UN Report on Freedom of Expression Bashes G8, ACTA, Hadopi.

A report on Internet policy by the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of freedom of opinion and expression will be presented today. The report’s guidelines aimed at protecting fundamental freedoms clash radically with the course set by governments of the G8. This report will be essential to help citizens hold their governments accountable for policies undermining online freedoms.

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U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right

A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law.

The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest (.pdf).
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Syrian Internet Shutdown

Starting at 3:35 UTC today (6:35am local time), approximately two-thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the global Internet. Over the course of roughly half an hour, the routes to 40 of 59 networks were withdrawn from the global routing table.

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Chinese hackers steal Gmail passwords: Google

Hackers in China reportedly launched clandestine attacks against users of Google’s Gmail service intending to steal their passwords and monitor their emails.

The company reported in a blog post the targets of these attacks (among others) were senior government officials in the United States, Chinese activists, officials in several Asian countries, military officials and journalists, the New York Times reported.

Rafal Rohozinski, a network security specialist at the SecDev Group in Ottawa, told the Times it’s impossible to lay blame on the Chinese government for the intrusion with any certainty. Because the internet is borderless by nature, it’s easy for intruders to mask their identities by connecting through a series of proxy servers.

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Mideast Uses Western Tools to Battle the Skype Rebellion

“When young dissidents in Egypt were organizing an election-monitoring project last fall, they discussed their plans over Skype, the popular Internet phone service, believing it to be secure.

Skype, which Microsoft Corp. is acquiring for $8.5 billion, is best known as a cheap way to make international phone calls. But the Luxembourg-based service also is the communications tool of choice for dissidents around the world because its powerful encryption technology evades traditional wiretaps

But someone else was listening in—Egypt’s security service.

The Journal investigates the business of censorship and the use of Western technology by governments facing social unrest.”

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Thailand charges US citizen with insulting royals

“A US citizen has been charged in Thailand with insulting the monarchy after he posted material deemed offensive on his blog and put a link to a banned book, authorities said Friday.

Thai-born Lerpong Wichaikhammat, 54, was arrested on Tuesday in Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeast Thailand and is currently being held at Bangkok Remand Prison.

“He translated articles which are deemed insulting to the monarchy and posted them on his blog. Also he provided a link to a book” perceived as critical of the royal family, said police Lieutenant Colonel Kovit Tardmee.”

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China Censors Web Curb Inner Mongolia Protests

“China is blocking mention of Inner Mongolia on Chinese microblogs and social networking sites, as part of an effort to clamp down on protests that broke out last week in the region.

Two of the most popular microblog services operating in China no longer allow users to search for the term “Inner Mongolia.” Sina’s and Tencent’s microblogs have 140 million and 160 million users, respectively.”

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Iran Vows to Unplug Internet

“Iran is taking steps toward an aggressive new form of censorship: a so-called national Internet that could, in effect, disconnect Iranian cyberspace from the rest of the world.

The leadership in Iran sees the project as a way to end the fight for control of the Internet, according to observers of Iranian policy inside and outside the country. Iran, already among the most sophisticated nations in online censoring, also promotes its national Internet as a cost-saving measure for consumers and as a way to uphold Islamic moral codes.

In February, as pro-democracy protests spread rapidly across the Middle East and North Africa, Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry’s research institute, told an Iranian news agency that soon 60% of the nation’s homes and businesses would be on the new, internal network. Within two years it would extend to the entire country, he said.”

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Re-cap of the e-G8

This week the G8’s French presidency hosted the first e-G8 summit which brought digital leaders to the table with the G8 leaders where they discussed the future of the Web (see last week’s IWM blogpost where we laid out civil society concerns leading up to the summit). Plenary topics included “The Internet & Economic Growth,” “The Internet & Society,” “Future Net: What’s Next?” and “Intellectual Property and the Culture Economy in the Digital Age,” Fostering Innovation:How to build the future,” and “Digital Transformation: Reinventing traditional businesses,” followed by a number of workshops.

The e-G8 can be summarized by intra-government differences, intra-industry differences, and deep divisions between governments and industry. This is reflected in the final G8 Deauville communiquewhere as Reuters points out—the section on the Internet failed to produce any specific and concrete proposals for policies.

Sen. Wyden blocks Internet censorship bill – PROTECT IP Act Continue reading on Examiner.com Sen. Wyden blocks Internet censorship bill – PROTECT IP Act

Thursday Oregon Senator Ron Wyden placed a hold on the controversial PROTECT IP Act, a bill many fear would open the door to Internet censorship.

The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, (PROTECT IP Act) is meant to protect intellectual property and combat copy right infringement. However, in so doing, the bill would give the U.S. federal government unprecedented power to force ISPs and search engines to block websites they believe to be infringing on copyright and intellectual property laws without due process.

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