“As governments in the Middle East have cracked down on Internet traffic outright this year, Russian authorities have expanded their control over cyberspace in a more indirect manner, employing a voluntary Internet patrol group, paid pro-government commentators, alleged DDoS attacks, and a new surveillance system to increase pressure on Russian netizens.”
From OpenNet Initiative
Posts tagged “Russia”
“A hacker who placed pornography on a video billboard above Moscow’s inner ring road has been jailed for one and a half years.
Igor Blinnikov, 40, uploaded the video on 14 January last year from his home computer in Novorossiysk, a city 1,225km (760 miles) south of Moscow.
The shipyard fitter confessed to the offence, describing it as a “bad joke”.”
From BBC News
“Globally, blogs have been losing the battle with social networks, but in Russia they are holding their ground much better, although, Mr Chistov admits, the peak of their popularity was reached in the 2000s.
Mikhail Geisherik, social media department director at Grape Advertising Agency, says that the main difference between the Russian and Western blogospheres is the fact that the Russian one “is hugely politicised”.
“Basically, it is the most active part of the [global] blogosphere,” he says.”
From BBC News
“MOSCOW — One day there will be thousands of volunteers out there patrolling the Russian Internet. That at least is the dream of a new organization launched this week, the League of Internet Safety.
The league is a heavyweight organization formed by the three major mobile providers: Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom, and Megafon, and the state telecom company Rostelecom. It also features the head of Mail.ru, Dmitry Grishin, on its board of trustees, which is headed by the Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchyogolev.
The league’s primary purpose in the next year will be to fight against child pornography, organizers say. But they also talked about eventually expanding that mission to policing other “negative” content.”
From Radio Free Europe
“The EastWest Institute released the first joint Russian-American report aimed at defining the ‘rules of the road’ for cyber conflict. Prepared by a team of Russian and U.S. experts convened by EWI, Working Towards Rules for Governing Cyber Conflict: Rendering the Geneva and Hague Conventions in Cyberspace explores how to extend the humanitarian principles that govern war to cyberspace.
‘Today, nearly all critical civilian infrastructure is online, from the electricity grids that support hospitals to the systems that guide passenger planes through the air,” says EWI Chief Technology Officer and Distinguished Fellow Karl Rauscher, who led the U.S. experts group. “And, by and large, it is not protected by international norms.’ ”
From EastWest Institute
“The creation of a national search engine is an issue of national culture and identity, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
The new system must be focused on the government’s needs and provide access to secured information while blocking prohibited content.
Critics believe that the new engine might be simply an instrument of censorship while promoting pro-government content and reducing the visibility of oppositional websites.”
From RIA Novosti
“MOSCOW — Microsoft is vastly expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using software piracy inquiries as a pretext to suppress dissent. It plans to provide free software licenses to more than 500,000 advocacy groups, independent media outlets and other nonprofit organizations in 12 countries with tightly controlled governments, including Russia and China.
With the new program in place, authorities in these countries would have no legal basis for accusing these groups of installing pirated Microsoft software.
Microsoft began overhauling its antipiracy policy after The New York Times reported last month that private lawyers retained by the company had often supported law enforcement officials in Russia in crackdowns on outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers.”
From The New York Times
Cyber espionage is not solely in the interest of national military security. As the Globe and Mail’s Peter Apps writes, there is an increasing trend of state-based cyber espionage for commercial interests. Security experts say that many Western enterprises have experienced economic shortfall as a result of electronic surveillance conducted by states seeking to bolster the profit of their nationally-aligned corporations. The article points the finger at developing nations with rapidly emerging economies: such as Russia and China.
But it’s not the first time that states have interfered with the affairs of companies outside of their own jurisdiction. In the realm of cyber espionage, states have involved themselves in the affairs of foreign companies for some time. Examples include allegations of China’s involvement in cyber attacks against Google Inc., and India’s request to Canadian-owned Research in Motion to encrypt the Blackberry. Though the work does not feature any input or research from the Citizen Lab, it includes a photograph of Citizen Lab staff.
From The Globe and Mail
“IRKUTSK, Russia — It was late one afternoon in January when a squad of plainclothes police officers arrived at the headquarters of a prominent environmental group here. They brushed past the staff with barely a word and instead set upon the computers before carting them away. Taken were files that chronicled a generation’s worth of efforts to protect the Siberian wildernes
The group, Baikal Environmental Wave, was organizing protests against Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin’s decision to reopen a paper factory that had polluted nearby Lake Baikal, a natural wonder that by some estimates holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water.
Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities’ newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software.”
From The New York Times
This Global Voices feature explores state-sanctioned actions in regards to Russian Internet, specifically the 1. increase of government activity online and interactions between citizens and government and the 2. decreased web interaction in cyberspace between inside and outside of Russia.
The feature puts particular emphasis on “Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights and Rule in Cyberspace.” The book was recently edited and published by Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski. Deibert and Rohozinski discuss the three generations of cyberspace control. The first is the traditional blocking of information, which is notoriously implemented by the Chinese government. The second generation is the periodical and strategic denial of information, for example, during time of national vulnerability. Finally, the third generation is the most complicated, and consists of “counterinformation campaigns that overwhelm, discredit, or demoralize opponents.”
From Global Voices