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WeGov

BYO Mesh Network: Commotion 1.0 Toolkit Released For New Year

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, January 2 2014

Commotion software is both smaller and so much bigger than a suitcase. (Flickr/Lasse Christensen)

Just before the new year, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute launched Commotion 1.0, a mesh networking toolkit more than 12 years in the making, also (and misleadingly) known as “Internet in a suitcase.” The toolkit makes it possible for communities to build their own mesh communication networks, which can be used as an Intranet or as a way of distributing access to the Internet without using traditional infrastructure.

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WeGov

Why The Remarkably Similar Circumvention Tools uProxy and Lantern Are Not Overkill

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 24 2013

Night and day: two radically different ways of describing remarkably similar tools

Not all anti-censorship tools were created equal. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Take uProxy, for example, one of several new tools Google Ideas launched at their Summit meeting in New York City this week. UProxy is a browser extension that connects people in censored countries to the Internet through people in uncensored countries. Sound familiar? It should. Although seeded by Google Ideas, it was built by developers at the University of Washington and Brave New Software. That's right, Brave New Software, the same organization behind the anti-censorship tool Lantern, profiled earlier this week by techPresident, which also uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to circumvent Internet blocks.

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WeGov

Could State Department Funded Lantern Be Bigger, Better Tor?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 22 2013

Lanterns in Singapore (Tallkev/Flickr)

Global Internet freedom is without a doubt declining. Authoritarian states like China and Iran routinely block social media and news websites. Half of the countries surveyed for the 2013 Freedom House report on net freedom have blocked political or social content, and nearly a third blanket block at least one blogging or social media platform. Anti-censorship tools exist, but the most popular and effective buckle under the overwhelming demand for them in repressive countries.

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WeGov

Ghanaians Push For Internet Access and Data Journalism

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 14 2013

Ghanaian civil society organizations have banded together in a push for greater Internet access in the country. Earlier this month 30 organizations called on the government to make Internet penetration a priority. The call took place turning a workshop on Internet freedom in Ghana organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa with support from a UK-based organization, Global Partners and Associates. Ghana's Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, has voiced his support for the organizations' plea.

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WeGov

Facebook a Top News Source in the Middle East

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 28 2013

A report released earlier this month on media consumption in the Middle East revealed that Facebook is the most popular social media site and the third most popular news source in the region. Read More

WeGov

Jordanian Government Commences Blocking Websites

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 4 2013

Four of the sites blocked by the Jordan government

What do Time Out magazine, Al Jazeera, Penthouse and the Muslim Brotherhood all have in common? Their websites were all blocked this weekend by the Jordan government for failing to register for a license.

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WeGov

Singapore Expands Government Control Over Internet News

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 3 2013

Yahoo! News Singapore is one of 10 sites that must get an individual license in Singapore

As of June 1st, some online sources for Singapore news need an individual license from the government media regulator, the Media Development Authority (MDA). Online news sites are already subject to the Internet Code of Practice, which includes a description of “Prohibited Material.” However, the new License specifies that news sites must remove prohibited content within 24 hours of notification from the MDA.

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WeGov

Are Syria's Internet Outages Increasing in Frequency?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 15 2013

Visualization of the most recent power outage in Syria, courtesy of Arbor Networks

At 3:30 Wednesday morning, Jim Cowie received an automated text message: Syria's Internet was down, again. The eight hour outage today was the second Internet blackout in Syria since the start of May, and the fourth since last November. Many have speculated the blackouts are a result of deliberate government interference, but there is no consensus as to why and indeed no concrete evidence one way or the other.

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WeGov

Internet You Can Actually Stick in a Suitcase

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 7 2013

Erik Hersman, aka @whiteafrican, in a Brck video screengrab

More than six months after Hurricane Sandy knocked Verizon’s landlines and Internet service out of commission, there are New Yorkers still waiting for their Internet to come back online. While a rarity in the States, unreliable access is not so uncommon in developing countries. A new device from Ushahidi hopes to solve that problem. Read More

Cyberwarfare's "Cuban Missile Crisis" Moment

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, March 12 2013

It's as if we've entered the Guns of August or Cuban Missile Crisis stage of cyberwarfare — a period where no one knows what act will generate a response, and so acts will keep escalating until a crisis demonstrates what the boundary will be. Read More