Links for week ending 11 February 2011

Intermediary liability trial begins in Thailand
The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) report that the trial of the director of online newspaper Prachatai began in Thailand last week. Ms. Chiranuch Premchaiporn (known as Jiew) faces a prison sentence of up to twenty years under Thailand’s Computer Crime Act for publishing ten potentially unlawful comments from anonymous readers, comments which Prachatai subsequently removed. Thai Netizen Network have dubbed the trial “a case study in internet and intermediary liability in Thailand”.
CDT report | Thai Netizen Network statement

Syria lifts Facebook ban
Forward Syria reports that Syrian authorities lifted a five-year ban on Facebook this week. Syrian internet users are reporting that some ISPs have also lifted a five-year block on YouTube. Forward Syria state that “no official announcement is expected to be made on the decision”.

Mass-defacement of websites mentioning Armenian genocide
Security experts are claiming that that cyber-attackers calling themselves “1923 Turkish group” have defaced more than 6,000 websites which mention the Armenian genocide, leaving messages in Turkish and English which say “Do not believe Armenia’s lies, the biggest genocide was committed by you, America”.

Brazilian communications agency moves towards surveillance superpowers
The Brazilian national communications agency Anatel has announced plans to invest in surveillance infrastructure to harvest communications traffic data from private mobile phone carrier networks. Freedom to Tinker reports: “Anatel has invested about $500,000 in building three central switches that connect directly with the private carrier’s networks. The switches are not for eavesdropping, but will provide the agency with direct access to information such as numbers dialed, date, time, amount paid and duration of all phone calls.”

Knight and Mozilla Foundations launch partnership to advance media innovation
The Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have announced a joint initiative to seed technological innovation in newsrooms. The $2.5million program will recruit 15 Knight-Mozilla fellows to embed in newsrooms including the Boston Globe, the BBC, the Guardian and Zeit Online.

The rise of the access to knowledge movement: an interview with Vera Franz
This interview with Information Program Manager Vera Franz charts the rise of the access to knowledge movement, highlighting the movement’s achievements at the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, and detailing the challenges that remain for intellectual property reform.

Internet Freedom? there’s no app for that
This blog post from the Center for Democracy and Technology critiques both the US State Department’s Internet Freedom agenda and the mainstream media’s response to it, arguing for a more sophisticated understanding of the limitations of technical “fixes” and a focus on policy advocacy at home and abroad.

How should internet and phone companies respond in Egypt?
This blog post from the Institute for Human Rights and Business outlines steps Vodafone should have considered taking before submitting to pressure from the Egyptian authorities to shut down their mobile network at the beginning of the protests in Egypt.

India and Europe trading away access to medicines
This OSF blog post outlines the worrying implications of the free trade agreement (FTA) currently being negotiated between the EU and India: “If, as reports indicate, EU negotiators succeed in pressuring India to beef up intellectual property protection at the expense of public access rights for life-saving drugs, the FTA would seriously undercut India’s ability to produce generic, low-cost drugs, with detrimental effects on access to medicines for the developing world.”

Report: Mobile services in poor countries
This Economist report provides a useful overview of “more-than-voice” services being taken up by mobile users in the developing world, including applications to fight counterfeit medicines, track agricultural goods or provide financial services to the poor.

Report: Conficker, collaboration and the accelerated pace of cyber threats
This report into the security community’s ad-hoc collaborative effort to neutralise the Conficker computer worm concludes that “the number, scope, and sophistication of cyber threats are increasing more rapidly than the number of people vetted within the cybersecurity community capable of fighting them”.

Five books: The philosophy of technology
Evgeny Morozov picks the defining literature of the philosophy of technology for The Browser’s Five Books series, and argues that “philosophers of technology completely missed the train on the internet”.

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