The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

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India thumbs down

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…)

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CCC Censored

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…)

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Russia whitehouse gate

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.

My original post on the law was back in July, and I talked about other Russian Internet control and censorship activity here.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Sauron-BrazilA 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.

Brazil Court Issues Injunction Against Secret And Calls For App To Be Remotely Wiped | TechCrunch

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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China open gate

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.

Access to Google services within China returns | Reuters

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Iraq Telecom Ministry Orders ISPs: Kill The Internet in Five Provinces | SMEX: Channeling Advocacy

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?

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Jun/14

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Iran criminalizes Facebook

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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.

Iran makes accessing Facebook a crime | VentureBeat | Social | by Richard Byrne Reilly

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Iraq flag map

Iraq Crisis: Twitter, Google, YouTube and Facebook Blocked by Government to Stop Isis Plotting

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.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Jun/14

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YouTube unblocked by Turkey

Turkey-map-flag.jpgTurkey lifts its ban on YouTube-agency | Reuters

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.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Google IllegalFlowerTribute1

In anticipation of possible protests in memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre 25 years ago, China has blocked access to Google search and Gmail. The censorship has been in place for a few days now, suggesting that this may be more than a short term action.

China has long blocked access to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and services which would circumvent the blocking, like Anonymizer.

Google search, and Gmail are both popular in China. It will be interesting to see if this actually draws attention to the anniversary, rather than diffusing it.

The image with this post is from 2010 when Google moved out of their China offices to avoid government control. (via Wikipedia)

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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