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Libyans hope their revolution will also be tweeted

“Opposition to Muammar Gaddafi was inconceivable in Libya for four decades. But that was before the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings embraced the power of the Internet. Now Libyans are hoping their revolution will also be tweeted.

This week, the video-sharing Web site YouTube was inundated by amateur footage of violent anti-government protests that rocked the second-largest city of Benghazi Tuesday.

The footage was picked up by major international news organisations and a multitude of Twitter users and Facebook pages as Libyan opposition groups prepared for Thursday’s “Day of Rage”.”

From France24

US launching Chinese, Russian, Hindi Twitter feeds

“WASHINGTON — Just days after launching Twitter feeds in Arabic and Farsi to communicate directly with people in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday that the State Department would begin sending messages in Chinese, Russian and Hindi.

Clinton, in a speech on Internet freedom at George Washington University here, said the United States is “committed to continuing our conversation with people around the world.”

Clinton singled out China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Syria and Vietnam as countries which practice censorship or restrict access to the Internet.”

From AFP

China faces Internet ‘dictator’s dilemma,’ says Clinton

“China, Syria and others face a “dictator’s dilemma” over Internet control and risk being left behind as the rest of the world embraces new technologies, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Clinton, making her second major speech on Internet policy, said the recent Internet-fuelled toppling of rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and protests in Iran, showed governments could not long pick and choose which freedoms to grant their citizens.

“We believe that governments who have erected barriers to Internet freedom – whether they’re technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online – will eventually find themselves boxed in,” Clinton said in a speech at a Washington, D.C. university.”

From The Globe and Mail

Attacks on the Press 2010: Internet Analysis

“For the past decade, those who used the Internet to report the news might have assumed that the technological edge was in their favor. But online journalists now face more than just the standard risks to those working in dangerous conditions. They find themselves victims of new attacks unique to the new medium.

Ronald Deibert and Nart Villeneuve of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, in partnership with computer security consultants at the SecDev Group, have conducted some of the most detailed postmortems of online attacks on the press, including the malware sent to Chinese foreign correspondents, and a forthcoming examination of Burma’s DDOS incidents. Their academic work firmly states that they cannot connect such events directly to the Chinese or Burmese states. Deibert says the evidence they have collected does show, however, that both attacks utilized techniques and strategies common to petty cyber-criminals, including individual “hackers” who work simply for the thrill of bringing down a highly visible, but vulnerable target.”

From Committee to Protect Journalists

Facebook Officials Keep Quiet on Its Role in Revolts

“With Facebook playing a starring role in the revolts that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, you might think the company’s top executives would use this historic moment to highlight its role as the platform for democratic change. Instead, they really do not want to talk about it.

The social media giant finds itself under countervailing pressures after the uprisings in the Middle East. While it has become one of the primary tools for activists to mobilize protests and share information, Facebook does not want to be seen as picking sides for fear that some countries — like Syria, where it just gained a foothold — would impose restrictions on its use or more closely monitor users, according to some company executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal business.”

From The New York Times

Gaddafi warns against use of Facebook, activists arrested

“On 13 February 2011, ANHRI condemned the latest move by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as he warned against the use of the social networking site Facebook.

Many Libyan Internet activists have declared their support for the pro-democracy movement and change in Egypt, which turned into a revolution, and have created groups on Facebook to call for political and economic reforms in Libya. The Libyan dictator’s security forces have arrested several of these Internet activists.”

From International Freedom of Expression Exchange

U.S. Policy to Address Internet Freedom

“Days after Facebook and Twitter added fuel to a revolt in Egypt, the Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Internet freedom, designed to help people get around barriers in cyberspace while making it harder for autocratic governments to use the same technology to repress dissent.

Ron Deibert, the director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said that governments had been shifting from blocking the Internet to hacking and disabling it. Even in the United States, he noted, the Senate is considering a bill that would allow the president to switch off the Internet in the event of a catastrophic cyberattack.”

From The New York Times

Syria and Facebook: Not quite friends

“Yesterday, less than a week after activists held a candlelight vigil in Damascus to show solidarity with protesters in Egypt, Syria’s authoritarian government ended a national ban on Facebook and YouTube.

But the jury is out on whether the move by Bashar al-Assad’s government was a legitimate effort to permit greater freedom of expression, a PR stunt or, worse, a means to monitor expressions of unrest.”

From The Washington Post

Sudan Dictator: I’ll Use Facebook to Crush Opposition!

“After Tunisia and Egypt, most Mideastern strongmen worry that social media will help their subjects dislodge them from power. One of them wants it to help him hang in there.

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, isn’t known for being a technophile. He’s more famous for being an indicted war criminal, owing to his role in the Darfur genocide. But like his northern neighbor Hosni Mubarak, he’s endured two weeks of protests by youths banding together through social networks and text messages. So now Bashir wants to beat them at their own game.”

From Wired

Syria lifts ban on social media sites Facebook, YouTube

“[JURIST] Syrian Internet users reported on Tuesday that social media sites Facebook [website; JURIST news archive] and YouTube [website; JURIST news archive] are accessible without proxy servers or VPNs. Syria appears to be lifting the ban imposed in 2007 as a concession to avoid popular upheaval [DP report] in Syria.”

From Jurist