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WeGov

Tajikistan Blocks YouTube and News Site On Eve of Election

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Rakhmon with Dmitry Medvedev (Wikipedia)

On the eve of Tajik elections, clients of certain Internet providers were unable to access YouTube or the popular new portal Ozodagon. A source close to the Tajik government told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the blocks were ordered by the State Communications Service.

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WeGov

Argentina's Expanding Surveillance State

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Screenshot from the SIBIOS promotional video

“If we know more about who we are, we can better take care of ourselves.”

That's the reason the Argentinian government gives for their new Federal System of Biometric Identification (SIBIOS) program in a promotional video they play at border control stations. Privacy rights activists have been up in arms about SIBIOS since Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner created it with an executive decree in 2011. It has been active practice since 2012, with little to no public debate about it. Nothing has slowed down the expanding database of information, which includes fingerprints and photos. Earlier this month, Mendoza became the 13th province to sign the Federal Program Partnership and Security Assistance, a program meant to "harmonize" national and provincial policies, and gives provinces access to databases like SIBIOS.

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WeGov

Apple Kicks Out Another Anti-Censorship App From Their Chinese Store

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 25 2013

Just when it seemed like a small opening for controversial apps had appeared in the Chinese Apple App store, it quickly closed again. Yesterday, GreatFire.org's Free Weibo, a tool that allows you to search and find censored tweets on China’s popular microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, was finally made available in the Apple apps store in China after being previously blocked. When I asked Charlie Smith, who along with Martin Johnson created Great Fire, a website that monitor's censorship in China, "why the sudden reversal?", the answer was clear: it was an oversight. Read More

WeGov

SIM Card Registration Newest Assault on Privacy and Freedom of Expression in Zimbabwe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Harare, Zimbabwe (Wikipedia)

As of October 1, Zimbabweans have 30 days to register their SIM cards with their service providers, or risk a fine or imprisonment of up to six months. The Zimbabwean government is also establishing a single subscriber database of all the subscribers' personal information. The government justifies these measures as necessary to safeguard national security, but human rights activists in Zimbabwe say that they pose a threat to citizens' privacy and free expression.

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WeGov

Quién Manda: A Pinterest For Politician and Lobbyist Relations?

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, October 8 2013

http://quienmanda.es/

Some day, the term ‘El Fotomandón’ may give Spanish politicians the jitters. El Fotomandón is, in some sense, like a paparazzi meets Pinterest for politician and lobbyist relations, displaying photos of them interacting together. These so-called ‘protagonistas’ are tagged with their full name and titles. It belongs to the site, Quién Manda (‘Who’s Your Boss?’), launched today by Civio, a civil interest group that works on transparency issues in Spain. Its mantra is to bid ‘bye, bye to opacity’ and ‘hello to democracy.’ Read More

WeGov

Move Over Skype. For a More Secure Chat, There’s OStel.

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, October 7 2013

sparktography/flickr

As Edward Snowden’s leaks have revealed, none of our digital devices are truly safe from prying eyes, including Skype. As of February 2011, the U.S. government has had the capacity to monitor Skype calls and in July of this year, several newspapers exposed the level of cooperation Skype has had with the government in monitoring calls; the NSA apparently tripled its level of monitoring since July of last year, nine months after Microsoft bought the application. There is now a Skype alternative called OStel, offered by the Guardian Project, an organization that creates secure, open-source communications software that often assists those living under censorship. Read More

WeGov

Interview: Misha Glenny on Internet Crimes, Espionage and National Security

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 4 2013

http://www.juanosborne.com/

It has been a punishing week for cyber criminals, with the indictment of 13 members of the hacking group, Anonymous, charged with attacking government and credit card websites, as well as the arrest of one of the leaders behind Silk Road, a billion dollar Internet narcotics market known as the "Amazon of illegal drugs." Who exactly are the individuals behind these schemes and what does it mean for the future of the Internet? Misha Glenny, an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, talks to TechPresident about the dark side of the Internet. Read More

WeGov

On Their Terms: A Digital Project to Give Inuit Say in Developers' Arctic Ambitions

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Thursday, September 12 2013

It's walrus season in Nunavut. (j.slein/flickr)

A new project in Canada’s north is attempting to bridge the digital divide facing Inuit communities. In doing so, it hopes to give them a say as developers move to take advantage of their resource-rich land. The idea is to provide high-speed Internet access to Inuit living in northern communities, where extremely low bandwidth access makes surfing the net a slow and cumbersome task. “These people, who most need access to these networks, have the worst cost-per-bandwidth in the civilized world,” says Cohn. Read More

WeGov

The Hunt for Open Data in China

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, September 11 2013

No data in this stack of hay. (Perry McKenna/flickr)

Like water and oil, ‘open data’ and ‘China’ that take a bit of engineering if you want them to mix. Stories like those of human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong, arrested for rallying citizens to demand public disclosure of their officials’ wealth, are more the norm. But rather than ask for information, a group of young techies are going out and finding it, despite the challenges in its use and the risks of digging too deep. Read More

WeGov

Petition to Unblock YouTube in Pakistan Basically Ignored By Minister of IT

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 12 2013

The organization challenging Pakistan's YouTube ban in court claimed last month that a meeting with the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), moderated by the Lahore High Court, was biased and unfair in its execution and in its portrayal by the media. Only last week the Minister of IT failed – once again – to appear in the Lahore High Court. The counsel for the petitioner, Bytes for All, asked that the court temporarily lift the ban but the request was denied.

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