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U.S. to issue terror alerts on Facebook, Twitter

“The U.S. government may start issuing terror alerts using Facebook and Twitter, according to a news service report.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working to overhaul the current color-coded terror alert system. The new system, according to the report, would have only two levels of alerts — elevated and imminent.”

From Computer World

Twitter forced to hand over personal data on subscribers to government

“On 11 March, a US court ordered Twitter to cooperate with the government in an enquiry into Internet users suspected of working for whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. Twitter will be obliged under the ruling to hand over the personal data of the Internet users concerned.

Judge Theresa Buchanan declared that the ruling did not violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression. “The Twitter Order does not seek to control or direct the content of petitioners’ speech or association,” she said.”

From Reporters Without Borders

An App For Stalkers: ‘Creepy’ Geo-Locates Based On Social Networking Activity

“Yiannis Kakavas, a 26-year-old Greek graduate student at Germany’s Technischen Universität Darmstadt, has spent his tenure in academia studying such privacy issues, and is currently completing his thesis on critical infrastructure protection. Vehement about the importance of information security, Kakavas created a fascinating app tailor-made for stalkers: “Creepy” is a cautionary prophecy against the gradual diminishment of privacy in today’s digital age.

Described by Kakavas as a “geolocation information aggregator”, Creepy analyzes a user’s tweets, Facebook posts, and Flickr stream, generating a map of where that person is, as well as the specific locations they frequent. Though the notion of creating such an app may sound creepy in and of itself, Kakavas points out in an interview with tech site Thinq_, that if Creepy works, it’s the fault of the user.”

From The Huffpost Technology

Twitter won’t be able to ignore China, co-founder says

“Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone thinks his company eventually will have to deal with China despite disagreements over censorship, but it has no plans to do so immediately.

“We plan on being around for decades, at the very least, so we’re not going to be able to ignore it forever,” Stone said. One thing Twitter is studying is the Global Network Initiative, which has laid out a set of guidelines for Internet companies to follow when faced with requests to censor information or reveal users’ identities, he said.”

From Macworld

Twitter Won’t Be Able to Ignore China, Co-founder Says

“Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone thinks his company eventually will have to deal with China despite disagreements over censorship, but it has no plans to do so immediately.

The Chinese government blocks Twitter, along with other foreign social-networking sites such as Facebook, and recent reports indicate Google’s Gmail is being restricted as well. Through a control system sometimes called the Great Firewall of China, the government is now blocking searches for the word ‘Jasmine,’ indicating it is worried about a so-called ‘Jasmine Revolution’ similar to recent upheavals in the Middle East.”

From PC World

Sudan warns it will send cyber jihadists to curb protests

“The Sudanese government has warned protestors that it will send out cyber jihadists to “crush” anti-government sentiment.

The National Congress Party took power in Sudan in 1989 after a military coup, but now its 22 year reign is under threat as dissent grows across the country.

Protests have been ongoing since January, similar to those held in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, and the Internet is a major tool being used by protestors to organise anti-government campaigns.”

From The Inquirer

Blocked for 10 days, is Twitter via SMS in the process of being restored?

“Reporters Without Borders is having difficulty establishing whether Cameroonian mobile phone operator MTN’s Twitter via SMS service has finally been restored after being blocked for about 10 days at the government’s behest. Contradictory statements are being made.

The suspension of the service, coming as it did after demonstrations against President Paul Biya at the end of February, has prompted fears of an attempt by the Cameroonian government to suppress the use of social networks, which have played a crucial role in the political unrest in the Arab world.”

From Reporters Without Borders

US spy operation that manipulates social media

“The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet.”

From The Guardian

US consumers to get online bill of privacy rights

“The Obama administration is pushing for a “bill of rights” to protect the privacy of people using the internet. The proposals were outlined by Lawrence Strickling, head of the telecoms arm of the commerce department, at a hearing of the senate commerce committee in Washington DC.

Politicians and privacy groups are increasingly concerned about the mass of information being acquired online by firms including Facebook, Google and Twitter. Strickling told the committee that a privacy bill of rights should outline basic levels of protection and ensure the regulators had the authority to enforce those expectations.”

From The Guardian

Julian Assange tells students that the web is the greatest spying machine ever

“The internet is the “greatest spying machine the world has ever seen” and is not a technology that necessarily favours the freedom of speech, the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has claimed in a rare public appearance.

Assange acknowledged that the web could allow greater government transparency and better co-operation between activists, but said it gave authorities their best ever opportunity to monitor and catch dissidents.

While Assange was skeptical about the role played by Facebook and Twitter in fomenting unrest in the Middle East, he argued that cables released by WikiLeaks played a key role by forcing the US government not to back former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.”

From The Guardian