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Australia

Australian Government Outlines Website-Blocking Scheme 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the failing-to-learn-from-the-mistakes-of-others dept.
angry tapir writes: The Australian government has revealed its (previously mooted) proposed legislation that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders that will force ISPs to block access to pirate websites. It forms part of a broader Australian crackdown on online copyright infringement, which also includes a warning notice scheme for alleged infringers. They're not the only ones getting on board with website blocking — a judge in Spain ruled that local ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay.
Government

Notel Media Player Helps North Koreans Skirt Censorship 54

Posted by timothy
from the one-day-will-be-on-ebay.nk dept.
An anonymous reader writes A small portable media device, costing roughly $50, is allowing North Koreans to access and view foreign media despite tight government censorship, according to a Reuters report. The 'Notel', a mashup of notebook and television, is being described as a symbol of change in the repressed society. Used to watch DVDs and shared content from USB sticks and SD cards, the media player can be easily concealed and transported among families and friends. According to correspondents in the region, as many as half of all urban North Korean households have a notel and are swapping a broad range of banned media such as soaps and TV dramas from South Korea and China, Hollywood blockbusters, and news clips — all of which is strictly forbidden by Pyongyang law.
Censorship

Indian Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Against Posting 'Offensive' Content Online 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the score-one-for-free-speech dept.
palemantle writes: The Indian Supreme Court has overturned the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act which included a provision for a three-year jail term for sending "offensive" messages through a "computer resource or a communication device." In its judgement, the Supreme Court held "liberty of thought and expression as cardinal" and overturned the provision (66A) deeming it "unconstitutional." It's been in the news recently for an incident involving the arrest of a high school student for posting allegedly "offensive" content on Facebook about a local politician.
Censorship

Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-do-that-on-bookovision dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The atom bomb — leveler of Hiroshima and instant killer of some 80,000 people — is just a pale cousin compared to the hydrogen bomb, which easily packs the punch of a thousand Hiroshimas. That is why Washington has for decades done everything in its power to keep the details of its design out of the public domain. Now William J. Broad reports in the NY Times that Kenneth W. Ford has defied a federal order to cut material from his new book that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets. Ford says he included the disputed material because it had already been disclosed elsewhere and helped him paint a fuller picture of an important chapter of American history. But after he volunteered the manuscript for a security review, federal officials told him to remove about 10 percent of the text, or roughly 5,000 words. "They wanted to eviscerate the book," says Ford. "My first thought was, 'This is so ridiculous I won't even respond.'" For instance, the federal agency wanted him to strike a reference to the size of the first hydrogen test device — its base was seven feet wide and 20 feet high. Dr. Ford responded that public photographs of the device, with men, jeeps and a forklift nearby, gave a scale of comparison that clearly revealed its overall dimensions.

Though difficult to make, hydrogen bombs are attractive to nations and militaries because their fuel is relatively cheap. Inside a thick metal casing, the weapon relies on a small atom bomb that works like a match to ignite the hydrogen fuel. Today, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only declared members of the thermonuclear club, each possessing hundreds or thousands of hydrogen bombs. Military experts suspect that Israel has dozens of hydrogen bombs. India, Pakistan and North Korea are seen as interested in acquiring the potent weapon. The big secret the book discusses is thermal equilibrium, the discovery that the temperature of the hydrogen fuel and the radiation could match each other during the explosion (PDF). World Scientific, a publisher in Singapore, recently made Dr. Ford's book public in electronic form, with print versions to follow. Ford remains convinced the book "contains nothing whatsoever whose dissemination could, by any stretch of the imagination, damage the United States or help a country that is trying to build a hydrogen bomb." "Were I to follow all — or even most — of your suggestions," says Ford, "it would destroy the book."
Android

Google 'Experts' To Screen Android Apps For Banned Content 139

Posted by timothy
from the less-pressing-less-flesh dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google has announced that it will start an official human-based screening process for all of the apps featured in its Google Play store, in a bid to "better protect the community" and "improve the app catalogue." The search giant revealed yesterday that a "team of experts" would be reviewing apps and all updates offered across the Google Play platform for those which violate Google's developer policies. The team will also give direct feedback to developers on what they need to do in order to fix their apps before they can be listed on the Store. A dedicated review page will allow developers to gain further "insight into why apps were rejected or suspended," as well as offering them the opportunity to "easily fix and resubmit their apps" for those who have violated minor regulations.
Censorship

France Will Block Web Sites That Promote Terrorism 216

Posted by timothy
from the good-luck-with-all-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes In the first use of government powers enacted after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered five websites blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. The action raises questions about how governments might counter groups such as the self-declared Islamic State on digital platforms.
Australia

Australia May Introduce Site Blocking To Prevent Copyright Infringement 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the lucrative-lobbying dept.
Bismillah writes: The conservative Coalition government in Australia is on the verge of introducing legislation requiring ISPs to block sites alleged of copyright infringement. Details of the bill have not yet been published, but it is expected to be sent to Parliament this week.
United States

White House Office of Administration Not Subject to FOIA, Says White House 334

Posted by timothy
from the well-they-certainly-are-transparent dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this story at USA Today: The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office. The White House said the cleanup of FOIA regulations is consistent with court rulings that hold that the office is not subject to the transparency law.
Censorship

Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub In Havana 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-starcraft-begin dept.
An anonymous reader writes that Havana is on the verge of getting its first public wi-fi. "Cuba's state telecom agency Etecsa has granted approval to the artist Kcho to open the country's first public wireless hub at his cultural center. Kcho, who has close ties to the Cuban government, is operating the hub using his own, government-approved internet connection, and paying approximately $900 (£600) per month to run it. Only an estimated 5% — 25% of Cubans have any type of internet service. That is because internet access is incredibly expensive. For instance, an hour of internet access at a cafe can cost $4.50 — nearly a week's wages for the average Cuban. Kcho told the Associated Press he decided to offer free internet at the center, which opened in western Havana in January, in order to encourage Cubans to familiarize themselves with the internet."
Censorship

Reporters Without Borders Unblocks Access To Censored Websites 37

Posted by timothy
from the look-over-here-instead dept.
Mark Wilson writes Online censorship is rife. In many countries, notably China, citizens are prevented from accessing certain websites at the behest of their government. To help provide access to information and unbiased news, freedom of information organization Reporters Without Borders has set up mirrors to nine censored websites so they can be accessed from 11 countries that blocked them. As part of Operation Collateral Freedom, Reporters Without Borders is mirroring the likes of The Tibet Post International which is blocked in China, and Gooya News which is blocked in Iran. Mirrored sites are hosted on Amazon, Microsoft and Google servers which are unlikely to be blocked by a censoring country.
Censorship

Turkish Ministry Recommends Banning Minecraft -- Over Violence 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the weapons-of-mass-construction dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Minecraft is known for a lot of things. It's a fantastic creative outlet and the digital sandbox of youngsters' dreams, for instance. The game has also been known to raise the ire of unrelated companies who somehow think all that creativity by gamers is something that can be sued over. It's known for amazing user-generated content, including games within games and replicas of entire cities. The nation of Turkey is known for very different things. It's a country that absolutely loves to censor stuff, for instance. And, thanks to recent developments, Turkey is also known as a great place to get a front-row look at the incredible violence done by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But the Turkish government has a plan to keep its youngsters from witnessing too much violence: it is calling to ban Minecraft.
Censorship

South African Government Issues Plans To Censor Internet 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-learning-from-the-mistakes-of-others dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The South African department of communications is sitting on a draft paper drawn up by the local Film & Publication Board, which proposes strict regulation of the internet within in the country in order to bring online publishing inline with that of DVD, video and terrestrial TV ratings. The proposals are being called censorship and unconstitutional, and include plans to criminalize anyone who publishes material online — including uploading videos to YouTube — who doesn't pay a licence and submit to vetting by FPB agents.
Encryption

UK Parliament: Banning Tor Is Unacceptable and Technologically Impossible 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the moments-of-clarity dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Months after UK prime minister David Cameron sought to ban strong encryption, a new parliamentary briefing contradicts that, at least when it comes to Tor. The briefing says, "there is widespread agreement that banning online anonymity systems altogether is not seen as an acceptable policy option in the UK. Even if it were, there would be technical challenges." The briefing cites Tor's ability to circumvent such censorship in countries like China as well as looking at both legal and illegal uses of Tor.
China

Chinese Government Takes Down Anti-Pollution Documentary "Under The Dome" 87

Posted by timothy
from the go-about-your-business dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to BBC's report that [A]uthorities in China have removed from websites a popular documentary which highlights the country's severe pollution problem. Under the Dome explains the social and health costs of pollution, and was watched by more than 100 million people online, sparking debates. It was removed just two days after Premier Li Keqiang called pollution a blight on people's lives. Searching YouTube gives you a pretty good idea of what the Chinese government doesn't want people to see.
Censorship

Indian Gov't Wants Worldwide Ban On Rape Documentary, Including Online 356

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that'll-work dept.
An anonymous reader writes India's far-right Hindu Nationalist government headed by Narendra Modi has banned telecasting and viewing online of a BBC documentary on the 2012 Delhi rape which shocked the nation. The documentary consists interviews of the rapist Mukesh Singh, his lawyers and the victim's parents seems to expose the male dominant nature of Indian society. Indian government is now attempting to ban the documentary worldwide. Critics of the Indian government's action has accused it of not addressing issues women face and instead trying to hide the dirty secrets of its culture from the world. Some Indian websites have also reported that the views expressed by the rapist are echoed by policemen, lawyers and politicians of the nation. So far the government's attempt to ban the video online is with mixed success.
Communications

GSM/GPS Tracking Device Found On Activist's Car At Circumvention Tech Festival 143

Posted by timothy
from the just-can't-catch-a-break-with-you-people dept.
vivaoporto writes A GSM/GPS tracking device was found this March 4 on an activist's car attending the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain, a festival that proposes to gather "the community fighting censorship and surveillance for a week of conferences, workshops, hackathons, and social gatherings, featuring many of the Internet Freedom community's flagship events." They are now asking for the internet tech community for help in order to identify the device. Below verbatim is the plea for help published on the Tor Project website. The fine article also contains pictures of the device.

"On March 4th, 2015, we found a tracking device inside of the wheel well of a car belonging to an attendee of the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain. This was reported in the local media.

If you have information about this device — please send information to jacob at appelbaum dot net using gpg.

The device was magnetically mounted inside of the left wheel well of the car. The battery is attached by cable to the tracking device. The battery was magnetically mounted to the frame of the car. The tracking device was similarly magnetically mounted. The device itself has an external magnetically mounted GPS antenna. It has a very simple free hanging GSM antenna. The device included a Movistar SIM card for GSM network access. The entire device was wrapped in black tape."
Censorship

Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement 62

Posted by timothy
from the western-imperialists-violating-the-kim-family's-rights dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes A new Wired magazine story goes inside the North Korean rebel movement seeking to overthrow Kim Jong-un by smuggling USB drives into the country packed with foreign television and movies. As the story describes, one group has stashed USB drives in Chinese cargo trucks. Another has passed them over from tourist boats that meet with fishermen mid-river. Others arrange USB handoffs at the Chinese border in the middle of the night with walkie talkies, laser pointers, and bountiful bribes. Even Kim assassination comedy The Interview, which the North Korean government allegedly hacked Sony to prevent from being released, has made it into the country: Chinese traders' trucks carried 20 copies of the film across the border the day after Christmas, just two days after its online release.
Censorship

Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View 285

Posted by timothy
from the start-your-own dept.
Ellie K writes As of 23 March 2015, Google will remove blogs on its Blogger platform that don't conform to its new anti-adult policies. This is an abrupt reversal of policy. Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression." The linked article quotes the message which has been sent to Blogger users thus: (...) In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content. The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.
Censorship

Iran Allows VPNs To Make Millions In Profit 57

Posted by timothy
from the have-cake-and-eat-it-too dept.
New submitter Patrick O'Neill writes with this excerpt from The Daily Dot: Anti-censorship technology is de jure illegal in Iran, but many VPNs are sold openly, allowing Iranians to bounce around censorship and seemingly render it ineffective. Nearly 7 in 10 young Iranians are using VPNs, according to the country's government, and a Google search for "buy VPN" in Persian returns 2 million results. Iran's Cyber Police (FATA) have waged a high-volume open war against the VPNs, but it's still very easy to find, buy, and use the software. It's so easy, in fact, that you can use Iran's government-sanctioned payment gateways (Pardakht Net, Sharj Iran, Jahan Pay & Baz Pardakht) to buy the tools that'll beat the censors. To use these gateways, however, customers have to submit their Iranian bank account and identity, all but foregoing hopes of privacy or protection from authorities."
Censorship

Valve Censoring Torrent References In Steam Chat 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-what-you-say dept.
dotarray writes It seems Valve is restricting just what you can talk about when using the Steam chat service. Specifically, any reference to a particular torrent site is being stripped from conversation, while mentions of other pages trigger a warning that the site is "potentially malicious." In the wake of website KickassTorrents being taken offline earlier this week, people quickly noticed that references to the torrent site were being stripped from chat - with no warning, notificiation, or acknowledgement that anything is missing. We've seen censorship before, with chat providers blocking certain words, replacing key letters with asterisks or simply substituting inoffensive words for those considered 'problematic.' That's not what Valve is doing here though - the entire message is disappearing, not just the troublesome domain.