March 11, 2009 4:01 PM PDT
by Charles Cooper
‘The Internet represents freedom, but not everywhere.’
So begins the annual ‘Internet Enemies’ report by Reporters Without Borders–and that’s probably the cheeriest line in the entire 39-page document. It goes down from there.
For the uninitiated, Reporters Without Borders is an anti-censorship watchdog organization. As blogs and news Web sites have grown in popularity, the group’s focus has similarly migrated to the Internet. Unfortunately, the report again paints a grim picture of Internet freedoms in parts of the world where it says the authorities regularly chuck bloggers in jail for online posts that displease the regime.
Here’s the all-star team:
‘Internet monitored and controlled, even in democracies’
After joint appeal with Amnesty International for an end to online censorship, Reporters Without Borders issues report on ‘Enemies of the Internet’
(PNG) Reporters Without Borders today issued a report entitled ‘Enemies of the Internet’ in which it examines Internet censorship and other threats to online free expression in 22 countries.
‘The 12 ‘Enemies of the Internet’ – Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam – have all transformed their Internet into an Intranet in order to prevent their population from accessing ‘undesirable’ online information,’ Reporters Without Borders said.
‘All these countries distinguish themselves not only by their ability to censor online news and information but also by their virtually systematic persecution of troublesome Internet users,’ the press freedom organisation said. Reporters Without Borders has placed 10 other governments ‘under surveillance’ for adopting worrying measures that could open the way to abuses. The organisation draws particular attention to Australia and South Korea, where recent measures may endanger online free expression.
‘Not only is the Internet more and more controlled, but new forms of censorship are emerging based on the manipulation of information,’ Reporters Without Borders said. ‘Orchestrating the posting of comments on popular websites or organising hacker attacks is also used by repressive regimes to scramble or jam online content.’
A total of 70 cyber-dissidents are currently detained because of what they posted online. China is the world’s biggest prison for cyber-dissidents, followed by Vietnam and Iran.
Negative government measures to counter online radicalisation are crude, costly and counter-productive, says a report released yesterday – if it’s serious about the issue, it needs to harness the positive.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
Google ad service raises privacy fears: “Google knows more about you than any organisation in human history. It can
give you a bird’s eye view of your house, allow friends and family to track
your every move through their mobile phones, and through its search engine –
knows your likes, dislikes and even your vices.”
Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee wants ban on snooping on internet users: “The creator of the worldwide web warned today against the collection of users’
data by commercial organisations.”
‘Ceaseless liability’ for internet libel is not a barrier to free speech, rules ECHR: “Publishers’ indefinite liability for defamatory material in their online archives is not a restriction on their rights to free speech, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled. The decision backs a 160-year-old rule of English law.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)