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.
Posts tagged “UAE”
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
“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.”
“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
“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
“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
“Dubai: Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recently classified the UAE as being “under surveillance” in its censorship of the internet, a step ahead of being declared an “Internet enemy” in a list that includes China, Egypt, Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Helmi Noman, a researcher with the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), indicated that social filtering in the UAE can be categorised as “pervasive”, while political filtering was found to be “substantial”, following a marked rise in the blocking of sites political in nature since 2007.”
From Gulf News
“Dubai: The majority of mobile phone users in the United Arab Emirates use BlackBerry devices to access the internet, suggests a new survey by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
‘BlackBerries are the most commonly used devices to access the internet approximately 37 per cent of the time,’ the TRA said in its ICT in the UAE report released in Abu Dhabi this week.”
From Gulf News
“BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) today won a reprieve on the threat of a blackout on its 500,000 smartphone users in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), just days before security agencies were due to enforce a ban on email, messaging and web browsing on the devices.
After months of standoff between the Gulf and Canada, the UAE telecommunications regulator said on Friday that RIM had brought its devices into line with strict local jurisdictions on security and encryption. Although the details of the compromise are unknown, RIM is thought to have granted some access to communications passed between devices to the UAE government, though there is no confirmation of this from either side.”
From The Guardian
“It seems that there is a potentially serious security flaw in the way that some banking, e-commerce and financial websites rely on third-party digital certificate portals for their security.
According to a weekend report in the New York Times, because the number of ‘certificate authorities’ has blossomed into the hundreds, it is becoming “increasingly difficult to trust” that sites are not using the certificates for nefarious purposes.
The New York Times says that the power to appoint certificate authorities has been delegated by browser makers like Microsoft, Mozilla, Google and Apple to various companies, including Verizon. “Those entities, in turn, have certified others, creating a proliferation of trusted ‘certificate authorities’ according to internet security researchers”, says the paper.
But the bad news, the electronic civil liberties organisation says, is that some of these organisations are in countries like Russia and China, which are suspected of engaging in widespread surveillance of their citizens.”