowns and other Chinese Internet glitches appear to have escalated, with users reporting slower-than average load times and poor access to foreign sites such as Google. But that hasn’t stopped China’s netizens from picking apart their leaders’ statements on social media.

  • (Voice of America, Thursday, November 8, 2012)

    Twitter is apologizing for setting off alarms about the possible hacking of accounts belonging to China-based foreign journalists, saying an email that went out earlier in the day was a mistake. Twitter posted the apology Thursday, hours after several journalists and analysts were notified of an attempted hacking. The emails came just as China's Communist Party begins a sensitive meeting that will set in motion a once-a-decade leadership transition.

     

  • (The Telegraph, Tuesday, November 6, 2012)

    In the second part of his series on China, Mick Brown considers how the internet became an instrument for control rather than freedom.

  • (ARS Technica, Tuesday, November 6, 2012)

    Google's services went offline for many users for nearly a half-hour on the evening of November 5, thanks to an erroneous routing message broadcast by Moratel, an Indonesian telecommunications company. The outage might have lasted even longer if it hadn't been spotted by a network engineer at CloudFlare who had a friend in a position to fix the problem.

  • (Financial Times, Sunday, November 4, 2012)

    A city run by one of China’s incoming political leaders that has billed itself as a future international financial center is instead becoming the country’s internet censorship capital. Tianjin, whose Communist party secretary Zhang Gaoli is one of the seven men most likely to get a seat on the new politburo standing committee due to be unveiled at the 18th party congress starting on Thursday, is developing a replica of Manhattan to which it aims to attract global banks.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, November 2, 2012)

    A Bangkok court acquitted the netizen Surapak Phuchaisaeng two days ago of charges of insulting the king (lèse-majesté), for which he had been remanded in custody since September last year. Reporters Without Borders is satisfied with the outcome of this case. “This case, involving a year in custody, underlines the failings of the Thai judicial system, particularly concerning allegations of lèse-majesté,” the press freedom organization said.

  • (ZD Net, Friday, November 2, 2012)

    Several Chinese Internet search players have come together under the lead of the Internet Society of China to sign a code of conduct which requires them to self-regulate to protect user rights. In a statement Thursday, Internet Society of China said Baidu, Qihoo 360, Tencent, Sina and other search companies signed an agreement which aimed to "encourage innovation and create a fair competitive environment".

  • (The New York Times, Thursday, November 1, 2012)

    The owner of an Internet cafe in southwest China was given an eight-year prison term for criticizing the ruling Communist Party in online messages and for seeking to establish an opposition party, his wife said Thursday. The man, Cao Haibo, 27, of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, was accused of “subversion of state power” for trying to set up the “China Republican Party” — an entity that existed on paper, and only for one day. His wife, Zhang Nian, 23, said he was sentenced on Wednesday but the court only notified her on Thursday. “It is a very severe punishment and long sentence,” she said, adding that the trial was held in secret.

  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, October 31, 2012)

    After seditious cartoons against corruption, now even a Tweet can get you arrested in India. Two recent Twitter-related arrests have triggered concern among many Indian users of social media. Ravi (one name), a small plastic packaging businessman in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was arrested Tuesday for posting Tweets critical of Karti Chidambaram, son of India’s finance minister.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, October 31, 2012)

    Even though Japanese is the second most active language in the world on Twitter, for the country's political candidates, tweeting during election campaigns is forbidden. A group of young activists is seeking to change this situation.

  • (Reuters, Wednesday, October 31, 2012)

    As China prepares for a generational power shift in the next two weeks, a similar shift is happening online that is testing the limits and displaying the evolution of China's legions of state-directed censors. Since its launch three years ago, Weibo, China's version of Twitter, has become the country's water cooler, a place where nearly 300 million Internet users opine on everything from Korean soap operas to China's latest political intrigue.

  • (Link TV World News, Tuesday, October 30, 2012)

    China's censorship of microblogging platform Sina Weibo has reached a whole new level of sophistication in the wake of New York Times revelations regarding Premier Wen Jiabao's enormous family wealth. Contributor Charlie Custer breaks down just how difficult it is to post about anything to do with Wen or his assets.

  • (IFEX, Monday, October 29, 2012)

    Following outrage from India's civil society and media, it appears the country's government has backed away from its proposal to create a UN body to govern the internet. The controversial plan, which was made without consulting civil society, angered local stakeholders, including academics, media, and industry associations. Civil society expressed fear that a 50-member UN body, many of whom would seek to control the internet for their own political ends, would restrict the very free and dynamic nature of the internet. The proposal envisaged "50 member States chosen on the basis of equitable geographic representation" that would meet annually in Geneva as the UN Committee for Internet-Related Policies (UN-CIRP). 

  • (IFEX, Monday, October 29, 2012)

    Officials from China's Communist Party should stop censoring and obstructing foreign journalists in the lead-up to the Party Congress scheduled for November 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Information security is notoriously tight before the five-yearly congress, which is expected to usher in high-level leadership change in 2012. Information officials blocked the New York Times' English- and Chinese-language websites on Friday when the newspaper published an in-depth report on the financial assets held by Premier Wen Jiabao's family. Wen's lawyers publicly disputed the article's findings.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Friday, October 26, 2012)

    Two of the biggest threats to the Internet are two international agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). TPP continues to expand across the Pacific, with Mexico and Canada joining in the next round in New Zealand. With ACTA, it is increasingly doubtful that it was successfully defeated this summer. With these two agreements, both of which contain intellectual property (IP) provisions that would negatively impact digital rights and innovation, the country that sits at the center of play is Japan.

  • (New York Times, Friday, October 26, 2012)

    China is the world's biggest market but for western media firms trying to expand it can be a bruising experience, with even the biggest names such as Rupert Murdoch and Google having come a cropper. So it was perhaps inevitable when the New York Times (NYT) decided to launch a Chinese language website in June that it would at some point fall foul of the censors. But it did so in spectacular fashion on Friday when the government blocked access to the site, accusing it of trying to "smear" the country's name. Its crime was to publish an article claiming that the family of the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, had accumulated massive wealth – a handsome $2.7bn (£1.67bn) – during his time in power.

  • (Bangkok Post, Friday, October 26, 2012)

    The private sector has slammed the government for not acknowledging the impact of the new draft treaty on internet and telecommunications regulations, saying it will jeopardise businesses and individual users. Yongyos Protpakorn, vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's service sector, said it strongly disagreed with the new draft treaty as it will drastically affect internet users across the board. Mr Yongyos said he is disappointed the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Ministry and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission have no position on the draft by the International Telecom Union (ITU).

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 25, 2012)

    The arrest of a 62-year old anti-mining activist in the Philippines for a Facebook post spawned fears of a clampdown on dissenters through the recently enacted anti-cybercrime legislation. Critics of the cybercrime legislation won a tactical victory when the Philippine Supreme Court issued a 120-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the law as it deliberates on at least 15 petitions calling for the junking of the law.

  • (OpenNet Initiative, Tuesday, October 23, 2012)

    After years spent as one of the world’s most strictly controlled information environments, the government of Burma (Myanmar) has recently begun to open up access to previously censored online content. Independent and foreign news sites, oppositional political content, and sites with content relating to human rights and political reform -- all previously blocked -- have recently become accessible. These developments have occurred as part of a broader process of political and economic liberalization currently underway in this historically strict authoritarian state.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, October 22, 2012)

    The majority of Filipino internet users and media groups opposed the passage of the Philippine Cybercrime Law because of provisions that potentially curtail media freedom and other civil liberties. But prior to the insertion of online libel and other last minute amendments, the bill was actually quietly supported by many people. In fact, it remains popular among business groups, computer security experts, and advocates of safe cyberspace, even after the Supreme Court issued an order to suspend its implementation for the next 120 days.

  • (The International News, Friday, October 19, 2012)

    All emails, telephone calls and other communications with the rest of the world will begin to be monitored within 90 days at a cost of million of dollars, according to a deadline given by the government to operators including PTCL. The government has assigned PTCL and other operators to install monitoring equipment by the end of this year for checking voice and email communications from abroad and the services of the country’s spy agency will be used basically to check and curb blasphemous and obscene websites on the Internet.

  • (New Statesman, Thursday, October 18, 2012)

    China has tried to obliterate the existence of Ai Weiwei from the internet: search for his name there, and you'll find nothing. His blog has been shut down, his passport was confiscated, and his communication with the outside world from his studio near Beijing is monitored. The issues on which Ai has spoken out are vital ones: the shoddy construction standards which led to needless deaths in the Sichuan earthquake; the censorship of the press; the limitations placed on the internet by the "Great Firewall of China".

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, October 12, 2012)

    Two days ago the 14-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai, was shot and wounded in the head and neck by the Pakistan Taliban on her way home from school. A gunman stopped the school bus on which the young activist was travelling and shot her and two other girls whom he had asked to identify her. Doctors at the Saidu Sharif hospital in the northern city of Mingora successfully removed the bullets from her but for some time she remained in a critical condition.

  • (Computer World, Thursday, October 11, 2012)

    Closed-door talks and excessive self-interest in governance hurts the Internet, said a Google official and other Internet stakeholders on a panel this morning at the Australian Internet Governance Forum. The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership talks received particular criticism.

  • (Open Society Foundations, Tuesday, October 9, 2012)

    The story of media digitization in China is inseparable from the country’s recent modernization. Probably nowhere else have so many other things been changing at the same time as the technological advances with which this study is concerned. And probably nowhere else has digitization flourished on such a scale in such a closed media environment. As a result, digitization has transformed the diversity of information and public opinion for many millions of people.

  • (The New York Times, Tuesday, October 9, 2012)

    The Supreme Court of the Philippines suspended a new Internet law on Tuesday that critics had said could lead to imprisonment for sharing posts on social media. “We respect and will abide by it,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima wrote in a text message to reporters on Tuesday, referring to the court’s unanimous decision to suspend enforcement of the law for 120 days. “Our advocacy for a safe cyberspace and interdiction of organized crime will continue.”

  • (The Register, Tuesday, October 9, 2012)

    Pakistani authorities have revealed that a whopping 20,000 web sites have been taken offline as part of a nationwide crackdown on “objectionable” content. The purge took places as part of government efforts across the Muslim world in the wake of widespread anger at “Innocence of Muslims” – a film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammed which was subsequently uploaded to Google’s popular video-sharing site.

  • (Cyber Media, Monday, October 8, 2012)

    Even as India is poised for impressive Internet surge, the role of Web 2.0, with repercussions on national security has surfaced again. The blurred lines between the hate content and free speech, makes law enforcement, a little upheaval task. On the 'Internet Freedom and Hate Speech,' FICCI in its two-day India Internet Governance Conference, discussed the perils of hate content in the wake of national security. Despite, the issue's seriousness, the conviction rate under relevant laws is dismal.  

  • (The Express Tribune, Thursday, October 4, 2012)

    The blockade of the popular video-sharing website, YouTube, which was shut down on September 17 to prevent access to the blasphemous video, has now entered its third week. Given the violence seen in the country over the derogatory video, the government’s orders, imposed through the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), are not impossible to understand. But with PTA officials quoted as saying that the ban could last indefinitely, the situation perhaps, needs to be reviewed. Beyond providing entertainment, YouTube is also widely used for educational and communication purposes. The lack of access to it affects many, with the clumsy ‘wall’ put up by the PTA also disrupting Android mobile phone services run by Google.

  • (The Economic Times, Thursday, October 4, 2012)

    The government is gearing up to arm cyber sleuths with forensic tools to catch up with criminals who outsmart investigators by using secure mobile phones or password-protected computers that leave few footprints once the data is deleted. The Union home ministry has decided to buy more than 30 licensed software from firms in the US, Canada and Israel to crack open data in seized mobile phones and computers. The move comes after cyber forensic investigators failed to make much headway in deciphering password-protected data or retrieving deleted data from seized iPhones, BlackBerry handsets, Apple computers and even Windows-based mobile phones.

  • (The New York Times: India, Wednesday, October 3, 2012)

    The social networking Web sites Facebook and YouTube have been blocked since Friday in India’s northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, even though it has been over a week since the last protests against an anti-Islam film. One telecom company employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that Facebook and YouTube were still inaccessible on Wednesday, as did several Kashmiris. The state government had ordered telecom companies late last month to shut down Internet and mobile phone services as it tried to keep Muslims from uploading and downloading the video “Innocence of Muslims,” which has angered Muslims across the world because of its negative portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.

  • (Access, Wednesday, October 3, 2012)

    A new law called the Cybercrime Prevention Act has been passed in the Philippines. Although it claims to protect the people from cyber crimes such as cyber bullying, many have found loopholes in the newly signed law that will curtail the freedom of speech of Filipinos. It is to be enacted today, October 3. With the Cybercrime Prevention Act, where libel is considered a criminal act, a simple comment and retweet may send us to jail, where we can serve up to 12 years in prison. And because this law is a special law, good faith and intent does not come as a defense.

  • (Bloomberg Businessweek, Tuesday, October 2, 2012)

    Baidu Inc., (BIDU) owner of China’s most popular search engine, asked a U.S. court to dismiss a lawsuit by Chinese-Americans who said the Internet company “censored” their articles on the pro-democracy movement in China. Baidu, in its first legal motion in response to a May 2011 lawsuit by eight residents of New York City, said the case should be dismissed because the complaint wasn’t properly served on the Beijing-based Internet company, according to a filing yesterday in Manhattan federal court.

  • (Hindustan Times, Monday, October 1, 2012)

    China has the largest number of microbloggers in the world, it emerged on Monday, and they often shape public opinion on issues impacting people, forcing governments across the vast country to respond to complaints, a new report said. As a result of the relentless flow of opinion on local social networking sites, the Communist Party of China (CPC)-run government has had to take notice and often respond to citizens’ views, the report compiled by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CINIC) said.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, September 30, 2012)

    Vietnamese bloggers Dieu Cay, AnhBaSG, and Ta Phong Tan were found guilty by a Ho Chi Minh City court of violating article 88 of Vietnam’s criminal code, which involves the “spreading fabricated news in order to foment confusion among people” and “defaming the people’s administration.” Aside from serving a prison term, the three will also face house arrest.

  • (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, September 30, 2012)

    A new report shows just how porous China's infamous Great Firewall might be for local Internet users determined to access banned websites. The country's censors have deemed Facebook and Twitter unfit for local viewing, but that hasn't stopped millions of Chinese from using the social-networking services, according to researcher GlobalWebIndex. There are 63.5 million Facebook users in China, up from 7.9 million two years ago, even though Facebook is officially banned there. Twitter has equally impressive numbers, with 35.5 million users in China, triple the number from 2009.

  • (NBC News.com, Saturday, September 29, 2012)

    The 7-iron resting against the wall in Le Quoc Quan's office is for self-defense, not sport. The human-rights lawyer and blogger has not left home without the golf club since being beaten last month by iron-bar-wielding men he suspects were sent by the police. If the assault was meant to silence him, it failed. Within days he was back online, and reporting about the incident. The Internet has become the principal staging ground for dissent in Vietnam, and its Communist rulers are trying to clamp down with new laws, stepped up arrests, intimidation and longer prison sentences. But so far, it's a battle they are losing.

  • (DNA, Thursday, September 27, 2012)

    A recently released global report on the internet freedom rated India 39th in 2012, a slip from two places last year. The report titled, Freedom on the net 2012 (FOTN): A global assessment of internet and digital media by Freedom House, a Washington-based monitoring group conducted a comprehensive study of internet freedom in 47 countries. Quoting Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society, the report said 309 specific items (URLs, Twitter accounts, img tags, blog posts, blogs, and a handful of websites) have been blocked by the government. But officially, the government has admitted to blocking 245 web pages for inflammatory content hosting of provocative content.

  • (Yahoo News, Wednesday, September 26, 2012)

    Warning of the "chilling effects" on individual rights of certain provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, another petition was filed with the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to strike them down as unconstitutional. There are now three petitions filed with the SC to stop the government from implementing Republic Act No. 10175 that was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on September 12.

  • (The Express Tribune, Tuesday, September 25, 2012)

    Government restrictions on the Internet in Pakistan have risen over the past year with some use of violence against bloggers and turn to censorship and arrest to squelch calls for reform, a new report from a US advocacy group has found. Pakistan, Bahrain and Ethiopia saw the biggest rollbacks in Internet freedom since January 2011 and were among the 20 countries out of 47 assessed by Freedom House that declined in their rankings.

  • (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Sunday, September 23, 2012)

    Dr Arif Alvi Secretary General of PTI has put Google and itssubsidiary YouTube on notice for not removing the blasphemous video. This is in continuation of an earlier letter after which Google made a statement in New York Times that the video would stay as it did not violate YouTube’s policies describing hate speech. PTI demanded of Google to review its policy otherwise more criminals and crackpots would create such videos and find YouTube a safe platform to promote hate. He said that even after millions have protested in Pakistan and elsewhere, and with so many deaths, and billions in losses to property and production, it is shameful that Google still considers that the video does not fall in its definition of hate speech. 

  • (Access, Friday, September 21, 2012)

    The often-rumored death of print media produces strong reactions, both in favor of traditional media and against it. But change is assured: globally, online advertising spending will surpass print ad dollars in 2012. Global newspaper ad spending will decline by about 2.8 percent this year (even though newspapers are thriving in some regions without quality internet access, like rural Australia). In Bangladesh, officials cite the changing media landscape to justify a strict new regulation on news portals and similar websites. However, a look at the law reveals ulterior motives, namely the government’s efforts to control free expression. Bangladeshi lawmakers propose requiring online news portals to register and pay a hefty license fee to publish. 

  • (The Times of India, Wednesday, September 19, 2012)

    An Inter-Ministerial group on internet governance will shortly be set up, a government official today said. "We are forming an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) so that all concerned to internet governance views are taken and a consensus can be made up...it will be formed in a few weeks time," Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) Senior Director Govind said during a discussion on Internet governance.

  • (Bytes for All, Pakistan, Tuesday, September 18, 2012)

    Following the release of an anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube, the Islamic world has been ablaze with protesters making a range of demands, from the prohibition of the movie and all websites hosting it, to the murder of all those associated with its production. Popular international opinion has found the movie baseless, crude, malicious, and unworthy of the publicity it has ended up receiving. Moreover, the movie is only an insignificant addition to a huge amount of online hate content and critiques of every religion, including Islam. This content includes films, drawings, articles, verbal narratives and so on, and has, in most cases, been condemned through non-violent expression, or simply ignored.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Tuesday, September 18, 2012)

    Chinese authorities should release a well-known academic and Internet writer detained last week in connection with his published articles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Jiao Guobiao has been targeted in the past for his articles criticizing the Chinese government. Beijing's public security bureau detained Jiao on September 12 on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power after he published articles on the dispute between China and Taiwan over the unoccupied Diaoyu Islands, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center and Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Jiao, a former journalism professor, had lost his position at Beijing University in 2004 as a result of articles he had published that criticized the country's Central Propaganda Bureau, CPJ research shows.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Tuesday, September 18, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders is appalled by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s directive calling on the authorities to impose "serious punishments" on those responsible for three popular anti-corruption blogs that he described as "slanderous." The organization also deplores the arrest of the wife of the jailed journalist and blogger Dieu Cay, the sister of the jailed blogger Ta Phong Tan, and the Catholic priest Anton Le Ngoc Thanh by plain-clothes police during a protest yesterday in the southern city of Bac Lieu. Accused of causing a traffic accident, they were held for several hours.

  • (Index, Monday, September 17, 2012)

    Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has reportedly ordered the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block YouTube after the video-sharing website failed to remove a controversial anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims. ”Blasphemous content will not be accepted at any cost,” Prime Minister Ashraf is reported to have said. Earlier today officials said over 700 links to the film on YouTube were blocked following orders issued by the Supreme Court. The film has triggered anti-US protests across the Muslim world over the past week.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, September 16, 2012)

    As the tension between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu Islands (also known as the Senkaku Islands) has elevated, large scale anti-Japan protests have taken place all over China in more than 80 cities over the weekend. Some of the demonstrations turned violent, protesters started attacking Japanese style restaurants, shopping malls and shops; some even tried to set fire to Japanese vehicles. Yet, in a country where online activities are closely monitored and public security forces are extremely effective, many wondered what made these nationwide protests possible.

  • (The Economic Times, Saturday, September 15, 2012)

    The Prime Minister's Office is pushing for a multi-pronged strategy to 'prevent and contain malicious use of internet and social media', indicating the government's seriousness in regulating the cyberspace. At an August 27 meeting in the PMO, attended by heads of all intelligence agencies, as well as representatives from the ministries of home, telecom and IT, the government decided to set up an 'appropriate regime' that will address issues related to blocking content on the internet and social media in a 'smart, timely and consistent manner'.

  • (Global Voices, Wednesday, September 12, 2012)

    Philippine Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile admitted that he doesn’t know anything about blogs and blogging but he still proposed a law to regulate blogs after one of his colleagues in the senate complained of being a victim of cyber bullying. Many people think it is an attempt to restrict online freedom in the country.

  • (The Washington Post, Wednesday, September 12, 2012)

    Vietnam’s government has vowed to crack down on three dissident blogs, a move that appeared to backfire Thursday as record numbers of people visited the sites and the bloggers pledged to keep up their struggle for freedom of expression. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s order for police to arrest those responsible for the websites reflects growing unease within the Communist Party over the emergence of blogs and social media accounts that publish dissenting views, independent reporting and whistleblowing. The party doesn’t allow free media, and it fears criticism or discussion of its failings on the Internet could lead to social instability and — ultimately — loss of its power.

  • (The Foundry, Tuesday, September 11, 2012)

    Social media in China are pushing the envelope of government control, but China’s censors are demonstrating that they still have the stuff. For instance, where to turn for news if one of your country’s top officials has mysteriously disappeared? If you are Chinese and the official is vice president and designated Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, who went missing from public view nine days ago, the tightly controlled state media would not be the place to look for information. You might try the Internet, where China’s social media website Sina Weibo is growing into a giant fast-flowing public square. However, China’s censors would have gotten there ahead of you there, too.

  • (Public Knowledge, Monday, September 10, 2012)

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement ("TPP") is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated by nine countries: The United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Although the TPP covers a wide range of issues, this site focuses on the TPP's intellectual property (IP) chapter. The TPP suffers from a serious lack of transparency, threatens to impose more stringent copyright without public input, and pressures foreign governments to adopt unbalanced laws.

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, September 9, 2012)

    To promote ‘public education on media literacy and cyber wellness’ the Singapore government has set up a 21-member Media Literacy Council. The Media Development Authority issued a press statement last month explaining the mission of the council: "The Media Literacy Council will advise the government on the appropriate policy response to an increasingly complex and borderless world of media, technology, consumer expectations and participation."

  • (Global Voices, Sunday, September 9, 2012)

    The Cambodian government is enforcing a circular drafted earlier this year which requires Internet cafes to set up surveillance cameras and to register callers. Based on an unofficial translation made by Jinja, the government said the circular was made in response to the rising number of cyber crimes in the country: "Past experiences of offense investigation and suppression have shown that, criminals and offenders always used telecommunications services such as mobile phones, fixed phones, VoIP and Internets as a means to commit terrorisms, trans-boundary crimes, robberies, kidnapping, murders, drug trafficking, human trafficking, economic offenses, illegal installment of and illegal corporation of all forms of telecommunications service, broadcasting of obscene pictures and debauchery, which affect national customs, traditions and social good moral values."

  • (The Economist, Saturday, September 8, 2012)

    April 23rd, 2002 was a turning-point in American internet companies’ relations with China, though few knew so at the time. On that day Beijing’s state-security bureau requested information from the Beijing office of Yahoo!, an American internet company, about the creator of an online forum, as well as e-mail registrations and messages, in a case of what the bureau called “inciting subversion”. Yahoo! complied with this notice and another one that year, and soon the authorities had detained Wang Xiaoning, a democracy activist who had anonymously been using the forum and e-mail accounts to press for free elections. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.

  • (Radio Free Asia, Thursday, September 6, 2012)

    More than 10 exile Uyghur associations have suffered a viral hacking attack, one of the groups said Thursday, blaming the Chinese government for the blitz. Dolkun Isa, head of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC), said that his organization’s website had been crippled in recent days—though the site has since been functioning normally—and that its servers had been forced to distribute fake emails targeting activists from related organizations.

  • (Index, Thursday, September 6, 2012)

    In Vietnam, protests have boiled to a level unprecedented since the start of this decade. Last month, the fight for free expression hit an unexpected climax. The mother of imprisoned blogger Dang Thi Kim Lieng killed herself in a self-immolation, protesting her daughter’s upcoming trial and sending an uneasy hush over the government. The hearings were supposed to commence on 7 August — a full four years after the blogger was first detained — but since the suicide the trial has been delayed indefinitely.

  • (The Wall Street Journal - India, Wednesday, September 5, 2012)

    The idea was flawless: gathering representatives of the Indian government, major Internet companies and civil society groups to dissect recent controversies over online censorship – a.k.a. #Emergency2012 – and find a way forward. India badly needs this kind of dialogue. Unfortunately, industry body FICCI’s roundtable on “Legitimate Restrictions on Freedom of Online Speech,” while well-intentioned, for the most part skirted the tough questions, including: Did the government err in blocking any of the Web content it blocked? Why didn’t the government release a list of blocked sites and the rationale for blocking them? When will blocked sites be restored, or will they ever be?

  • (Canadian International Council, Tuesday, September 4, 2012)

    The growth of Internet usage in Asia is putting many governments on the defensive. They are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges that online connectivity poses to regime stability. The Internet has provided their citizens and political opponents with a new avenue to discuss contentious topics, network with like-minded individuals, and organize and mobilize opposition and protest movements. It gives the populations of these countries a powerful tool to push the limits of freedom of expression, association, and information that many of their governments set long ago

  • (The Atlantic, Tuesday, September 4, 2012)

    Chinese web users are giving low-brow meme culture a political tinge, pushing the boundaries of free online speech. Liu Bo is famous. One of many police officers assigned to quash recent protests over a planned molybdenum copper plant in Shifang, Sichuan province, Bo was famously pictured with a riot shield strapped to his forearm, baton raised, charging at the backs of a small crowd. His bull rush was captured on a mobile device, promptly shared on Chinese social media and soon after appeared in an article by Tea Leaf Nation's own Liz Carter.

  • (The International News, Monday, September 3, 2012)

    The government has issued a key policy directive to block all blasphemous and pornographic material on the internet by installing effective modern filtration system but ensuring that it does not affect the freedom of information, writes Ansar Abbasi. Following the personal interest shown by the incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and after consulting President Asif Ali Zardari, the Ministry of Information Technology has already issued necessary directions to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to update the system for effective monitoring and control of blasphemous and pornographic material.

  • (The Diplomat, Thursday, August 30, 2012)

    Malaysians are right to protest the recent amendments that the government made to the Evidence Act of 1950. Although they deal specifically with the internet, the amendments could have wider implications on media freedom, democracy, and human rights. Section 114A of the bill seeks “to provide for the presumption of fact in publication in order to facilitate the identification and proving of the identity of an anonymous person involved in publication through the internet.”

  • (Asian Correspondent.com, Thursday, August 30, 2012)

    As Burma loosens its grip on the media, Cambodia has begun to rank high among the countries repressing internet and telephone freedom in the name of national security, safety and social order. It is still not comparable to China or Vietnam, but Cambodia is moving in the wrong direction.

  • (Electronic Frontiers Foundations, Tuesday, August 28, 2012)

    We, the undersigned public interest organizations, oppose the current framework for exceptions and limitations proposed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) as the language stands in the August 3rd leaked text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). It uses the most restrictive three-step test language, extends the test to exceptions and limitations not currently under the test and jeopardizes countries' ability to set what best fit their needs. The US proposal misses opportunities to use the TPP to strengthen limitations and exceptions further.

  • (Rediff News, Tuesday, August 28, 2012)

    Hundreds of web pages now stand blocked in India, the government has openly been appealing to internet companies to pre- or post-screen content and remove what the government wants it to remove. One Google Transparency Report after another has been revealing how the number one target of the government is criticism of politicians and government. 

  • (Phayul.com, Monday, August 27, 2012)

    The global press freedom group, Reporters Without Borders, has called China’s complete isolation of Tibet from international media and outside reporters an “increasingly worrying” trend. In a release last week, RSF said China continues to deny independent reporters permission to enter Tibet following large-scale anti-China protests this year led by the ongoing wave of self-immolations.

  • (Unbeaten Path, Saturday, August 25, 2012)

    On August 24, 2012, the Korean Constitutional Court struck down the country's infamous internet identity verification rule ("IVR", hereinafter) which had for 5 years required all major Korea-based website operators to obtain from all the posters their identity information and store the data so that it can be made available to investigative authorities upon request. After IVR was instituted in 2007, Youtube, a division of Google that has a Korea office and therefore is based in Korea, made a splash in 2009 when it snubbed the rule for the pretext that it had turned off the uploading feature on the "Korea" country setting.
     

      

  • (#Emergency2012, Thursday, August 23, 2012)

    The hashtag #emergency2012 trended in India Twitter last night, with scores of users in India crying government censorship. A number of users adopted the phrase “Emergency 2012” as their avatars or blacked out their avatars entirely. Some called for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation; many offered ways to work around censorship.

  • (Voice of America, Wednesday, August 22, 2012)

    Rapidly reforming Burma's decision to ease media censorship is being met with caution in neighboring China, where government officials have been adamant in maintaining their tight control over the flow of information. Burma announced Monday that local media will no longer be required to submit stories for review to state censors before publication, ending a key component of its long-reviled censorship policy.

  • (Firstpost.technology, Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

    ComScore, has just released some interesting data on how India’s digital citizens are spending time online. The report states that social networking accounted for 25.2 percent of all time spent online in June. The biggest beneficiary of the social networking boom in India is, of course, Facebook.

  • (ARS Technica, Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

    Censorship and government monitoring aren’t the only problems facing Syrian Internet users. There have been frequent, recent shutdowns of all Internet traffic crossing the Syrian border over the last few months, accompanying dramatic changes in how the country connects to the rest of the world. 

  • (The Atlantic, Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

    There is a long tradition of the Chinese Communist Party acknowledging and honoring "model workers," selfless citizens who contribute to the building of modern China. While in the early years after the revolution these individuals were usually peasants or ordinary workers like Zhang Binggui who worked at a candy counter and could "count out prices and change in his head," the category has expanded to encompass almost all professions including the astronaut Yang Liwei and NBA-great Yao Ming.

  • (The Asahi Shimbun, Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

    Farmer Le Dung and his fellow villagers stockpiled rocks and petrol bombs to battle police trying to take over their land for a luxury property development near Vietnam's capital city. But their most powerful weapon turned out to be the equipment they had set up with the help of Internet activists to record and broadcast the confrontation, which was ignored by state-controlled media.

  • (Technoholik, Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

    Twitter might face legal action for not complying with the Indian government’s demand to censor objectionable content aimed at the people from north-east. The Indian government announced that it is shutting down more than 250 websites, responsible for spreading rumors and derogatory content, resulting in the exodus of those from the North-East. The government received a delayed response from Twitter, partly attributed to the fact that the company does not have its offices in the country.

  • (The Telegraph, Monday, August 20, 2012)

    Until yesterday all political and religious news had to be submitted to the government's Press Scrutiny and Registration Department for prior approval, but the requirement was dropped in what was hailed as another significant step in Burma's fast-moving democratic reform process. In the past twelve months, since democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi met former military leader President Thein Sein, the government has relaxed censorship and controls on trade unions, freed hundreds of political prisoners, and held a series of by-elections which were almost all won by the Nobel Laureate's National League for Democracy and hailed as 'free and fair.

  • (RTT News, Monday, August 20, 2012)

    Myanmar on Monday lifted the nearly half-a-century old censorship on local media. The Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD) said that local publications would no longer need to submit their work to state censorship board before publication.

  • (People's Daily Online, Saturday, August 18, 2012)

    The Internet has become one of the most important resources in the world in just a few decades, but the governance mechanism for such an important international resource is still dominated by a private sector organization and a single country. The U.S. government said in a statement on July 1, 2005 that its Commerce Department would continue to support the work of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and indefinitely retain oversight of the Internet’s 13 root servers.  

  • (Meta-Activism Project, Thursday, August 16, 2012)

    Because of a recent study, we now know that Chinese censors aim at stopping collective action, regardless of content, rather than limiting political speech per se. What are the implications for Chinese activists? One answer is to carry out dilemma collective actions: collective actions that also pose response dilemmas for the government. ”Dilemma actions” have long been a part of the nonviolent repertoire. They benefit the activist whether or not they are brought to completion, usually by making the oppressor look ridiculous or unjust if they stop the action. (For an example from Serbia, see the video below.)

  • (The New York Times, Thursday, August 16, 2012)

    China’s investment prowess and construction know-how is widely on display in this long-congested African capital. A $200 million ring road is being built and partly financed by Beijing. The international airport is undergoing a $208 million expansion supported by the Chinese, whose loans also paid for a working-class housing complex that residents have nicknamed the Great Wall apartments.

  • (Press TV, Thursday, August 16, 2012)

    When then Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad launched the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative in the 1990s, he vowed the government would never censor the internet in the hope of turning the country into a global IT hub. But in the last couple of years some bloggers and websites critical of the government have been charged with defamation or sedition. And now an amendment to the country's Evidence Act is raising fears of more prosecutions.

     

  • (Pluggd.In, Tuesday, August 14, 2012)

    The Indian government’s earlier proposal to control the Internet through a United Nations committee will now be reviewed through open public consultation. Independent Rajya Sabha member from Bangalore, Rajeev Chandrashekar on Monday tweeted that the government has accepted his positino to review the proposal.

  • (Global Voices, Monday, August 13, 2012)

    A new government regulation is targeting online freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. Every ‘news' website will now have to pay Rs. 25,000 (US$193) to register and Rs. 10,000 every year to maintain their registration. Some are worried the broad implications of the law could extend to personal blogs, and may even prompt bloggers to resort to self-censorship, out of fear.

  • (The Next Web, Monday, August 13, 2012)

    The rise of Chinese microblog services like Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo as a social phenomenon has been a common story as of late, but Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has stayed loyal to Twitter, which he calls his “favorite city,” as his outlet to the censorship he faces in Beijing. In an interview with Foreign Policy, Ai, a dissident who has suffered at the hands of the establishment, lamented Beijing as being “too simple” because it has just two types of people: ruthless, powerful types who can kick people out to build skyscrapers and “the silent people, who just have to bear it.”

  • (Tech News World, Monday, August 13, 2012)

    South Korea is engaging in the sort of Internet censorship usually associated with China, according to The New York Times. The Times ticks off a handful of examples of Great Firewall-esque meddling: Someone who called the president a bad word via Twitter had his account blocked; a judge who claimed that the president was out to screw over people who challenged his authority on the Web was fired; even pornography is iffy.

  • (Business Recorder, Sunday, August 12, 2012)

    Pakistan on Saturday moved to block more than a dozen websites over YouTube clips featuring two prominent parliamentarians, and allegations of a secret marriage of the boss of the country''s state-run television. The order, from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), affects some 15 sites, which featured recordings of mobile phone conversations between a male and female politician of the breakaway faction of the ruling coalition partner, Pakistan Muslim League. 

  • (The International News, Saturday, August 11, 2012)

    The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has ordered all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block numerous scandalous internet sites, specifically the audio recording of a sensual conversation between two sitting parliamentarians. The footage of a press conference in which a lady TV artist claimed that she and a man working with a state organisation have secretly got married and they have a son, is also to be blocked.

  • (Ground Report, Saturday, August 11, 2012)

    Digital Media Committee (DMC) Fedaration of Nepali Journalists(FNJ) and Internet Society Nepal organized a program on freedom of expression and its pros and cons in internet world of World Wide Web. Highlighting the concept and use of internet as a modern day tool of freedom of expression, different journalist, online activists, reporters, bloggers, experts etc opined their experiences and thoughts.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, August 10, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the six-year jail sentence that a court in the central province of Dak Nong imposed on the blogger Dinh Dang Dinh two days ago on a charge of anti-government propaganda. "The same charges keep on being brought against Vietnam’s bloggers," Reporters Without Borders said. "Article 88 of the criminal code has again been used to silence criticism of the government. The summary nature of these proceedings does not bode well for other bloggers currently being tried. We urge the courts to respect Dinh’s right to due process and to overturn this unjust conviction on appeal."

  • (Uncut, Thursday, August 9, 2012)

    Even rainstorms can be sensitive in China. The recent storm in Beijing which killed at least 77 people caused the censors to come out in force, with newspapers told to can coverage and online accounts of the deluge snipped. But with 500 million internet users, the obvious question is, how does China do it? What are the mechanics of China’s internet censorship?

  • (Bytes for All, Pakistan, Thursday, August 9, 2012)

    Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is very pleased to share new research ‘Digital Security and Journalists: A Snapshot of Awareness and Practice in Pakistan’. Produced by Bytes for All, Pakistan and commissioned by the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning, this new research shows how journalists and bloggers in Pakistan are not aware of the ways to protect themselves, their data, and their sources online. Published online, the report has already received a great reception within the international media development organizations, especially those working in Pakistan.

  • (BBC News, Thursday, August 9, 2012)

    A Facebook page that depicted Aboriginal people in Australia as drunks and welfare cheats has been removed after a public outcry. The Aboriginal Memes page had allowed users to post jokes about indigenous people. An online petition calling for the removal of "the racist page" has generated thousands of signatures. The government has also condemned it.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, August 9, 2012)

    Yesterday (August 8 2012), 4 masked men rushed into a citizen media advocacy group's office and smashed its computer equipment. [Disclosure: the writer of this article is a member of the organization.] The organization is Hong Kong In-Media, a non-profit organization aiming at promoting the development of independent and citizen media in Hong Kong. Since 2005, the organization has supported various local citizen media projects including the independent news website: inmediahk.net, which is run by a group of voluntary editors, reporters and writers. The articles in the websites are highly critical of the government and those in power.

  • (NPR, Wednesday, August 8, 2012)

    Audie Cornish talks to Gary King, director of Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, about new research that looks at the types of online postings censored by the Chinese government.

  • (The Times of India, Wednesday, August 8, 2012)

    In what could turn out to be its calling card for the 2014 general elections, the government is finalizing a Rs 7,000 crore scheme to give one mobile phone to every family living below the poverty line.

  • (Usenix, Monday, August 6, 2012)

    Internet censorship in China is not just limited to the web: the Great Firewall of China prevents thousands of potential Tor users from accessing the network. In this paper, we investigate how the blocking mechanism is implemented, we conjecture how China’s Tor blocking infrastructure is designed and we propose circumvention techniques. Our work bolsters the understanding of China’s censorship capabilities and thus paves the way towards more effective circumvention techniques.

  • (BBC News, Monday, August 6, 2012)

    Three employees of China's main search engine, Baidu, have been arrested on suspicion of having accepted bribes to delete posts from its forum service. The web giant fired the three, along with a fourth person who was not arrested. Baidu's spokeswoman, Betty Tian, said the sums involved amounted to "tens of thousands of yuan" (thousands of pounds).

  • (The Hindu, Friday, August 3, 2012)

    The refusal by either companies or MPs to shed their reservations about the proposed changes in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011, which are part of the IT Act, 2000, has led to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal agreeing to engage in larger consultation.

  • (The Economic Times, Thursday, August 2, 2012)

    BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's (RIM) four-year standoff with the Indian government over providing encryption keys for its secure corporate emails and popular messenger services is finally set to end.

  • (France 24, Wednesday, August 1, 2012)

    The United States on Wednesday called on Vietnam to free three bloggers facing trial for propaganda against the state, voicing deep concern at the self-immolation of the mother of one of the trio. The defendants were arrested after posting hundreds of political articles on the banned Vietnamese website "Free Journalists Club", as well as writing on their own blogs, in a case that has been raised by US President Barack Obama.

  • (The Citizen Lab, Tuesday, July 31, 2012)

    Syed Abdullah Syed Husein, who blogs under the name “Uncle Seekers”, was arrested under the Official Secrets Act [pdf] for defaming the Sultan of Johor in more than 30 blog postings. His arrest occurred after police reports were lodged against him by those linked to the United Malays National Organisation, the prime minister’s party. They claimed [Malaysian] that the postings were a “provocation, incitement, and insult to the Sultan”. 

  • (Macau Hub, Monday, July 30, 2012)

    Baidu, the search engine known as “China’s Google” has launched a Portuguese-language version on the Brazilian market (http://br.hao123.com/) of Hao123, a directory of links that also allows Internet content searches.At the beginning of the year the company said it would open an office in Sao Paulo and that Hao123 would be the company’s first project in Brazil and the first of the company’s products to be localised in Portuguese.

  • (Center for International Media Assistance, Monday, July 30, 2012)

    This report examines Pakistan’s press system–still a work in progress–following a renaissance that began in 2002 when then-President Pervez Musharraf liberalized the broadcast laws and set in motion a media market boom that revolutionized how news was reported. From the most powerful metropolitan newspapers and TV channels to small radio stations in impoverished rural villages, it has been a whirlwind decade for the country’s journalists.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, July 27, 2012)

    North Korea's booming cellphone market now counts more than 1 million subscribers, providing citizens with an increasingly potent channel for delivering accounts from the reclusive country to the outside world. North Korea's regime prohibits residents from making international calls with the phones or accessing the Internet with them. Still, some residents appear to be sharing information using sophisticated models that come with video and removable memory cards.

  • (Global Voices, Friday, July 27, 2012)

    According to mainland Chinese media report, Beijing city steering committee and public security bureau had a working group meeting in July 24 on the control of the internet during summer vacation. The head of Beijing police Fu Zhenghua (傅政华)told the reporters that the public security authorities would strengthen law enforcement regarding illegal trading, spreading of rumor and online attack of the party, government leaders and political system.

  • (The Register, Thursday, July 26, 2012)

    Beijing police have announced yet another ‘clean-up’ of the web, this time closing hundreds of internet cafes and arresting thousands in the name of protecting the Chinese capital’s vulnerable youth. Fu Zhenghua, who heads up the city’s Public Security Bureau, said that just over 5,000 people had been arrested and the owners of more than 7,500 web sites punished recently, according to TechInAsia.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Thursday, July 26, 2012)

    Amid widespread domestic and international concern about the flooding in China, the Chinese media and Internet users have been asking why the Beijing drainage system failed to avert the disaster in the capital and why the authorities failed to give its inhabitants more warning.

  • (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/26/china_closes_internet_cafes_protect_kids/, Thursday, July 26, 2012)

    Beijing police have announced yet another ‘clean-up’ of the web, this time closing hundreds of internet cafes and arresting thousands in the name of protecting the Chinese capital’s vulnerable youth.

  • (Global Voices Advocacy, Thursday, July 19, 2012)

    A local Hong Kong newspaper, AM730 found out that the Hong Kong government free wifi service is filtering away a number of politically sensitive websites. Even though most of the websites have been re-opened upon receiving netizens' complaint, netizens and human right groups are concerned about the lack of monitor over the filter list.

  • (ZDNet, Thursday, July 19, 2012)

    According to the latest "Statistical Report on Internet Development in China" released by the China Internet Network Information Center on Thursday, the number of Internet users in the country reached 538 million by the end of June, up from 485 million a year ago.

  • (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tuesday, July 17, 2012)

    Australia is the latest democratic nation to introduce new national security measures that would vastly expand governmental surveillance powers, following an alarming legislative pattern that’s also unfolded in the United Kingdom and Canada in recent months.

  • (Global Voices, Tuesday, July 17, 2012)

    The Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) raided offices of two news websites on June 29. They arrested nine journalists and seized some equipment. All the journalists were released shortly afterward, yet the government is now advocating for news websites to pay an annual fee to be considered 'registered' news sources.

  • (Korean Times, Friday, July 13, 2012)

    A senior executive at U.S.-based search giant Google said that it is not desirable for mobile carriers KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus to limit user access to competitive applications or networks. He said such a move will hinder the creation of an innovative ecosystem and that network neutrality should be taken into consideration as an issue of competition for people’s choice.

  • (Congressional Research Service, Friday, July 13, 2012)

    The development of the Internet and its use in China have raised U.S. congressional concerns, including those related to human rights, trade and investment, and cybersecurity. The link between the Internet and human rights, a pillar of U.S. foreign policy towards China, is the mainfocus of this report.

  • (The Citizen Lab, Thursday, July 12, 2012)

    Data collected from Oman shows that web filtering applied by India-based ISPs is restricting access to content for customers of an ISP in Oman. While unusual, content filtering undertaken in one political jurisdiction can have an effect on users in another political jurisdiction as a result of ISP routing arrangements – a phenomenon known as “upstream filtering.”

  • (Wired, Thursday, July 12, 2012)

    The FBI has launched an investigation into allegations that a top Chinese maker of phone equipment supplied Iran with U.S.-made hardware and software, including a powerful surveillance system, in violation of federal laws and a trade embargo, according to The Smoking Gun.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Monday, July 9, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed to learn that the blogger Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas has been held since yesterday under the Official Secrets Act as a result of a complaint by a group of 30 people over controversial posts about the Sultan of Johor. A young woman who was with him at the time of his arrest is also being held.

  • (Radio Free Asia, Friday, July 6, 2012)

    Chinese Internet users gave a mixed reaction to the passage this week of the first United Nations resolution on Internet freedom, which called on all states to support individuals' rights online as much as offline, with many expressing pessimism that the vote would affect them.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Friday, July 6, 2012)

    Vietnamese authorities must stop their harassment of independent blogger and rights activist Huynh Thuc Vy and allow her to report freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Huynh was briefly detained by police and threatened with anti-state charges on Wednesday, according to news reports.

  • (Reporters Without Borders, Friday, July 6, 2012)

    Reporters Without Borders calls for an international reaction to the all-out censorship of information in China that includes website blocking, prior censorship of social networks and the dismissal of journalists who cover sensitive stories. The government is stepping up efforts to silence criticism and independent reporting, taking advantage of widespread indifference in the international community, especially UN bodies.

  • (OpenNet Initiative, Friday, July 6, 2012)

    The Indian government on Friday said it has no plans to censor the Internet and social media. Addressing a seminar organised by the Editors Guild of India, law minister Salman Khurshid said his colleague and information technology minister Kapil Sibal does not endorse the view of internet censorship in the country.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, July 3, 2012)

    China's government isn't the only one paying close attention to what the country's citizens are saying on social media sites. As China's 500 million Internet users rapidly adopt social media, academics and entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to track online messages and blog posts to better understand what the government censors—and even how to predict its intent.

  • (Committee to Protect Journalists, Monday, July 2, 2012)

    Well, that didn't take long. Just days after The New York Times' soft launch of its Chinese-language edition and accompanying microblog accounts, Berkeley-based China Digital Times website reports that the @nytchinese Sina Weibo feed is no longer accessible in China, along with two accounts hosted by Netease and Sohu. We couldn't pull them up this morning from New York, either.

  • (Washington Post, Friday, June 29, 2012)

    American officials urged China on Friday not to censor its Internet after the government blocked access to the Bloomberg News Web site. The Chinese government had denied Web access to the financial news agency after an investigative article on massive wealth amassed by relatives of Xi Jinping, the man expected to become China’s president.

  • (Citizen Lab, Friday, June 29, 2012)

    The June 2012 issue of Southeast Asia Cyber Watch contains news articles from Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

  • (New York Times, Friday, June 29, 2012)

    The Sri Lankan police arrested nine journalists and seized computers and documents from the office of an independent news Web site on Friday, said a media rights group in Sri Lanka, one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. The police said they had a court warrant to act against the Web site, srilankamirror.com, but they have not explained the reasons for the arrests, said Gnanasiri Kottigoda, the president of the media rights group, the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association.

  • (OpenNet Initiative, Friday, June 29, 2012)

    Telstra, a Melbourne-based provider of phone and Internet services, has admitted to secretly tracking websites visited by its mobile users and giving the information to Netsweeper, a Guelph-based firm that makes tools used to censor the Internet abroad. Tracking was conducted in the lead-up to the launch of a voluntary web-filtering tool, Telstra said in a statement, and no personal information was stored or shared in the process. But concerns over the Guelph-based firm’s reputation have fuelled criticism and speculation in Australia about what the web-browsi