Thursday, August 21, 2014

Syrian internet shutdown

Access calls on U.S. to address NSA's 2012 Syrian internet shutdown... and 13 other stories 

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Access Express | 08/21/14
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Edward Snowden recently revealed the NSA was to blame for Syria's 2012 internet blackout. The U.S. is bound by international law that bars the government from violating free expression rights at home and abroad, and must be held accountable.
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In the past week, people have noticed something curious about the way Facebook algorithms have filtered news about protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
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This month we took a few swings at Wikimedia over its stance on net neutrality. However, we would be remiss if we didn't also credit it for the transparency report it released detailing efforts to protect user privacy and defend against censorship.
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From the Access Community
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For over a year, German officials have criticized the NSA's mass spying on Europeans and Chancellor Merkel. Now, embarrassing revelations show that Germany has inadvertently spied on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and has deliberately targeted Turkey.
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Last week, Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced news websites that do not obtain government-issued licenses will be blocked nationwide. Prior to the new regulation, most websites would abide by self-censorship to avoid being filtered.
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A notice has been circulated to units within the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information.
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Many fear Mexico's new telecom law could bring censorship and increased digital surveillance, and are looking to Mexico's Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Data Protection for help. But it says it will not challenge the law in court.
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Under Russia's surveillance program SORM-2, ISPs must install equipment to allow the government to track specific words used online. Last week, the Prime Minister signed a decree to expand SORM-2 to all websites that allow people to send messages.
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Leaked materials from a server belonging to surveillance-industry giant Gamma International provide insight into a tight-knit industry, which demands secrecy for themselves and their clients while assisting in human rights violations.
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Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah has entered an open-ended hunger strike until he is released from prison, his family said in a statement posted on Facebook yesterday.
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One crisp U.S.action taken following Snowden’s exposure: 100,000 fewer people have security clearances than did a year ago. This may look like the proper response to Snowden, but with fewer eyes watching surveillance programs, odds of abuse multiply.
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Most smartphone users know better than to give a random app permission to use their device’s microphone. But researchers have found there’s another sensor in modern phones that can also listen in on their conversations. And it doesn’t even need to ask.
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Google wants websites to use encryption. Unless they are e-commerce sites, in which case Google doesn't want them to use encryption too widely. According to emails Google sent one merchant, the Trusted Stores program doesn't play nice with encryption.
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Access to phone and internet data held by telcos has been the subject of much debate in Australia given a proposed data retention law. Now a new paper has revealed an industry practice of providing web history to law enforcement without warrants.
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  This week's Express was curated by Lee Gensler. Have a tip for a story, or suggestion for an article? Let us know! Contact us at: express@accessnow.org.

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