To fund an intelligence bill,
Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking companies no longer have to worry about a mandate that would have required them to share…
Can social websites protect their users while still allowing outside groups to hold politicians and other public figures accountable for their statements?…
Meanwhile down south..
A federal judge has agreed to put the brakes on an investigation into Google by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood after the company complained…
Yes, we need WikiLeaks too
The latest global index from Reporters Without Borders shows that freedom of the press is in decline in a majority of the countries surveyed — including the United States — which makes alternative forms of media such as Twitter more important than ever
To help it handle the EU ruling that forces it to delist certain results about people, Google assembled a team of expert…
Let's hug it out
Former Guardian digital editor and Columbia University professor Emily Bell says social platforms like Facebook and Google need to work with journalists and media organizations to protect principles like free of speech and freedom of the press
It's both good and bad
In a new research paper, sociologist Zeynep Tufekci argues that while social media can empower dissidents and make it easier to organize, governments are getting smarter — and the same things that make such tools useful also have a downside
Bangladesh temporarily blocked the messaging apps Viber and Tango on Sunday after intelligence agencies asked the country’s telecoms regulator for help in…
The tweets must flow
Twitter says it plans to fight a court order from the Turkish government that is trying to force the company to block or remove the account belonging to a Turkish newspaper, after the paper tweeted information the authorities say could compromise national security
Now you see him, now you don't
A rich, powerful man won a series of court victories in France and Germany that arguably helped pave the way for Europe’s controversial…
Do as I say, not as I do
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has posted public statements on his personal page about his commitment to free speech in the wake of the killings in Paris last week, but the behavior of his company often says something very different
Well that makes sense
In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which began with the killing of 12 people at the offices of…
Principle or expediency?
Almost all of those who published offensive cartoons from the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were online media outlets, and virtually all of those who refrained from doing so were traditional media. Why the difference?
On and off the big screen
The movie that Sony at first wouldn’t release, then claimed it wanted to release, may get released after all. The Dallas Morning…
Fearing a run on banks and shops due to a faltering currency, the authorities in Belarus have blocked several news and e-commerce…
As you wish, Dear Leader
In a clear victory for North Korea, Sony has responded to terrorist threats by officially cancelling the December 25 release of “The…
We can only guess why
Google is closing its Russian engineering office, according to a report in The Information. Google’s Russian engineers will be offered jobs in other…
Your rights, dismantled
Mass online surveillance and censorship of what people see on the web appear to be getting worse, according to the latest Web…
But it promises transparency
GitHub has agreed to censor some of what its users post, in order to mollify the Russian authorities. Russian laws forbid web…
Just ask the Russians
Internet freedom has declined around the globe, once again, in 2014. A new report out from Freedom House shows that 36 of…
Russia is reportedly blocking blogs that provide independent analysis of jihadi activities. On Monday the Belgian historian, researcher and writer Pieter Van…
Google and other search engines should remove links to out-of-date or unwelcome personal information from all of their search results around the world – not just in specific European countries – when people in Europe ask for them to be taken down and there’s no good reason not to, EU data protection officials have decided.
The number of official takedown requests that Facebook has consented to in Pakistan has ballooned by 1,000 percent in the past year — and free-speech advocates say the social network is too quick to cave in to government demands for censorship
The campaign group Greatfire.org says it is sneaking Chinese-language BBC content behind the Great Firewall using its CDN-based mirror site approach.
The hosting of a “World Internet Conference” tech industry talking shop in censorship-happy China was always going to raise eyebrows, but this…
GreatFire.org, which monitors the activities of China’s monolithic web censorship mechanism, claims HSBC’s Akamai-using corporate banking portal has falled victim to the Great Firewall.
The move comes more than a year after the British government said it would force ISPs to filter out extremist and terrorist material. It seems the ISPs caved in after lengthy negotiations, though details remain fuzzy.
The web is very, very disproportionately English-speaking. The Firefox firm and the GSMA want to change that, so as to create more opportunities in emerging markets.
The idea of the “right to be forgotten” online is getting so much traction in Europe that a musician now asserts that he can use it to delete reviews from U.S. newspapers.
A majority of Russians supports the censorship of the internet, according to a poll carried out late September and published this week…
Dutch hosting providers are complaining about law enforcement calls for them to take down jihadist material that isn’t necessarily illegal. Michiel Steltman,…
Facebook seems to produce a kind of existential dread in news organizations and journalists, since it plays an increasingly large role in whether anyone sees their content. That shouldn’t keep them from using it, but they need to keep in mind that it is just a tool
Harvard lawyer Marvin Ammori argues in a recent essay that while the New York Times helped define the free speech laws of the last generation, companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google will define how we see free speech in the future — and how much we get
The U.S. firms have reportedly been told they must store Russians’ local data and metadata on Russian soil, and abide by the same restrictions on free speech to which traditional Russian media must adhere. If they don’t play ball, they may be blocked in the country.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to task today for blocking Twitter in his country.
A Friday report in Vedomosti suggested that, on 22 September, President Putin will meet with the country’s security council to discuss the possibility of cutting out the foreign internet in times of strife. However, the Kremlin has denied this.
At the same time as it is rumored to be looking for funding that could value the company at more than half a billion dollars, Reddit is facing renewed criticism over its anarchic nature and the downsides of its commitment to freedom of speech
After the beheading of journalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIS, social-media platforms like Twitter and YouTube are cracking down on the sharing of images and video of his death. But should they be the ones who decide what we can see and what we can’t?
A top EU official blasted Google and others for “playing false” over a court ruling that lets people delete material from the internet. The official also repeated the need for tougher fines for companies who breach data rules.
The anti-censorship project Lantern wants give users in countries like China and Iran access to blocked websites through a distributed network of proxies.
The draft law was waved through its first reading in the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday, raising fears of censorship without safeguards.
Russia’s clampdown on internet freedom continues, this time with a measure designed to counter “those interested in destabilization.” However, there is some confusion over which hotspots are affected.
A U.K. man has been arrested for running a proxy server that granted access to “piracy” websites that had been blocked by…
The authorities are angry that the BBC Russia site is carrying an audio interview with an artist who supports a planned — but likely illegal — march for Siberian autonomy. The BBC says it won’t back down.
The first to receive notices demanding that they join a censorship-happy register reportedly include prominent novelists and satirists, who are now expected to abide by the same rules as journalists on their blogs.
In a report about tackling online issues like bullying and revenge porn, the Lords tentatively advised that web services should demand real names at sign-up, even if they then allow usage to be anonymous or pseudonymous.
The new “Operation Creative” tactic is designed to tackle the funding of copyright-infringement websites without making users vulnerable to malware, as an earlier pilot accidentally did. However, it’s a bit worrying to see police censoring elements of webpages.
A Canadian court is forcing Google to remove search listings not just for google.ca, but beyond the country’s borders too. The case could lead to more regional censorship practices becoming global.
Censorship is always bad, right? Not to many people around our connected globe, and there is sometimes validity to their views. Unfortunately the tension between those views places a profound and perhaps dangerous dilemma at the heart of the internet.
North Rhine-Westphalia has decided to enforce a ban on biker gangs’ logos being displayed on websites. It is not at all clear how this is supposed to happen.
The law requires web services operating in Russia to store citizens’ data in local facilities. It’s supposed to protect Russians from overseas hackers, but the censorship potential is clear.
A controversial law lets EU citizens remove search results from Google. A web developer who feels this is censorship has made a site to keep track of some of the sites that are disappearing.
Political commentator Ronan Farrow says that social networks like Twitter and Facebook should do more to police violent content from terrorist groups — but who gets to draw the line between free speech and hate speech, or choose which content should disappear forever?
Observers might be forgiven for thinking that EU privacy law allows links to serious journalism to be removed from Google’s results if the subject complains. That’s really not the case, as Google knows very well.
The search provider has started complying with a recent ruling that says it must de-link some personal information, if the data subject asks and if the information isn’t in the public interest.
A court in Canada just told Google it must delete search results from around the world. The ruling is the latest in a troubling series of cases ordering search engines to remove information.
Twitter has long maintained that it is the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party,” but its commitment to that principle has come under fire as it bans accounts setup by militant groups and blocks tweets in certain countries
Web firms like to say they cooperate with the authorities in the countries where they operate, but what are they to do…
The system is one of several options being weighed by Germany after this month’s seismic European ruling about the removal of unwelcome information from search results. It sounds ominous, but it beats automated takedown.
Russia’s new Kremlin-friendly search engine Sputnik – planned since last year — reportedly achieved lift-off on Thursday. As spotted by Tech.eu on…
More and more countries and governments are making use of Twitter’s ability to block specific tweets or accounts from being seen by users in certain countries — but is this an elegant solution to censorship or a feature that disguises the problem?
The Turkish government finally removed its two-week-old block on Twitter access, after a constitutional court ruled that it was a breach of the right to freedom of expression
This time the cause seems to be a leaked intelligence conversation regarding possible military action in Syria.
After winning a controversial ruling that ordered Google to suppress an anti-Islam video, an actress is seeking to hold the company in contempt of court.
The Twitter ban in Turkey may have been easy to bypass at first, but now the government has introduced more serious measures than DNS redirection.
Turkey’s prime minister is trying to block Twitter use in his country because the social network is spreading information he doesn’t like, but all his attempts have done is show Turkish citizens how useful Twitter can be against tyrants
The Turkish government has imposed a media blackout on a corruption investigation that goes all the way to the top. Now, as people turn to Twitter and YouTube to bypass that blackout, censorship of social media has begun in earnest.
A local Anonymous branch is DDoSing Russian media outlets, while a similar attack also took out the websites of the Kremlin and the Russian Central Bank. This follows the state blockading of several Putin-unfriendly outlets.
http://www.technologyreview.com/view/525076/syrian-web-censorship-techniques-revealed/ The conflict in Syria has led to internet blackouts, but this article reveals the more pernicious censorship that’s ongoing. Most content…
The value of social-media networks such as Twitter and Facebook becomes even more obvious during crises like the uprisings and anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine and Venezuela, where both have become a lifeline of real-time information for residents and expatriates alike
The Turkish parliament has passed draconian new amendments to its internet law, which will allow the authorities to block content at the URL level without a court order, something critics of the new law say will effectively kill free speech
Activists and others involved in the war in Syria say Facebook has been deleting pages created by dissidents and removing content because it violates the social network’s standards, and that important information about the conflict is being lost as a result
Max Mosley has for the second time won a case that forces Google to act as a censor. The search giant is appealing the ruling.
The country’s big ISPs have rejected a request by the Gambling Commission to insert warnings when customers are trying to access unlicensed offshore gambling websites.
A US government agency is yanking apps from Google Play — that’s just one finding from Google’s latest Transparency Report.
The British government forced ISPs to turn on porn filters by default. Who could have guessed these filters would block things like sex education and domestic abuse support services?
The latest example of European web censorship in the name of copyright doesn’t just target internet service providers — it also requires Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to remove links to the offending sites.
A government minister has confirmed plans, mentioned recently by the prime minister in a poorly reported parliamentary exchange, to force ISPs to censor access to “extremist” online material. But that term is open to interpretation.
Google, Microsoft and others are fighting to lift gag orders that prevent them from disclosing the number of surveillance requests they receive — but the FBI won’t even show them the legal arguments they are using to oppose the request.
Should public figures have the right to purge search engines of images that depict their embarrassing behavior? A court in Paris has said yes, and ordered Google to delete images of Max Mosley.
Google’s new real-time map showing DDoS attacks across the world is both awesome and scary — especially if you’re running a website in the United States.
An Estonian court did not violate a local news site’s right to free expression by holding it liable for offensive anonymous comments made under one of its stories, the ECHR has ruled.
Google has made a change to its search algorithm to downgrade sites that post mugshot photos, but this decision raises some troubling questions about how much we rely on Google to choose what we see and don’t see
While China could be loosening its grip on social media, the country is definitely lifting a 13-year ban on video games, according to The…
The reported move will give people in a new free-trade zone access to currently-banned services such as Facebook and Twitter, while also allowing foreign telcos to apply for licenses to provide internet services locally.
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2013/0919/Pakistan-s-YouTube-ban-1-year-later Pakistan started banning access to YouTube a year ago as a response to violent protests against clips of the anti-Islamic film…
When the filters stopping Iranians from using popular Western social media services evaporated on Monday, some suspected a thaw in the country’s censorship policies. They were wrong.
Pax Dickinson, the former CTO for Business Insider, lost his job after some of his tweets were criticized for being sexist and racist. But at what point does public shaming of such behavior have a negative impact on free speech?
The “right to be forgotten” on the internet is an appealing idea. But a court controversy over Max Mosley’s hooker video shows any such law would likely lead not to more privacy, but to more censorship.
The Pirate Bay’s censor-dodging browser, PirateBrowser, has made a strong start since its release three days ago.
Claire Perry, the MP who drove through the UK’s absurd porn filter proposals, has revealed her technical cluelessness in a Twitter argument that is now getting her sued. Can’t lawmakers be forced to undergo internet training?
Even without getting into slippery-slope arguments about censorship, proposals to force porn viewers to register with their internet service providers fail miserably on a technical level.
“Iranian Living Room” (which is not produced by Iranians) documents domestic scenes in the country during its recent elections. PayPal admits its system for automatically blocking sales of sanctions-busting Iranian items shouldn’t target books.
Privacy allows the intellectual and moral development of ourselves and our society. Without it, we are at best trapped in a system of self-censorship, and at worst building a platform for an authoritarian future.
Facebook says it isn’t co-operating with the Turkish government’s demands for info on dissidents, but the fact remains that when it comes to protecting the rights and identities of users, Twitter has a better track record.
Should news outlets in China engage in occasional self-censorship for the greater good of reaching readers and projecting influence?
Google has published new numbers that show how governments around the world are asking to remove more content from services like YouTube than ever before.
According to the British advertising regulator, Amazon listings are ads. That’s why a listing for a rude greeting card has just resulted in a slap-down for the online retail giant.
Updated: The popular project-hosting and code-sharing site is apparently caught up in the Great Firewall of China and is unavailable to users there, according to multiple reports.
The Hopper from Dish Network was a finalist in CNET’s “Best of CES” awards — until parent company CBS told the tech news-and-reviews site that it couldn’t include the company because CBS is suing it. How can readers trust CNET’s journalism after such a decision?
As Twitter becomes an increasingly global media entity — and one that controls its own platform — it is running into demands from governments in countries like France and Germany to censor or block access to certain kinds of speech. How will it respond?
Barnes & Noble won’t carry Amazon titles in its stores. But that doesn’t make Amazon author Tim Ferriss’s upcoming Four-Hour Chef “the most banned book in U.S. history.”
We mapped Google’s transparency data to see which countries want online content removed and why. It turns out that censorship is in the eye of the beholder.
Google has released its sixth semi-annual report on government information and takedown requests. The trend is not encouraging but there may be a bright spot in that more and more companies are following Google’s attempt to shine light on censorship.
First Reddit and now Twitter have had to confront issues related to freedom of speech recently, and decide which way they are going to go when it comes to protecting it. As social media becomes more mainstream, such battles will likely become more frequent.
Google’s video site is already the number-five web service in Turkey. Now it will have to work under the fast-growing country’s laws. But that could mean a big growth opportunity for the service.
Google says it blocked viewers in Egypt and Libya from seeing a controversial video clip on YouTube, after the video was allegedly linked to violence in both of those countries. But should Google be censoring content without even a request from a government or court?
As Twitter continues to expand its control over the content that runs through its network, even as it forms partnerships with large TV networks like NBC, media entities of all kinds are going to have to ask whether their reliance on the service is wise.
As Twitter tries to evolve from being a real-time information network into a multibillion-dollar commercial media entity, it is having to face the inherent conflict between those two goals, and many critics see the suspension of journalist Gary Adams’ account as a symptom of that conflict.
Internet censorship is once again in the news after a federal judge posited a proposed Washington law aiming to prevent child prostitution is likely unconstitutional under the Communications Decency Act. A bigger question is why free speech still reigns online except when copyright is involved.
According to a couple of European researchers, governments that try to limit access to the Internet or social media during civil unrest can expect to see higher overall levels of violence with fewer calm periods than can governments that keep the web open.
The British government is considering once again whether to apply mandatory filters to block all adult content on the internet. But what’s the point of campaigning for a technological solution when the technology itself doesn’t work properly?
New data released by Google shows that US government requests to remove search results, YouTube videos and other content has increased by 103 percent. Information from around the world show countries targeting everything from social network profiles to a citizen peeing on a passport.
After weeks of trying to find out why Orange mobile censored GigaOM for millions of mobile users in Britain, we finally have an answer: it’s because the company’s crude child protection blocks anything that looks like a blog by default.
As promised, hactivist group Anonymous organized demonstrations on Saturday in 16 cities throughout India, protesting the governments Internet laws and the ISPs’ blocking of popular file-sharing sites. Protesters donned Guy Fawkes masks and amassed at cricket grounds and other outdoor landmarks from Chennai to Delhi.
British mobile operators have come in for criticism recently for ‘overblocking’ — incorrectly identifying sites as adult content and censoring them from ordinary web users. After GigaOM fell foul of one network’s filters, we asked for answers. And now they’re trickling in.
British mobile firms are often accused of “overblocking” — censoring the web for their users in the name of child protection. But after GigaOM was blocked, we’ve discovered first hand how dangerous bad filters can be… and how hard it is to get answers from operators.
The curious case of the missing citizen news site. Where is the new service that China’s Twitter-beating microblog operator launched to give news organisations anonymous tips?
A British parliamentary committee is asking Google, Twitter and Facebook to filter their services and protect individuals’ privacy. But as the web services start to push back, they may have already sealed their own fate.
Iran is tightening its grip on the Internet before Friday’s parliamentary elections, but activists from Tor and related projects vow to keep up the free flow of information. That’s the best thing the world can do for the country, says the founder of Iran’s Reddit.
Syria blocked access to live streaming site Bambuser on Thursday, cutting off one of the last windows into the embattled city of Homs, which has been under attack for days. This follows similar efforts by other regimes to suppress citizen coverage of the Arab Spring.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said on Monday that the company is not a media entity, but in most of the ways that matter, it clearly is — and that’s why its recent decision to selectively censor content that flows through its network is so important.
Why does Twitter get involved in so many interesting lawsuits? In its short life, the company has kicked up legal hornet nests involving eve…
The news that Twitter will be censoring tweets has reinforced for many the fact that our freedoms exist at the mercy of the companies whose networks we are using — and being used by. How much trust should we have in these new information gatekeepers?
Twitter says it has implemented a new system that will allow it to remove tweets from specific countries if required to do so by law, but that it will try hard not to do this, and will be as transparent as possible if it does.
More than perhaps anyone else in Silicon Valley, SV Angel’s Ron Conway knows how important free expression on the Internet can be for fledgling technology companies to grow and prosper. So it’s probably not a surprise he’s against the proposed PIPA and SOPA bills.
The latest attack on the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) shows that the tech industry is getting smarter about talking to Washington. Industry groups are now stressing how crucial the Internet is to job creation, a hot topic in the current political climate.
The Great Firewall of China is preventing local programmers from downloading the latest Node.js programming framework. The problem is that the version number corresponds to the June 4, 1989 government crackdown on Tiananmen Square demonstrators.
In testimony on new anti-piracy legislation, Google’s policy counsel argued the payment blockade against WikiLeaks was a good example of how copyright infringement could be handled. But that blockade is a disturbing attack on freedom of the press — is that really something Google wants to support?
Google, IBM, Citi and a handful of other large U.S. technology and banking companies are pushing the U.S. government to take the lead on establishing global treaties that would assure the free flow of information across international borders. If the government is smart, it will listen.
It seems totalitarian states like Egypt aren’t the only ones struggling with the impact of social media and the desire to muzzle services like Twitter and Facebook. Britain says it’s considering a ban on social media in the wake of the riots in London.
Nina Paley is upset. Her movie Sita Sings The Blues is blocked for German users on YouTube, making it the latest casualty in an ongoing conflict between the video site and German music rights group Gema. Rights holders deny that they’re to blame for the incident.
As countries like Iran and Syria step up their attempts to filter and even shut down access to the Internet, a new UNESCO report looks at the attempts by repressive governments around the world to censor and corral free speech on the Internet.
A local Russian court in in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur has banned YouTube as well as four other sites, ruling that local ISP Rosnet could block users from accessing the site due to extremist videos that had been uploaded by some of its users.
Turkish Internet users have been blocked from accessing YouTube since 2008 – but the country still wants Google to pay taxes for the video site. The demands come as Turkey is actually stepping up its censorship against YouTube, inadvertently blocking many other Google services as well.
A day after a Pakistani court suspended access to Facebook, the country has blocked its citizens from being able to access YouTube and about 450 other sites as part of a widening ban on Internet content deemed offensive.
Thailand’s government is cracking down on opposition protests in Bangkok, leaving protesters wounded and dead. Opposition groups are using the Internet do get the word out, but live streaming sites like Livestream.com and Justin.tv can’t be accessed from within the country due to censorship.
Citibank has admitted that a staffer blocked the bank account of gay-networking startup Fabulis and threatened to terminate the company’s account because of what it termed “objectionable content” on the Fabulis blog, but says it has now clarified its internal policies for Internet business accounts.
Due to repeated and numerous customer complaints, and despite the fact that they seem to pretty regularly make their way into the…
Though its web site has been blocked by Chinese censors since last June, Twitter is working on utilizing the distributed nature of its service to become available to Chinese users, said CEO Evan Williams at Davos according to a report by the Financial Times.
Google, in response to what it called “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure” aimed at penetrating the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, said today it will cease censoring results on Google.cn.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation today unveiled its latest effort to haul Internet censorship abusers into the spotlight and in front of the…
Two video bloggers from Azerbaijan are being held in prison by local authorities after uploading a satirical video to YouTube, according to…
China Maintains YouTube Ban; video site has been blocked for three months, blackout still up in advance of the Tiananmen Square anniversary.…
Former AOL CEO to be News Corp Chief Digital Officer; Jon Miller will lead all digital initiatives and will likely join the…
Add Thailand to the list of countries proposing national firewalls. The county’s move to block sites that are “offensive” to the royal family could move toward broader censorship. Other nations, including the U.S. and Australia, are struggling with similar concerns.