Google has lifted restrictions preventing Internet users in Cuba from downloading the Chrome browser; fewer than half of Russians have heard about the country's new blogger law; and more, in this week's IM Weekly.
- #IMWeekly: August 22, 2014
- Rumor-mongering: China’s crackdown on online rumors leaves much unanswered
- Israel revokes WiFi router restrictions; promotes free access "anywhere in Israel"
- Is Cambodia’s latest defamation ruling suffocating online expression?
- Does Google owe an explanation for removing video game apps about the war in Gaza?
- #IMWeekly: August 15, 2014
- The Russification of Crimea’s Internet Begins With The Kerch Strait Cable
- Terms of Service: How the US denies foreign users’ rights at American tech companies
- Internet.org in Zambia: Altruism or Corporate Lip Service?
- #IMWeekly: August 8, 2014
Archive for 2014
China has continued its crackdown on social media with policies aimed at curbing the spread of rumors online and in private messaging apps.
Earlier this month, Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan announced that the government would be revoking restrictions on public WiFi. Historically, those setting up WiFi access points were required to install routers indoors, meaning that access in public places like parks and beaches has been spotty. The new guidelines will enable better outdoor WiFi and will require cities and companies that set up new routers to offer free access.
Rupert Winchester, a British national, has been working as a journalist in Cambodia since 2011. Since he's gotten to the country, he's often cross-posted more long-form versions of his journalistic articles on his personal blog. One of his blog posts has now made him the target of a thorny defamation ruling – one that is raising questions about the landscape for online free expression in the country.
Google Play has removed a number of games concerning the conflict in Gaza. Many of these games, critics claim, are in extremely bad taste, making light of a war that's claimed a distressing number of lives. Google has opaquely refused to disclose the particular reasons why these games were removed. Should corporate powers like Google be the arbiters of what's morally acceptable in the public domain?
In this week's #IMWeekly: Malaysia mulls a Facebook ban, Ukraine’s legislature advances a bill that would curb media and Internet freedom, and Thailand’s junta bans a video game that strikes a little too close to home.
Since political unrest erupted in Eastern Ukraine, Crimea has found itself in the middle of an "information war" between Ukraine and Russia. It's a battle that has seen both countries tighten laws surrounding Internet access, use, and expression under the guise of quelling extremist sentiment. In late July, tension heightened when plans for an undersea fiber optic cable stretching from Russia to the newly-annexed Crimea were realized.
The majority of non-US users accessing websites and accounts operated by American tech companies may lack the rights – notably of privacy and freedom of expression – afforded to American users. Indeed, a 2013 US District Court ruling suggests that most foreign nationals do not even have legal standing to challenge the seizure of their data in the United States, highlighting the dangers of an area where experts say that the law has been slow to catch up to tech.
Internet.org, a partnership between Facebook and six mobile phone companies around the world, recently launched its first initiatives in Zambia. The project aims to give Internet access to those living in remote, underserved areas of the globe. That said, its launch has attracted heavy criticism – is this seemingly selfless move towards facilitating wider Internet access as idyllic as it sounds?
In this week’s #IMWeekly: a dissident Cuban blogger “disappears” from his jail cell under fishy circumstances, a former Malaysian Prime Minister backtracks on his calls for no Internet censorship, and the owner of an independent news site in Somaliland is arrested.