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Tag Archives: censorship

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Iran backs off from tireless efforts to slow down the Internet

Iran has released 3G and 4G frequencies. It is now possible to share pictures taken by one’s phone. The Islamic Republic has eased up on its efforts to strangle the Internet, while not actually killing it. I’ve been talking about this off and on. But, Iran has added a new twist. No kill switch. Just […]

Korea no model to emulate

We’ve been talking up the need to look beyond Korea as THE model to emulate because their vaunted successes have been achieved with massive long-term subsidies that are difficult for most countries to replicate. But here are some other less known features of the Korean Internet environment that one would not want to emulate: Every […]

China tries to control social media

How can a person be responsible for, and have his punishment decided by, what others do? But this seems to be the thinking of the Chinese Communist Party. “They want to sever those relationships and make the relationship on Weibo atomized, just like relations in Chinese society, where everyone is just a solitary atom,” Mr. […]

Russia’s social network controls: The camel in the tent

An old folk tale describes a tired traveler in the desert, where the nights are cold. His camel is outside the tent. The camel wants the warmth of the tent. The traveler permits him to bring in the snout. By morning, the camel is in the tent and the traveler outside. This appears to be […]

Media pluralism in post-WCIT Internet world

Few days back I was asked to speak on the above subject at a workshop held at the Center for European Political Studies in Brussels. I discussed what effects the continuing efforts by ETNO and likeminded groups to introduce some form of government mandated rent extraction from Over the Top players such as Google and […]

Wanted: Counter narrative to beat back the International Internet Union

Some time back I wrote about the dangers of the emergence of an International Internet Union at the behest of Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao. They’ve held a conference in London to beat it back, but apparently were missing something really important: a counter narrative. In his closing message, he said: “State-sponsored attacks are not […]

Cameron joins Mubarak?

It seems that all governments under threat fear communication media. Instead of the kill switch, Cameron of the UK seems to be proposing a narrower ban: social media use by miscreants. How does this work? Does the government know who is planning mayhem and who is not? Does it shut down base stations in affected […]

If communication is a fundamental right . . .

Here‘s how you enforce it. Developers caution that independent networks come with downsides: repressive governments could use surveillance to pinpoint and arrest activists who use the technology or simply catch them bringing hardware across the border. But others believe that the risks are outweighed by the potential impact. “We’re going to build a separate infrastructure […]

Targeted shutdowns of mobile networks in China

China is a big country. By definition, its ethnic conflicts are localized. The newest is Inner Mongolia. And the mobile networks are being shut down, only in the affected region: “First they shut down our Internet, then they interrupted our cellphone service and finally they imprisoned us at school,” said the student, an intense, foppishly […]

The al-Assad variation

The al-Assad government in Syria appears to be responding to the use of ICTs by citizens unhappy with the political status quo more intelligently than its fallen counterpart in Egypt. The Syrian government is cracking down on protesters’ use of social media and the Internet to promote their rebellion just three months after allowing citizens […]

Syria: The chess game

It’s fascinating how the game is getting played out in Syria, one of the most brutal Arab dictatorships. The regime learned from Egypt. But so did the resistance. The regime monitors the networks and periodically shuts/slows them down. But the counter move of smuggling in hundreds of satellite phones had already negated that move. The […]

Cameroon: Twitter shut down to “protect the nation”

It seems like overkill when there are only 50 subscribers to Twitter in the whole country, but the Cameroon President seems ultra insecure. He should be, perhaps. He has been in the same job since 1982, a West African Ben Ali. And predictably, the Minister of Communication has equated the President’s security with that of […]

China: Short of throwing the kill switch

Did China shut down the telecom system during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989? There was no Internet to shut down back then. This time around, they seem to be adopting a gradualist response, according to NYT: The words “Jasmine Revolution,” borrowed from the successful Tunisian revolt, were blocked on sites similar to Twitter and on […]

The long game of freedom

We are part of an ongoing conversation with Amartya Sen, Randy Spence and others on the freedom-enhancing possibilities of ICTs in general (including the question of whether the conventional Internet is better than the mobile Internet in this respect). Looks like it is a bigger conversation. Last week Morazov’s book was reviewed, this week Clayton […]

Lessons for Internet debates from the birth of print

Occasionally a piece on what the Internet is doing to our brains catches our attention. Sometimes we address topics of censorship and privacy though it is not our main focus. A review of a book on the early days of the printed book in Europe (not Korea) caught our attention. Should be interesting reading–the book. […]

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