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Facebook takes fresh step to open up users’ personal details

“Facebook is planning to make users’ addresses and mobile phone numbers available to apps that people use on the site, although it says it would require users to give explicit permission for it to happen.

The company reiterated its plan to go ahead with opening up users’ personal details, which was first revealed in a blogpost on its Developer blog in January — opaquely entitled “Platform Updates: New User Object fields, Edge.remove Event and More” — but suspended three days later in the face of angry responses from privacy advocates.”

From The Guardian

Blogger becomes latest victim of Turkish Internet bans

“A spat over rights to broadcast Turkish football matches has led a local court to issue a blanket ban on the popular blogging platform Blogger, angering Turkish Internet users with what experts said was a disproportionate response.

The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır banned the website, a property of Google Inc., in response to a complaint by the satellite television provider Digiturk, which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games. Matches broadcast on Digiturk’s Lig TV channel had been illegally posted by several Blogger users on their blogs.

“The [impact of the decision] will be censorship, although it might not have been the court decision’s final purpose,” said Ergürel of the Media Association.”

From Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

In Social Media Postings, a Trove for Investigators

“As Twitter, Facebook and other forms of public electronic communication embed themselves in people’s lives, the postings, rants and messages that appear online are emerging as a new trove for the police and prosecutors to sift through after crimes. Such sites are often the first place they go.

Though social media postings have emerged only recently as an element of prosecutions, those in the legal arena are fast learning that Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can help to pin down the whereabouts of suspects and shed light on motives.

Online postings can help prosecutors establish a level of intent, or even premeditation, in sometimes crucial components of crimes.”

From The New York Times

Libyan rebels improve net access

“Net access in Libya is improving in areas under the control of protesters, suggests analysis of data flows. The Libyan authorities have sporadically cut net access in the country but analysis by net firms suggest their hold is loosening.

In areas that are no longer under control of the Libyan government, such as Benghazi, net traffic has risen in recent days.

Since the government started blocking internet access on 18 February, net access in Libya has been running at about 60-80% of its normal levels ; however, the amount of net traffic flowing in and out of the country appears to be growing.”

From BBC News

Saudi Government monitoring Internet to stifle protests

“Democracy activists in Saudi Arabia say the government is closely monitoring social media to nip in the bud any protests inspired by uprisings that swept Arab countries, toppling leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Activists have set up Facebook pages calling for protests on March 11 and 20, with more than 17,000 supporters combined, but police managed to stifle two attempts to hold protests in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month.

In one case, between 30 and 50 people were detained by police when they gathered on the street, witnesses said. In the second, security forces flooded the location of a protest advertised on Facebook, scaring off protesters.”

From The Globe and Mail

The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world

“As commentators have tried to imagine the nature of the uprisings, they have attempted to cast them as many things: as an Arab version of the eastern European revolutions of 1989 or something akin to the Iranian revolution that toppled the Shah in 1979. Most often, though, they have tried to conceive them through the media that informed them – as the result of WikiLeaks, as “Twitter revolutions” or inspired by Facebook.

Precisely how we communicate in these moments of historic crisis and transformation is important. The medium that carries the message shapes and defines as well as the message itself. The instantaneous nature of how social media communicate self-broadcast ideas, unlimited by publication deadlines and broadcast news slots, explains in part the speed at which these revolutions have unravelled, their almost viral spread across a region. It explains, too, the often loose and non-hierarchical organisation of the protest movements unconsciously modelled on the networks of the web.”

From The Guardian

LinkedIn site disrupted in protest-wary China

“Access to the networking site LinkedIn was disrupted in China on Thursday, following online calls on other sites for gatherings inspired by protests against authoritarian regimes across the Middle East.

It was not immediately clear whether the blockage on domestic Chinese Internet lines of LinkedIn, one of the few foreign networking sites not previously blocked by Beijing, was due to state censorship.”

From Reuters Africa

Hundreds back Facebook call for Saudi protest

“Hundreds of people have backed a Facebook campaign calling for a “day of rage” across Saudi Arabia next month to demand an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and release of political prisoners.

Arab uprisings which overthrew leaders in Tunisia and Egypt were mobilized by youths using social media, but activists in Saudi Arabia say a recent Internet call for a demonstration in Riyadh failed to bring anyone onto the streets.”

From The Globe and Mail

Libya faces internet blackouts amid protests

“Libya is the latest North African country to experience internet trouble as democratic protests continue to sweep the region.

The massive Saharan country, long controlled by the dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has suffered “rolling blackouts” of its internet connections during the regime’s ongoing violent crackdown on protestors, according to the internet traffic monitor Renesys.

The cause of these internet service cuts, however, remains uncertain. Possibilities include a government crackdown, an internet traffic overload or simple power outages, said Jim Cowie, Renesys’ co-founder.”

From CNN

Internet censored, media gagged in Iran to sabotage pro-democracy protests

“In an expected repeat of the January internet and electronic communication blockade in Egypt, Iranian authorities have begun censorship by disrupting mobile phone services and slowing down broadband speed in the major cities.

Following the outbreak of the Opposition-fueled pro-democracy demonstrations in Tehran, pro-opposition websites have been blocked. The anti-government movement began in Iran on Monday, when thousands of supporters of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi took to the streets.

The anti-government dissidents have also been forced to compromise on electronic communication as mobile-phone and text message services stand disrupted.”

From International Business Times