UAE

Posts tagged “UAE”

UAE officials disrupt Human Rights Watch meeting

Source: Reuters

Human Rights Watch accused the United Arab Emirates of cracking down on freedom of expression, during a news conference on Wednesday which was disrupted by men who claimed to be UAE officials and demanded the rights group end its presentation.

The Internet’s secret back door

Source: Slate

The United Arab Emirates continues to wrestle with Research in Motion over government access to BlackBerry messages, threatening to ban the company’s services if it doesn’t severely weaken the anti-snooping protections on its smartphones.

Canadian Software Used to Censor Web Abroad

In this article, CTV News reports on the role of Western companies in promoting censorship in the Middle East and North Africa. Specifically, it looks at Netsweeper Inc., a Canada-based developer of content filtering software, and its role in providing governments in Qatar, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates with tools to filter online content.

Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, told CTV News that the recent controversy surrounding the Canadian company demonstrates that the Canadian federal government needs to take a clear position on content filtering, and within this, develop a clear foreign policy for cyberspace. For example, Deibert suggests that the Canadian government introduce legislation which makes it “illegal for Canadian companies to filter content in countries that violate the freedoms outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.” In essence, “take a major international treaty of the 20th century, and apply it in a decidedly 21st century context.”

Deibert said that Canada should take on a leadership role on cyber policy “in international forums to spotlight and develop a kind of normative agreement that is consistent with the values we hold as a country.”

For the full article see here.

Canada needs clear cyberspace censorship policy, watchdog says

This Toronto Star article reports on the controversy over Guelph-based developer of content filtering software, Netsweeper Inc., presenting United Arab Emirates telecom Du with an award for its use of green technology in late June that the ONI blogged about here. Attendees at the function included a trade commissioner from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as representatives from the National Research Council and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, a provincial agency funded by the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, an Open Net partner at the University of Toronto, said the relationship between government and Netsweeper demonstrates “typical short-sighted encouragement of local technology” without “broader consideration of the implications.” He said Canada needs to establish a clear foreign policy on access to information and freedom of speech in cyberspace.

For the full article see here.

Canada lauds UAE ISP that pervasively censors political, religious, and gay and lesbian information, using Canadian software

In light of the controversy around the use of Canadian-made software being used in the Middle East and North Africa, it is remarkable that the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Information Technology Association of Canada, and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs would choose to honour an Internet Service Provider that pervasively filters access to information using Canadian made software.

See the OpenNet Initiative post here

Use of most secure BlackBerry system restricted, bloggers arrested

“Reporters Without Borders condemns a government decision to limit use of the BlackBerry smartphone’s most secure system, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), in the United Arab Emirates to a few companies with more than 20 BlackBerry users.

If the restriction takes effect, ordinary BlackBerry clients will have to use BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which transmits data via the standard Internet and is easier for the authorities to monitor. BES transmits data via servers based abroad and cannot be monitored.

Osman Sultan, the CEO of the telecommunications firm Du, announced on 25 April that the government-imposed restriction will go into effect on 1 May.”

From Reporters Without Borders

UAE quiet on streets but Web reformers face heat

“DUBAI— No protesters have taken to the streets calling for reforms. There’s been barely a public whisper about whether the Arab uprisings could intrude on the cozy world of the United Arab Emirates’ rulers.

The main challenge to authority so far has been a modest online petition urging for open elections and the creation of a parliament. But even that crossed a line. Security agents have arrested at least five Internet activists over the past month.

The five activists detained – including Ahmed Mansour, who led a popular online political forum that was blocked last year, and Nasser bin Ghaith, a prominent blogger and frequent lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of Paris’ Sorbonne university– are under investigation for “perpetrating acts that pose a threat to state security” and insulting the rulers of Abu Dhabi. If convicted of the charges, the men could be imprisoned for decades.”

From Huffington Post

UAE quiet on streets but Web reformers face heat

“DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — No protesters have taken to the streets calling for reforms. There’s been barely a public whisper about whether the Arab uprisings could intrude on the cozy world of the United Arab Emirates’ rulers.

The main challenge to authority so far has been a modest online petition urging for open elections and the creation of a parliament.

But even that crossed a line. Security agents have arrested at least five Internet activists over the past month. The swift government action to snuff out any whiff of dissent shows that, despite the UAE’s transformation into a cosmopolitan showcase, it has never outgrown its tribal-style rule that keeps power in the hands of just a few.”

From The Huffington Post

UAE to tighten BlackBerry restrictions

“BlackBerry users in the United Arab Emirates will soon be unable to send emails and messages without fear of government snooping, under tighter restrictions on internet communication in the Gulf state.

The UAE is to ban individuals and small businesses from using the most secure BlackBerry settings – for email, web browsing and BlackBerry Messenger – as part of security fears sweeping the Middle East. Only companies with more than 20 BlackBerry accounts will be able to access the encrypted BlackBerry service, which is favoured by corporate users and government agencies.”

From The Guardian