India: Plans for government control of the ‘net dropped
.NXT reports that India has dropped its plans to create a new United Nations body that would oversee the Internet. The plans, which were put forward at last year’s Internet Governance Forum, involved the creation of a new body to “oversee all internet standards bodies and policy organisations, negotiate internet-related treaties, and act as an arbitrator in internet-related disputes”.
Pakistan: Companies respond to call for boycott of government censorship tender
Following calls from local human rights groups to boycott a tender issued by Pakistan’s telecommunication authorities for a new web filtering system, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) reports that McAfee, Websense, Cisco, Sandvine, and Verizon have all indicated they will not be making bids. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is tracking which companies are responding to calls for a boycott, and which remain silent.
CDT | Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
Germany: Extent of police email monitoring revealed
Global Voices reports on a story that broke in Germany last month concerning over-zealous surveillance of citizens’ emails: “More than 37 million emails containing particular search terms related to terrorism, smuggling and proliferation were reported to have been filtered out and examined”.
UK: cyber attack on BBC linked to Iran
The Director General of the BBC, the UK’s public service media organisation, has claimed this week that his organisation has been exposed to “sophisticated cyber attacks” he suspects to have originated in Iran.
Denmark: Police censor Google, Facebook and 8,000 other sites by accident
TorrentFreak reports that what authorities have called a “human error” on the part of the Danish police resulted in over 8,000 websites being completely blocked last week for several hours.
Burma: Government sponsors BarCamp
The Economist publishes a short report on a geek get-together, or “BarCamp”, which took place in Yangon, Burma last month, which was sponsored partly by the country’s telecommunications ministry and which was addressed by Aung San Suu Kyi: “Myanmar’s government continues to surprise the world with its new-found tolerance for change. Its apparent willingness to nurture a fledgling IT sector is no exception.”
US: New York State set to add all convict DNA to its database
The New York Times reports that “New York is poised to establish one of the most expansive DNA databases in the nation, requiring people convicted of everything from fare beating to first-degree murder to provide samples of their DNA to the state”. The Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative blog accuses the legislator responsible for championing the move of trading citizens’ civil rights for corporate profit, and points out that there is no evidence to suggest an expanded database will keep the residents of New York State any safer.
Report | Analysis
Latin America: Parliamentary Power to the People
Together with the Latin America Program, the Information Program launched a new report last week, written by Greg Michener, which investigates the online and offline strategies of parliamentary monitoring organisations in Latin America. The paper builds on a report written by Andrew Mandelbaum and published by the National Democratic Institute and the World Bank last year.
Africa’s ICT entrepreneurs: On the brink of the long Summer of Love
Russell Southwood details the reasons he’s optimistic for future African technological innovation in this feature for his telecoms site, Balancing-Africa.com.
Watching over you: the perils of Deep Packet Inspection
This informative feature for counterpunch looks at the growing popularity of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), a technique for monitoring internet traffic, and charts its ramifications for privacy, fere expression, and net neutrality.
Meet the cynical Western companies helping the Syrian regime
In this special report, The New Republic charts how activists from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Privacy International are moving forward their campaigns against Western technology companies who export surveillance and censorship equipment to repressive regimes.
“Fighting war crimes, without leaving the couch?”
Major parts of the web were dominated this week by discussion of a video campaign (#kony2012) to raise awareness of child soldiers in Uganda that went viral. The New York Times reports on the story, while Zeynep Tufecki advises commentators to ditch the word “slacktivism” if they really want to understand what’s going on. Communicopia use the news as an opportunity to outline “Why your non-profit won’t make a KONY 2012”, and Ethan Zuckerman summarises Gilad Lotan’s analysis of how links to the video spread on Twitter: “this level of mobilisation is literally unprecedented, and extremely worthy of our attention and study”.
Report | Tufecki | Communicopia | Zuckerman/Lotan
Why has the internet changed so little?
This provocative speech, delivered by Goldsmiths Professor of Communications James Curran last December, and republished by openDemocracy.net last week, has sparked a fresh debate on whether the internet has lived up to its promise to transform society for the better.
Tracking corruption in global telecommunications
TechCentral spotlight the work of Ewan Sutherland, visiting adjunct professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, in exposing the corruption he says is rife in global telecommunications regulation.
Book: Information Graphics
BoingBoing.net highlight a forthcoming book, published by Taschen, which explores the visual communication of data.
Video: Join the TOR Network!
Tactical Tech have released a video encouraging people to join the Tor network, a voluteer-led system that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the internet.