#IMWeekly February 13, 2015

by adrienne debigare

Russia: Russia seeks to ban Tor and VPN access

In the Kremlin’s latest impingement on Internet freedom, Tor and VPN services could be the next thing to go. In a statement Thursday, the head of the Duma Committee on Information Policy, Leonid Levin, said, “the pretrial blocking of anonymizing services deserves attention, such as access to the anonymous network Tor.” It’s hardly surprising, given the country’s recent attempts at controlling information, including increased legislation targeting freedom of expression and the jailing of many journalists.

Thailand: Agency defends mass online surveillance for the love of the king

Mr. Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said in an interview earlier this week that Thailand is not like other monarchies and should not be judged similarly to them. He cited the Thai people’s love of their king and traditional norms dictating that the people not criticize their ruler as justification.

US: Judge dismisses EFF lawsuit against the NSA’s Upstream program

The EFF has lost its latest fight with the NSA and the federal government over mass cybersurveillance. In the wake of revelations last year that the NSA tapped fiber cables to gather information, the EFF filed a suit claiming that this impeded on the public’s constitutional rights. When dismissing the case, the judge claimed that the group’s understanding of the Upstream program’s operational details were inaccurate, but could not elaborate further saying it would violate national security.

Cuba: Netflix launches service in the country

Netflix has made its Cuban debut after the US relaxed sanctions against the country in late 2014. Currently, only about 5% of the population has the high-speed Internet access required to view Netflix, and even those users may only access a “curated selection of movies and TV shows.”

Germany: First brick-and-mortar Internet museum slated to open

Though the first Internet museum was opened in 2012 in cyberspace, a new institution in Germany will be the first physical museum dedicated to the development of the Internet. Co-founder Paul Rascheja said the exhibits will be less Grumpy Cat and more like showcases of well-known moments, such as the Internet’s inception in 1962, and models, like PDP.

Turkey: Parliament to vote on new governmental censorship powers

A bill currently before Parliament in Turkey would grant the government unprecedented power to regulate and censor websites by waiving the need for court approval. According to Global Voices, the Telecommunication Authorities, the major beneficiary of the bill, would be able to order some content removed to “protect someone's safety and/or privacy, prevent crime or protect public health. If website owners refuse to comply with an order, TİB could simply block sites that refused to comply with takedown orders and then pursue a judge's opinion retroactively.”

#IMweekly is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. For more, click here.