We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, ICANN, ISO and other international organizations
In recent months, a team of researchers part of Canada’s Citizen Lab have been conducting network scans of public servers in countries on almost every continent. Today, they released their findings—which appear to show that networking technology made by Blue Coat, a Silicon Valley-based company, is being used in a host of countries with questionable human rights records.
The equipment in question can serve a legitimate purpose—like filtering out spam or malware. But in the hands of an authoritarian regime it can easily be turned into a tool for monitoring users or blocking content. Citizen Lab says it found Blue Coat filtering technology capable of censorship operating in countries including Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It also found Blue Coat technology that can be used for surveillance and tracking of Web users in Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Ryan Gallagher, Slate. Report: Silicon Valley Internet Surveillance Gear Used by Authoritarian Regimes.
There is something grotesque and disturbing about two parties with a long history of conflict live-narrating the launching of bombs that kill civilians and destroy communities.
The Israeli military and Hamas are livetweeting their war, including images of killed and wounded children. This certainly raises some questions, including for the companies whose platforms they’re using.
(The linked articles notes that the Israeli army’s Twitter account was briefly suspended. However, this is based on a report in the Daily Dot that does not cite sources for its claim, so I would treat it with caution.)
The Washington Post has more, including on a Youtube video from the Israeli military that was briefly taken down but has been reinstated.
FJP: Agreeing with the next sentence: “There is no empowerment or revolution here: just a dark, sinking feeling as we watch the bloodshed unfold in real time.”
And in the things they didn’t teach you in school department, to delete the content or suspend the accounts “is not a decision a couple of hundred engineers in North California want to be making.”
Jessica Roy, BetaBeat. Social Media Companies Have Absolutely No Idea How to Handle the Gaza Conflict.
Much of the criticism of the American media during the height of the Iraq War focused on its role repeating White House talking points and propaganda. But using the tools of social media, as Israel is doing, reveals there’s no longer a need to rely a media middleman, or to filter the raw feed of war through an “embedded” — and, military officials hope, captured — journalist’s mouth or keyboard. The military can broadcast exactly what it wants to, directly to its citizens, allies, and enemies. The IDF even appropriates the language of news, prefacing several tweets with “BREAKING” — and native social media, at one point saying “in case you missed it” before pointing to a YouTube video of it killing Ahmed Jabari in a missile strike. And unlike any propaganda machine before it, it’s inherently viral. It’s designed to spread. So the IDF spokesperson provides posters and YouTube videos and a constantly updated Flickr account; they’re more shareable than plain text. Its tweets are a mixture of documentation, saber rattling, sober reminders of the reality of war, and upbeat updates on the advanced state of its technology. All delivered direct to you. Please RT…
…Most importantly, though, consider this: A country can declare that it is at war with Twitter. If that doesn’t make the internet real, I don’t know what does.
The internet helped to speed up things. But the revolution would have taken place without it.
Hossam al-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger at 3arabawy.
Memeburn reports that 200 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa are gathering in Tunis to discuss the role online activism and social media has in political change.
According to event organiser and administrator of Tunisian site Nawaat, Malek Khadroui, the bloggers will focus on the role of cyberactivists in a period of political transition.
“It is an exceptional meeting. There have been three Arab revolutions and the majority of the invited bloggers have been involved in these revolutions, which will allow them to meet and develop solidarity networks,” he said.
We will reflect together on new challenges facing movements in countries like Syria, Bahrain, Yemen,” Khadraoui added, underlining the symbolism of holding the meeting in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
One topic which the bloggers will focus on is their continuing role in political life. This is particularly relevant to seven of the Tunisian bloggers who are candidates in the upcoming constituent assembly elections.
Survey respondents, when asked about the actual incidence of problems related to online activity, reported a remarkably high level of incidents and attacks stemming from their online activities. One third of respondents reported personal threats. One fifth reported that one or more of their online accounts had been hacked. One in seven unwillingly had their online identify exposed. Nine percent of respondents had been arrested or detained.
In a survey of 98 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa, researchers from Harvard’s Berkman Center explore issues of online security and perceptions of risk as the bloggers write about social and political issues in their respective countries.
The bloggers chosen for the survey were those that had been cited by Global Voices Online, an international news and citizen media aggregator. The survey was conducted in May 2011.
The report’s authors note a caveat in their findings:
The unusual sample populated by reform-minded bloggers and the timing of the survey — following a period of intense online activism and government attempts to quell this activity—contribute to these high figures. This makes it impossible to extrapolate to other populations and regions. Nevertheless, these reported figures are astounding from our perspective and highlight the vital importance of security concerns for online activists. As we anticipated, the respondents report a mix of cyber attacks and offline responses to their online activities.