CAT | Censorship
India recently announced that all ISPs in the country will be required to block a list of over 800 websites. They claim all of these were for pornography or child pornography, but it turns out that was not the case for all of them. In the face of a massive backlash, the telecom ministry first said this was no big deal because people could use VPN services to bypass the censorship. They later down entirely. (more…)
The Chaos Computer Club recently announced that their website was being blocked by Vodefone as part of their participation in the “Great Firewall of Britain”. This is somewhat concerning as they don’t seem to match any of the criteria for blocking that have been announced. This also blocks access to information and tickets for their upcoming conference. Many people predicted (me, EFF, and many others) that this censorship system would inevitable overreach when it was first announced. (more…)
On September 24, the Russian Duma passed a bill moving the date on which all Internet services must host local data locally from Sept 1, 2016 to Jan 1, 2015. That is an effectively impossible timeline for international Internet companies, which is probably the whole point.
While the bill has not been finally passed, the remaining steps are mostly formality.
Russia is suggesting that foreign firms could rent infrastructure, if they will have no time to build, giving Russia even stronger leverage.
A Brazilian court is enforcing a constitutional ban on anonymity by requiring Apple and Google to remove Secret, an anonymous social network chatting app from their app stores. Microsoft is being required to remove Cryptic, a similar windows phone app.
In addition to that, they have been ordered to remove the app from the phones of all users who have installed it. These kinds of retroactive orders to have companies intrusively modify the contents of all of their customer’s devices are concerning. At least these apps are free, if users had paid for them, that would introduce another complication.
One wonders how this will apply to tourists or business travelers visiting Brazil. Will their phones be impacted as well?
The law exists to allow victims of libel or slander to identify and confront their those speakers.
While this ruling only applies to Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and only with respect to the Secret and Cryptic apps, the underlying principle extends much further. There are still final rulings to come, so this is not the last word on this situation.
Anonymizer has had a great many Brazilian customers for many years. Anonymizer provides those users important protections which are well established in international human rights law. We certainly hope that they will continue to be allowed to use our services.
Multiple sources are reporting that Google services are once again available in China. They had been blocked in the lead up to the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests.
- A decision giving Canadians more rights to Anonymity
- Iraq’s recent blocking of social media and more
- Iran’s outright criminalization of social media
- A court decision requiring warrants to access cell tower location data
- Another court stating that irrelevant seized data needs to be deleted after searches
- A massive failure of data anonymization in New York City
- A court requiring a defendant to decrypt his files so they can be searched
- The Supreme Court ruling protecting cellphones from warrantless search.
- Phone tracking streetlights in Chicago
- And a small change for iPhones bringing big privacy benefits
If this is real, it is an interesting view into the specifics of Internet censorship in Iraq. I find “Block all access to VPN in all Iraq from 4 pm until 7 am on daily basis” particularly interesting.
Just trying to prevent attack coordination at night?
Iran has taken the next step beyond censorship to criminalize the use of social media, particularly Facebook.
Iran has long had one of the most strict and effective Internet censorship regimes, but still huge numbers of Iranians were able to skirt the blocking to access social media websites, generally under false names. Actually criminalizing the activity adds a huge chilling effect to those striving for free access to information and speech. Using Facebook is now not just difficult, but also dangerous.
Obviously it is unlikely that someone positing positive messages about Iran, or the mullahs, would be prosecuted. This is a big stick that can be swung at dissidents and any opposition.
Ironically many within the government, including president Hassan Rouhani, have and actively use Facebook and Twitter. Hypocrisy is never lacking in repressive governments.
Many sources are reporting that most major social networks are being blocked in Iraq.
It is generally assumed that this is being done to prevent use of these tools for organization and propaganda by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). I am not seeing reports of blocking VPNs and other censorship circumvention tools. We are actively monitoring Anonymizer for any evidence of such activity.
Several days after the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled the blocking of YouTube to be unconstitutional, it looks like the block has been removed.
YouTube said that they are getting reports from users that they are once again able to access the site. YouTube was blocked since May 2008.