Reporters without Borders name “Enemies of the Internet”

Bahrain and Belarus have been added to Reporters Without Borders’ annual list of “enemies of the internet” They join 10 other nations on the campaign group’s register of states that restrict net access, filter content and imprison bloggers.

India and Kazakhstan have also joined RWB’s list of “countries under surveillance” because of concerns that they are becoming more repressive. The body says 2011 was the “deadliest year” yet for so-called “netizens”. It says at least 199 arrests of internet campaigners were recorded over the year – a 31% increase on 2010. It adds that China, followed by Vietnam and Iran currently hold the largest number of netizens in jail.

Enemies of the Internet

“Enemies of the internet”

 

  • Bahrain
  • Belarus
  • Burma
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Bahrain’s government expressed a number of concerns about the report, which it said failed to “present the reality of the situation” there.

Several positive steps had been taken towards reforming the media sector since the publication of a report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) into last year’s crackdown on anti-government protests, it said, including relaxing censorship and increasing the range of political opinions in the media.

In Belarus, the campaign group says, President Alexander Lukashenko’s government has increased the number of blocked websites and arrested some bloggers while inviting others to “preventative conversations” with the police during which they are pressured not to cover protests.

It says the regime has also used Twitter to send messages designed to intimidate demonstrators. It adds that the country’s main internet service provider has diverted users to sites containing malware when they tried to log into the Vkontakte social network.

Elsewhere RWB accuses China and Syria of hiring bloggers to troll sites containing posts from cyber-dissidents, and then flood the pages with messages supporting the governments.

It raises concern that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced plans to create a “clean” web with its own search engine and messaging service, and says Vietnam has attacked Catholic networks and campaigners trying to raise awareness about environmentally damaging bauxite mines.

From a BBC report

Locking up cyberspace in Pakistan

Bytesforall says this: The Government of Pakistan has repeatedly exhibited the obsession to lock up the Pakistani cyberspace at every given chance. The reasons for doing so are myriad and diverse, but mostly, they revolve around the same unjustifiable excuses like upholding national security, war on terror and/or religious morality. In order to do these, the government continuously impose and compromise citizen’s fundamental rights including freedom of expression, opinion and access to information hampering all socio-economic activities connected with the Internet. In an under-developed country like Pakistan this becomes the sheer wastage of resources and tax payers’ hard earned money. Unfortunately, there are no legal protections available for citizens or any mechanisms to regulate such actions by the Government & civil society’s engagement for transparency and accountability.

In a recent development, on 23 February 2012, the National ICT R&D Fund has placed an advertisement in the press, calling relevant national and international service providers, companies to submit proposals “for the development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System”.

Little words are required to describe the magnitude of this disastrous move if it gets implemented. Quoting one requirement from the National ICT R&D Fund website, “Each box should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds” shows that what kind of capacity Government is planning to acquire for filtering the Internet content in Pakistan. Most interestingly, this filtering will be governed by one very vague terminology that is ‘undesirable content’.

Read more at bytesforall

 

Government of India to have DIRECT Access to all your phone conversations

Secure tapping mechanism ready

Soon the Centre would have direct access to all your telephone conversations as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has developed capabilities to intercept phones without keeping your operator in the loop. Currently, trials are on in Delhi and Haryana through a main server established in the national capital. It would take another 12 months before the system is officially operational.

Government of India, at the highest level decided to set up a Central Monitoring System (CMS) to tap calls without the interference of telecom service providers. Subsequently, the DoT’s Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TREM) Cell along with the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) was asked to develop the project for which Rs.170 crore was earmarked. After almost one year, the CMS is ready and being tested.

Exclusive facility

“This is the DoT’s exclusive facility that would assist intelligence and security agencies, besides strategic government departments in phone-tapping,” a senior DoT official said. …

Complex system

The present system of phone-tapping is a complex one as eight intelligence and investigating agencies wanting to snoop on anybody’s phone are required to approach the Union Home Ministry for clearance with specific reasons. Armed with necessary clearances, the department officials would then approach the telecom operators for tapping phones. … However, in the new mechanism, the DoT will have total control of a tapped line, giving telecom firms no access to the intercepted line.

Another important aspect of the new centralised system is that irrespective of operators, lines would be tapped at one location, which will be manned round-the-clock by officials of the government agencies.

from The Hindu

 

 

Cameras May Open Up the Board Rooms for evesdropping

This is a New York Times article published on January 23, 2011 with the title “Cameras May Open Up the Board Room to Hackers” by Nicole Perlroth:

Mike Tuchen and HD Moore of Rapid 7
Mike Tuchen, left, and H D Moore of Rapid 7 were able to gain access to company boardrooms with videoconferencing equipment.

One afternoon this month in San Francisco, a hacker took a tour of a dozen conference rooms around the globe via equipment that most every company has in those rooms; videoconferencing equipment.

With the move of a mouse, he steered a camera around each room, occasionally zooming in with such precision that he could discern grooves in the wood and paint flecks on the wall. In one room, he zoomed out through a window, across a parking lot and into shrubbery some 50 yards away where a small animal could be seen burrowing underneath a bush. With such equipment, the hacker could have easily eavesdropped on privileged attorney-client conversations or read trade secrets on a report lying on the conference room table.

A company boardroom viewed via videoconferencing equipment from Rapid 7’s offices.

In this case, the hacker was H D Moore, a chief security officer at Rapid 7, a Boston based company that looks for security holes in computer systems that are used in devices like toaster ovens and Mars landing equipment. His latest find: videoconferencing equipment is often left vulnerable to hackers.

Businesses collectively spend billions of dollars each year beefing up security on their computer systems and employee laptops. They agonize over the confidential information that employees send to their Gmail and Dropbox accounts and store on their iPads and smartphones. But rarely do they give much thought to the ease with which anyone can penetrate a videoconference room where their most guarded trade secrets are openly discussed.

Mr. Moore has found it easy to get into several top venture capital and law firms, pharmaceutical and oil companies and courtrooms across the country.

He even found a path into the Goldman Sachs boardroom. “The entry bar has fallen to the floor,” said Mike Tuchen, chief executive of Rapid 7. “These are [highlight_1] some of the world’s most important boardrooms [/highlight_1] — this is where their most critical meetings take place — and [highlight_1] there could be silent attendees in all of them[/highlight_1].”

Read more in the New York Times

 

India to block social networking sites “like China”?

The Delhi High Court on Thursday warned social networking site Facebook India and search engine Google India that websites can be “blocked” like in China if they fail to devise a mechanism to check and remove objectionable material from their web pages.

“Like China, we will block all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait said while asking counsel for Facebook and Google India to develop a mechanism to keep a check on and remove “offensive and objectionable” material from their web pages.

The two companies had moved the High Court seeking a stay on summons issued to them by a Delhi trial court that is hearing a private criminal complaint against them. Justice Kait did not stay the proceedings against the two websites before the magistrate’s court. The case comes up for hearing at the lower court today.

Former Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Google India, said the postings of “obscene, objectionable and defamatory” articles and other things cannot be “filtered” or “monitored”.

“No human interference is possible, and moreover, it can’t be feasible to check such incidents. Billions of people across the globe, post their articles on the website. Yes, they may be defamatory, obscene but cannot be checked,” Mr Rohatgi said.

He tried to distinguish between Google India and its US-based holding company Google Inc. “The US-based Google Inc is the service provider and not me (Google India) and hence, we are not liable for the action of my holding company. Moreover, it is a criminal case where a vicarious liability can be fastened on a company which has no role, whatsoever, in the alleged offence,” the lawyer argued.

Citing provisions of the Information Technology Act, the counsel for Google India said these websites are protected by the law in respect of such “objectionable” material so far as they are not the authors. The websites, he said, may lose that legal protection if they either modify or monitor an article or comments or fail to deal with the complaints of an affected person or the government on such issues.

More at http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/can-block-websites-like-china-delhi-high-court-warns-facebook-google-166383

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