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Archives de Catégorie: Digital freedom

Jordan Starts Blocking ‘Unlicensed Websites’

[First published on Jadaliyya.]

[…] the [Telecommunications Regulatory] Commission directs you to do what is required to block the websites listed in the attached document and prevent your subscribers from accessing them before the end of today, June 2, 2013. Note that the websites that don’t have a URL in the list, you will be provided with later.

What followed was a list of 304 websites.

This is the request sent by the Jordanian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on 2 June 2013, and published by Jordanian citizen media platform 7iber. The request is in line with legislation enforced back in September 2012––the Press and Publications Law. The Press and Publications Department, a state entity once formally known as thee Censorship Department, is now in charge of applying this law.

Jordan counts nearly 500 online news outlets. According to the current version of the Press and Publications Law, any such website has to register with the Press and Publications Department in order to obtain a license. Registering is reported to cost 1,000 Jordanian dinars (1,400USD). The websites listed in the blocking request are deemed « unlicensed, » meaning having neither obtained a license nor applied to obtain one. Reportedly, 102 websites remain accessible for either having obtained a license or for having applied for such within the official deadlines.

The move caused a deluge of discussions on a wide range of media channels, when Press and Publications Department director denied a fee is required to get registered and after a cement factory website was identified as listed among the websites to be blocked for allegedly manufacturing paper. As no official has offered commentary on these discrepancies, the process through which websites are selected for blocking remains obscure.

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Publié par le 6 juin 2013 dans Digital freedom

 

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#UAE94: Thought Trial in the United Arab Emirates

I am finally done curating this awful thing… Five months, twelve hearings, nearly 100 defendants and countless ‘collateral’ victims detained over delirious charges. Albeit some of the defendants belonging to Al-Islah (UAE’s Ikhwan division), this is just a very badly disguised thought trial. The Storify, gathering nearly all that exists in English on the topic, covers the timespan between Jan 29, 2012 and May 20, 2013. It’ll be regularly updated:
View the story « #UAE94: Thought Trial in the UAE »

 
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Publié par le 21 mai 2013 dans Digital freedom, Politique

 

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The Democratic Bahraini Regime Kills Irony Once More

Today March 12 is the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. Initiated by Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF) back in 2011, the Day aims « to rally everyone in support of a single Internet without restrictions and accessible to all. » RSF released a special report highlighting the « Enemies of the Internet. » The report, which presents the 2012 list of countries, has identified five State Enemies of the Internet: these are all ‘spy’ states as they conduct systematic online surveillance which results in human rights violations. They are Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam.

The report also emphasize the importance of advanced technology which enables authoritarian regimes to
spy on their citizens. RSF has thus compiled a list of five « Corporate Enemies of the Internet, » that is 5 privately held companies which it names ‘digital era mercenaries’ because they sell software used by authoritarian governments to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information. With no surprises, these are Gamma Group, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys/Bull and Blue Coat.

I guess the Bahraini repressive regime is greedy for becoming even more famous: in celebration of its excellent rank in the top 5 of the ‘Enemies of the Internet,’ it has arrested 6 tweeps. The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights lists the names and a few details on each case. The Bahraini Ministry of Interior cheekily explained:

The General Director of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security announced on Tuesday that a group of individuals were monitored for using social media for defamation of the King. Investigation identified six of them, in which they were referred to the public prosecution.

He said that freedom of expression in protected within the constitution and law, while urging for the best use of social media to avoid breaking the law.

I guess no comment is needed at this point…

 
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Publié par le 12 mars 2013 dans Digital freedom, Politique

 

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Closed-source software recommended to Syrian activists as 100% secure…

It is about Wickr, an app only available for iOS thus far. I remember this app made me smile when it was announced back in June 2012: it sends messages and photos that will be erased. The funny thing is that the user chooses for how long the messages/photos will last.

Nico Sell, co-founder of Wickr and one of the organisers of the DefCon, says Wickr will bring « NSA top-secret level encryption to the masses. » It seems absolutely awesome.

As operating on entirely proprietary and locked OS was not enough, Wickr also uses proprietary cryptography algorithms and its source code is closed. I’m confused about the « geek utopia » Sell depicts as follows:

Wickr has a patent pending on technology which Sell said could give people ways to safeguard anything they send or put online, even digital bytes in Internet telephone calls or posts to leading social network Facebook.

Loads of discussions (Mashable, for the non-crypto specialists and Liberationtech for the geekier) have been taking place around how much one could trust this tool. As quite a few security concerns have been addressed (see the Liberationtech messages above), I was particularly alarmed by the following in the Mashable article:

So could Wickr be used by an activist in Syria who is worried about enemy spies and Assad’s regime? Sell has no doubts — she answers that question with an unflickering « yes. »

You mean, people at risk of dying for communicating through technology could use a tool that only a small crowd knows the secrets of?
The blackbox software is good for you

 
 

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Spoiling Our Cultural Heritage

Just a quick notice: I’ve written a piece for TechDirt. on the outrageous agreement between the French National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France) and ProQuest: Dirty Deeds: French National Library Privatizes Public Domain, Part 2. If ever you are wondering: Part 1 is here, by great Glyn Moody 🙂

 
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Publié par le 20 février 2013 dans Digital freedom

 

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Cairo Administrative Court Bans YouTube… | Une cour égyptienne veut bloquer YouTube…

(Français ci-dessous)

This morning, February 9, the Cairo Administrative Court announced its decision to ban YouTube and « all other websites that showed the anti-Islam film » ‘The Innocence of Muslims’. The ban is for 30 days. The lawsuit was initially filed on 18 Sept 2012 by a lawyer, Mr. Mohamed Hamed Salem, in the middle of a MENA-wide turmoil the trailer provoked. The lawyer insisted on having the website removing all anti-Muslim videos as they « distort the image of the Prophet ».

Courtesy @asteris

Courtesy @asteris

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Publié par le 9 février 2013 dans Digital freedom

 

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[Brevia] #NetNeutrality through Neelie Kroes’s eyes

In an Op-Ed in Libération (in French), Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Internet-related policies, can be found giving in to telecom operator pressure and giving up on Net Neutrality. Ms. Kroes supports the creation of a fragmented Internet, banning innovation and opening the door to unacceptable censorship.

Read more from La Quadrature du Net: English, French

The Internet according to Neelie Kroes, by @mmu_man

The Internet according to Neelie Kroes, by @mmu_man

 
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Publié par le 18 janvier 2013 dans Digital freedom

 

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