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A Bit of Hypocrisy From Ecuador On Internet Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 20 2013

President Rafael Correa (Wikipedia)

Proposed changes to Ecuador's Criminal Code threaten Internet users privacy, security, and possibly even access, reports the digital freedom activist group Access. Among the changes is the provision that Internet service providers (ISPs) must retain records of Internet activity for up to six months. This change would be at odds with the Ecuadorean Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary retention of communications online and off. Another provision would require cybercafes to videotape their patrons. Aside from violating user privacy, this requirement would be prohibitive to small ma and pop establishments, which might close if the owners are unable to afford cameras and data storage equipment.

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WeGov

Worried About The NSA? Be Glad You Don't Live In India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 11 2013

Last week The Economic Times reported that India's massive surveillance apparatus known as the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) will be “operational soon”—this in spite of the fact that some believed it to be at work as early as May of this year. When CMS finally made headlines, activists worried that India's existing privacy laws wouldn't be enough to protect consumers from snooping government officials abusing their powers. Low and behold—on September 9 The Hindu reported that India's 160 million Internet users are already being thoroughly surveilled, and that the government's activities violate laws meant to ensure “privacy of communications.”

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WeGov

As Protests Continue, the Brazilian Gov't Scrambles to Surveil Social Media

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 21 2013

Brazil trying to control protests on the street, and online (Rui Rodrigues/Flickr)

As the protests in Brazil continue – aided and abetted by social media – the government has been scrambling to put together an Internet surveillance system to track and monitor protests both on and offline.

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Companies and Internet Activists to Congress: Investigate Potential NSA Surveillance Overreach

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Over 80 advocacy organizations and Internet companies including Free Press and Mozilla have launched what they are calling a global petition to Congress calling for an inquiry into the scope and scale of reported government surveillance and reforms to the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendment Act and the state secrets privilege. Read More

WeGov

French Authorities Want to Tap (and Tax) Skype Calls

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 23 2013

Paris, France ( Wikipedia)

In spite of repeated requests from the French telecommunications authorities ARCEP, Skype has refused to classify itself as an electronic communications operator in France, which would require them to route emergency calls and allow the French police to intercept conversations. ARCEP has informed the Paris public prosecutor of Skype's refusal, and criminal charges might be brought against the company for failing to comply. This is yet another instance in recent months of France making things difficult for tech companies. Some worry that the overzealous government is discouraging technological progress in France, hindering business and economic growth.

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Journalists Who Neglect Digital Security Put their Sources at Risk

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Journalists are putting their sources — and sometimes their own lives — at risk by failing to implement digital security strategies, article the American Journalism Review. Read More

Report: Surveillance Tech In Syria, Myanmar Comes From Sunnyvale

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 9 2011

An American technology company is increasingly coming under fire with allegations that its Internet filtering technology is being used by some countries to censor and monitor its own citizens, Technology Review reports: ... Read More

Governments Must Not Censor the Internet: A Strong Remark From UK Foreign Minister

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, November 1 2011

In the opening address of the London Conference on Cyberspace, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague took a strong stance on freedom of expression, declaring that governments should not censor activities in cyberspace. His ... Read More

Google Data Shows Government Internet Surveillance Far Outstrips Wiretap Requests

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, October 25 2011

Alongside an update to its public records about government requests for user information, Google this morning announced that it would begin disclosing not just the number of requests governments worldwide are making for ... Read More

Exporting Technology in the Middle East: Western Credibility in the Online World

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, September 7 2011

At Nordic Techpolitics MEP (and PdF friend) Marietje Schaake exposed one of the darkest side of the Internet: Western countries are exporting technology in Middle East countries fighting for independence ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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