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Microsoft becomes Chinese censors’ best friend with Baidu search deal

Source: Preston Gralla, Computer World

Microsoft’s upcoming deal with Chinese search firm Baidu to have Bing power English-powered search in China may add some revenue to Microsoft’s bottom line — but it makes Microsoft a willing partner in abetting China’s strict Internet censorship. The deal is wrong and Microsoft should abandon it.

Baidu has 80% of the search engine market in China, IDG reports, and adds that “Better English-language results through Bing may boost its share even higher.”

Exact terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. But one thing is certain: Microsoft will continue to censor search results for the authoritarian regime as part of the arrangement.

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U.S. Can’t Find Iran’s Spy-Tech Suppliers

Source: Adam Rawnsly, Wired

Want to know which companies are playing a double game of doing business with America and selling spy gear to Iran? Well, so would the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm. They just released a report saying they can’t find any examples. But don’t take comfort in the absence of suspects. The reason might just be because Iran is getting pretty good at building its own snoop tech and buying it covertly.

In 2010, Congress tried to give Iranian dissidents a leg up against the mullahs behind the firewalls through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act and the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.

Sections of the laws banned any U.S. government executive agency from doing business with companies that sell “sensitive” technology to Iran that could allow them to spy on domestic telecommunications traffic.

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Thai Twitter users face prison if they tweet during election

Source: The Next Web

With the 2011 Thai General Election fast approaching, the nation is gearing up to embrace what could herald a new chapter for the country, and revitalize its democracy after more than 5 years of political crisis.

But news has emerged that Thais could face a stint in jail and a hefty fine if they’re caught commenting on any of the candidates or the parties on Twitter – or any other digital channel – in the build up to the election.

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Irish authorities asked Google to remove mystery content

Source: The Journal.ie

The Irish government asked Google to remove content from its online services in 2009, according to the company, but Google gave no details on what that content was or why it was taken down.

Data released by the Internet search engine today details which governments asked for content to be removed from the site between July 2009 and December 2010.

Google’s transparency report shows that the Irish government asked for less than ten items to be removed during the six-month period from July to December 2009 – and has not asked for anything to be taken down since. No reason was given for the 2009 requests because Google only offers a breakdown on the data when it receives ten or more requests.

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India ranks third in snooping through Google

Source: India Times

When looking for an information, internet users tend to search it on Google. And, when the government wants to snoop on people, it contacts the bosses of the US-based internet search giant.

Google, a favourite place to search information on internet, has also emerged as a favoured snooping ground for the government agencies and globally India ranks third in seeking user details from the global internet major.

In 2010 alone, Indian government made more than 3,000 requests seeking user details from Google, while it also sought removal of various content, including those defamatory in nature, in about 100 cases during the year.

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Microsoft Wins Patent For Internet Spying Technology

Source: Elizabeth Montalbano, InformationWeek

Microsoft has been granted a patent for technology that acts as a wiretap of sorts for Internet communication, allowing governments or other law-enforcement authorities to record the data without detection.

Dubbed “Legal Intercept,” using the technology means “data associated with a request to establish a communication is modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent” that silently records the data, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In other words, the technology intercepts Internet communications data so it can be recorded for the purposes of reviewing it later by, presumably, government or law-enforcement officials.

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Belarus protests fuelled by internet freedom, bad economy

Source: The Sofia Echo

Internet freedom and an economic free fall are combining for unprecedented protests in Belarus, a nation historically locked up by a Soviet-style leader.

Falling living standards are swelling protests against Alexander Lukashenko, the strongman who has long ruled Belarus through a combination of charisma and intimidation.

An opposition leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, emerged from a jail cell last month to find he had to catch up with the fast-moving Internet resistance movement.

Microsoft Wins Patent For Internet Spying Technology

Source: Elizabeth Montalbano, InformationWeek

Microsoft has been granted a patent for technology that acts as a wiretap of sorts for Internet communication, allowing governments or other law-enforcement authorities to record the data without detection.

Dubbed “Legal Intercept,” using the technology means “data associated with a request to establish a communication is modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent” that silently records the data, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In other words, the technology intercepts Internet communications data so it can be recorded for the purposes of reviewing it later by, presumably, government or law-enforcement officials.

“Sometimes, a government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications between telephone users,” Microsoft said in the filing, describing how a recording device can be placed at a central office to record communications over a traditional telephone network.

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Anonymous takes down Tunisian government site in the name of AntiSec; Calls it fight against Internet censorship

Source: Amrutha Gayathri, International Business Times

Albeit LulzSec calling it quits, the hacking saga continues. Hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility of taking down Tunisian government’s official website moments ago. The seized domain now displays text posted by Anonymous, along with a masked image that signifies the hacker collective.

The display post alleged that the Tunisian government “ignored demands from Anonymous” to withdraw from their “quest for internet censorship.” The hacking group claimed that “more and more have joined Anon, only to prove that for each fallen Anon there are many.”

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Afghani city builds its own internet

Source: Emma Woollacott, TG Daily

With internet censorship sweeping the globe, one group in Afghanistan has the answer – build your own from cheap parts and trash.

With a little outside funding from the US National Science Foundation and help from MIT’s Fab Lab, a group of Jalalabad residents has used off-the-shelf electronics and scrap parts to create a wireless ethernet network that can transmit across several miles. It now covers most of the city.

For full original article, see here