Busting Egypt's web blackout An Egyptian protester flashes Egypt's flag as anti-riot policemen use water canon against protesters in Cairo on Jan. 28, 2011. Such resilience on the part of protesters has enabled them to find creative ways to circumvent the internet blackout the government imposed Friday. ((Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press)) The Egyptian government ordered a digital crackdown Friday in an effort to quell protesters, shutting down internet access and cellphone services, but some Egyptians are still finding ways to connect with others. "This is certainly not unprecedented in type, but it is unique in scope and size," said Ron Deibert, director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Many countries monitor and filter their citizens' communications and online activities. State internet crackdowns on the rise However, Deibert says that while Egypt's move is extreme, it hasn't been entirely effective. International reaction
Syria – Traffic Graph – Google Transparency Report People have been unable to access certain Google products and services at some point in more than 30 countries. Causes for these disruptions vary, and include network outages and government-mandated blocks. Review current disruptions below or browse all documented disruptions. This list is not comprehensive. YouTube June 13, 2014–Present Duration: 90 days Google Sites inaccessible. YouTube March 23, 2009–Present Duration: 1998 days Google Sites partially accessible YouTube June 13, 2009–Present Duration: 1916 days YouTube September 17, 2012–Present Duration: 724 days ACCESS to the Website named be BANNED pursuant to Article 8 of the Law no 5651
The problem with nerd politics | Technology In the aftermath of the Sopa fight, as top Eurocrats are declaring the imminent demise of Acta, as the Trans-Pacific Partnership begins to founder, as the German Pirate party takes seats in a third German regional election, it's worth taking stock of "nerd politics" and see where we've been and where we're headed. Since the earliest days of the information wars, people who care about freedom and technology have struggled with two ideological traps: nerd determinism and nerd fatalism. Both are dangerously attractive to people who love technology. In "nerd determinism," technologists dismiss dangerous and stupid political, legal and regulatory proposals on the grounds that they are technologically infeasible. But, while it's true that geeks can get around this sort of thing – and other bad network policies, such as network-level censorship, or vendor locks on our tablets, phones, consoles, and computers – this isn't enough to protect us, let alone the world.
How is Social Media Transforming Human Rights Monitoring? Syrian youths, inside a vehicle, film a protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with their phones in the northern city of Aleppo on October 12, 2012. (Photo: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images) Social media is increasingly helpful to not only monitor emerging human rights emergencies, but also to uncover incorrect information. A recent example is when Twitter helped me to spot incorrect contextual information on a newly uploaded execution video from Syria. This is just one instance in which crowdsourced expertise from social media can open up new opportunities for human rights organizations. Of course, citizen journalism is not a new phenomenon―think of the Rodney King case in the early 1990s, to name just one well known example. The crime scene at your fingertips Similar to journalists, human rights researchers cannot cover all places at once and may be denied access to a potential crime scene altogether. Social media as evidence Limitations
Security Experts and Human Rights Advocates Worldwide Ask Yahoo to Improve Security | openitp.org Details Published on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:17 Several well-known organizations and individuals, including our own Eleanor Saitta, have written a letter to CEO of Yahoo Marisa Mayer, asking her to improve the security of Yahoo infrastructure. The letter expressed concern about Yahoo's inability to support encrypted connections to its communication services. For years, security experts have urged Yahoo o adapt HTTPS but the company has not taken any visible steps to do so. Five years ago, in response to serious concerns regarding Yahoo's human rights record, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang promised the US Congress that the company would "do the right thing" and protect human rights globally, as well as focus on openness, privacy and free expression. View letter
When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts | Threat Level Photo courtesy Benetech As one of people who built Martus, an encrypted database used by thousands of human rights activists around the world, I routinely confront the needs of users who are not in wealthy countries, as well as the difficult problem that creating real, easy-to-use security poses. My thoughts here are focused on the democracy activists, citizen journalists, and human rights workers in the world’s toughest political environments. These are our Martus users, and my colleagues and friends. These are people who need security more than just about anyone: it can be literally a question of life and death. Patrick Ball has spent over 20 years applying scientific measurement to human rights. One thing that makes that already difficult situation worse, though, is when otherwise well-informed people give bad advice about what is and is not secure. My concerns stem from a sharp debate over software called CryptoCat – a debate spurred largely by an admiring profile at Wired.
International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance | Necessary and Proportionate The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal The .io country code top-level domain is pretty popular right now, particularly among tech startups that want to take advantage of the snappy input/output reference and the relative availability of names — Fusion.io, Wise.io and Import.io are just a few examples. But who benefits from the sale of .io domains? Sadly, not the people who ultimately should. While .tv brings in millions of dollars each year for the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, and .me benefits Montenegro, the people of the British Indian Ocean Territory, or the Chagos Islands, have no such luck. “A few Tarzans and Man Fridays” The Chagossians are largely descended from African slaves brought to the previously uninhabited islands, 2,200km (1,367 miles) north-east of Mauritius, by the French in the 18th century. Map showing location of the Chagos Islands secret CIA prison The problem, of course, was that the islands didn’t lack a civilian population, as the U.S. had required. The .io deal “Robbed”