- CN - China's internet censors +/-
(Economist) Protecting China's innocents from smut, violence and the Dalai Lama. The internet is full of stuff of which China's government disapproves. Yet there are 300m Chinese internet-users. Keeping the two apart has embroiled the Chinese authorities in a long cat-and-mouse struggle. Service-providers and internet cafés are closely supervised, and a wide array of filtering mechanisms already overlays the national internet architecture. A fresh initiative goes one step further. From July 1st every personal computer sold in China will have to come with new filtering software called Green Dam Youth Escort. It has yet to be decided whether Green Dam must be pre-loaded, or left on a disk for users to install. But it has sparked an uproar.
- CN - Civic-Minded Chinese Find a Voice Online +/-
(New York Times) There was a time when the story of the 21-year-old waitress who fatally stabbed a Communist Party official as he tried to force himself on her would have never left the rural byways of Hubei Province where it took place. Instead, her arrest on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter erupted into an online furor that turned her into a national hero and reverberated all the way to China's capital, where censors ordered incendiary comments banned. Local Hubei officials even restricted television coverage and tried to block travel to the small town where the assault occurred. On Tuesday, a Hubei court granted the woman, Deng Yujiao, an unexpectedly swift victory, ruling that she had acted in self-defense and freeing her without criminal penalties. The case of Ms. Deng is only the most recent and prominent of several cases in which the Internet has cracked open a channel for citizens to voice mass displeasure with official conduct, demonstrating its potential as a catalyst for social change.
- CN - Google to cut China porn results +/-
(BBC) Google says it will take "all necessary steps" to remove pornography from its Chinese language portal, Google.cn. The firm was responded to criticism from China's internet watchdog which said Google was "disseminating pornographic and vulgar information". Google has been warned twice about allowing unacceptable porn sites to be seen in search results.
- CN / EU - Chinese censorship of Internet 'unacceptable': EU +/-
(AFP) The EU accused China of "unacceptable" Internet censorship, as Brussels rejected Beijing's claim that an internet filter due to be introduced is instead aimed at blocking pornography. "The aim of this internet filter, contrary to what Chinese authorities contend, is clearly to censor internet and limit freedom of expression," the European Commission said in a statement. "We therefore urge China to postpone the implementation of this mandate and request that a meeting is organised at technical level to better understand what is at stake," it added. The matter will be raised at "information society" talks hosted by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Beijing on July 9.
- EU - Commissioner Reding welcomes New European Charter on Freedom of the Press +/-
(RAPID) Commissioner Viviane Reding met today Mr Hans-Ulrich Jörges, editor-in-chief of the German magazine Stern and initiator of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press. The Charter was signed on 25 May by 48 European journalists from 19 countries to protect the press from government interference and ensure journalists' access to sources of information. The Charter, which formulates the main values that public authorities should respect when dealing with journalists, was presented and handed over by Mr Jörges to Commissioner Viviane Reding who welcomed journalists' adoption of this first European Charter of Freedom of the Press.
- IR - The Twitter crisis: how site became voice of resistance in Iran +/-
(Guardian) As foreign journalists were expelled from Iran or confined to their hotel rooms, and as events moved at speed through the day, web users across the world turned in enormous numbers to their counterparts in Iran, who were using blogs, YouTube and social networking sites to spread information that would otherwise not have reached a wide audience. As one Twitter user with apparent links to the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi put it: "Everybody try to film as much as poss today on mobiles - these are eyes of world." Mobile phone footage and grainy pictures were copied on to blogs and news sites, while mainstream broadcasters, their correspondents constrained, relied on user-generated footage in an attempt to circumvent the censored state broadcasts.
- TH - Thailand's lèse majesté law +/-
(Economist) The battle in Thailand over the royal family between government and opposition goes online. The government's efforts to protect the good name of the king are not only damaging democracy but may even rebound upon the royal reputation.
- CN - China orders PC makers to install blocking software +/-
(Guardian) Computer makers in China have been instructed to pre-install blocking software on every PC hard drive from next month, under a government push to control access to the internet. The new software, which has been developed by companies working with the Chinese military, is specifically aimed at restricting online pornography, but it could also be used to strengthen barriers to politically sensitive websites. China's authorities currently block overseas-based sites they disapprove of, such as those relating to Tibetan independence, or the Falun Gong spiritual movement, with a mesh of filters and keyword restrictions, widely known as the Great Firewall. see also China defends screening software (BBC). See also Green Dam filtering software scorned by many Chinese (Rebecca MacKinnon).
- CN - 'Big Brother' fears as China prepares to filter pcs for "unhealthy" content +/-
(RSF) Reporters Without Borders voiced concern over China's plan to force computer manufacturers to install software on personal computers to filter information seen by the Communist Party as "unhealthy". The 'Green Dam' software, which must be installed from 1st July onwards will filter pornographic content, the industry and information and technology ministry has decided. "It is a scenario worthy of Big Brother that is unfolding in China", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "First comes the arrests of dissident bloggers and now the time for surveillance built into computers themselves".
- CN - China blocks Google website +/-
(FT) Google's global website was blocked in China on Wednesday night, marking an escalation in Beijing's unprecedented crackdown on the world's leading search engine company. Attempts to access Google.com and Gmail from different computers in Beijing started failing after 9pm local time, but the websites could be accessed through proxy servers - normally a sign that a website is being blocked by internet censors. The service in Beijing at least was back after two hours. The blocking came after Google appeared to resist an earlier order to restrict access to foreign websites through Google.cn, its local website.
- CN - China delays internet filter plan +/-
(BBC) China is delaying a controversial plan requiring all new computers sold in the country to be equipped with an internet filtering software, state media says. The filter, called Green Dam Youth Escort, was to have been required from Wednesday, but the ministry of industry said computer makers needed more time. Its planned rollout sparked widespread disapproval inside China, legal challenges and overseas criticism. Officials say it is designed to shield children from pornography and violence. The BBC's Quentin Somerville, in Beijing, says the reversal is an embarrassing climb down for the Chinese government.
- CN - China Internet filter challenged in rights uproar +/-
(Reuters) A Chinese lawyer has demanded a public hearing to reconsider a government demand that all new personal computers carry Internet filtering software, adding to uproar over a plan critics say is ineffective and intrusive. Li Fangping, a Beijing human rights advocate who often embraces controversial causes, has asked the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allow hearings on the "lawfulness and reasonableness" of the demand, which takes effect from July 1 and was publicized only this week.
- CN - Let people decide on Green Dam +/-
(China Daily) The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's latest regulation to preinstall filtering software on all new computers by July 1 has triggered public concern, anger and protest. A survey on Sina.com, the largest news portal in China, showed that an overwhelming 83 percent of the 26,232 people polled said they would not use the software, known as Green Dam. Only 10 percent were in favor. In the Green Dam case, buyers, mostly adults, should be given the complete freedom to decide whether they want the filtering software to be installed in their computers or not. Respect for an individual's right to choice is an important indicator of a free society, depriving them of which is gross transgression. Let's not allow the Green Dam software to block our way into the future.
- CN - OpenNet Initiative releases Green Dam evaluation +/-
(ONI) The news that China will begin requiring all computers sold in the country to include Internet filtering software has sparked waves of commentary on topics ranging from legal challenges to human rights issues to concerns about security and effectiveness. The software, known as Green Dam Youth Escort, ostensibly protects children from harmful information online by filtering out sites that contain prohibited keywords. It will be mandatory on every computer sold in China after July 1, 2009. The OpenNet Initiative worked this week to evaluate the functionality of Green Dam. In "China's Green Dam: The Implications of Government Control Encroaching on the Home PC," we review the functional elements of this new software and explore the possible effects of its implementation on a national scale. We conclude that Green Dam is deeply flawed and poses critical security concerns for users. See also Analysis of the Green Dam Censorware System Scott Wolchok, Randy Yao, and J. Alex Halderman, Computer Science and Engineering Division, The University of Michigan.
- CN - U.S. Firm Says China Stole Software for Web-Filter +/-
(Wall Street Journal) A California company alleged that an Internet-filtering program being pushed by the Chinese government contains stolen portions of the company's software. The company, Solid Oak Software Inc., said it will try to stop PC makers from shipping computers with the software. Mr. Milburn said Solid Oak received an anonymous email stating that Green Dam may contain parts of his company's code. Some lawyers said that because the software will only be sold in China, Solid Oak faces an uphill legal battle, even if it targets U.S. companies.
- CN - US objects to China's net filter +/-
(BBC) The US has called on China to scrap its plan to put net-filtering software on all its computers. It said that China's proposals would violate its free trade obligations, weaken computer security and raise serious censorship concerns. China has demanded that all computers come supplied with software called Green Dam from 1 July.
- DE - Bundestag verabschiedet Gesetz für Web-Sperren +/-
(Heise) Der Bundestag hat mit den Stimmen der großen Koalition den Gesetzentwurf zu Web-Sperren im Kampf gegen die Verbreitung von Kinderpornographie über das Internet abgesegnet (389 Ja-, 128 Nein-Stimmen, 18 Enthaltungen). Das Gesetz, das nach umfangreichen Änderungen den Titel "Gesetz zur Erschwerung des Zugangs zu kinderpornographischen Inhalten in Kommunikationsnetzen" trägt, soll auf drei Jahre befristetet werden. Das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) soll täglich eine Sperrliste erstellen. Alle Zugangsanbieter mit mindestens 10.000 Teilnehmern müssen sie "unverzüglich" und zumindest auf Ebene des Domain Name Systems (DNS) implementieren. Ausgenommen sind Provider, die keine öffentlichen Internetzugänge vermitteln und selbst "vergleichbar wirksame Sperrmaßnahmen" einsetzen. Das BKA darf außereuropäische Kinderporno-Angebote "sofort" in das Filterverzeichnis aufnehmen, wenn ihm eine Löschbarkeit der Serverinhalte in "angemessener Zeit" nicht plausibel erscheint. Informationen an die betroffenen Host-Provider über die inkriminierten Inhalte muss die Polizeibehörde nicht verschicken. Als nächstes muss sich der Bundesrat mit dem Vorhaben befassen. Da es sich nicht um ein zustimmungspflichtiges Gesetz handelt, könnten die Länder höchstens Einspruch erheben und das Inkrafttreten am Tag nach der Verkündigung im Bundesgesetzblatt verhindern. Damit ist aber nicht zu rechnen, da die Koalition vielen Forderungen des Bundesrates Rechnung getragen hat. Das Gesetz könnte so im Sommer oder Herbst bereits Gültigkeit erlangen.
- DE - Familienministerium, Kinderschützer und Europol fordern mehr Web-Sperren +/-
(Heise) Die europäische "Konferenz zum Schutz vor sexueller Gewalt gegen Kinder und Jugendliche mit Fokus auf neue Medien" hat in Berlin eine gemeinsame Abschlusserklärung zum internationalen Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie verabschiedet. In der von Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) initiierten Deklaration wird in 16 Punkten unter anderem die in Deutschland bereits gesetzlich verankerte Zugangserschwerung zu Webseiten mit kinderpornographischen Inhalten als "flankierende Maßnahme" gegen Kinderpornographie bezeichnet. Sie sei "umso effektiver, je mehr Staaten" mitmachten. Die Erklärung wurde unterzeichnet von Europol, dem Bundeskriminalamt, den Kinderschutzorganisationen Innocence in Danger, ECPAT, Save the Children und UNESCO Deutschland. siehe auch Regierung fordert mehr internationale Zusammenarbeit (Der Spiegel).
- DE - Final Declaration of Berlin Conference on Protecting Children +/-
(BMFSFJ) Protecting Children and Young People from Sexual Violence with a Focus on the New Media: Perspectives for Europe. Final Declaration, International Conference, Berlin, 30 June 2009.
- IR - Iranians find ways to bypass Net censors +/-
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. A new generation of Iranians has found ways to bypass the country's Internet restrictions and disseminate details about Iran's internal turmoil in the wake of the recent election. In technical circles, at least, Iran is well-known for erecting one of the world's most restrictive Internet blockades, second only to China in its scope. Certain blogs are cordoned off, politically unacceptable keywords are blocked, and Web sites like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, the BBC, and YouTube remain - at least at the moment - off-limits. But the government's censors have been unable to staunch every data leak.
- UK - Make the unfiltered web illegal, says children's coalition +/-
(Guardian) Internet companies should be forced to filter the web in order to reduce the volume of indecent material being shared online, according to children's charities. In a new "digital manifesto", a leading group of charities including the NSPCC, the Children's Society and the National Children's Bureau argue that the government should legally compel ISPs to screen out images of child abuse and underage sex. Compulsory filtering is just one of a number of recommendations made by the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (CCCIS), which believes that action must be taken now to prevent new technologies from being used to proliferate abusive images online.
- EU - Spanish and Estonian sites sign the Safer Social Networking Principles +/-
(Europa) Tuenti and Rate are popular social networking services for young people in Spain and Estonia. By committing themselves to the "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU" they take a step forward in keeping their online services safe. Signatories to the Principles committed to send to the European Commission a self-declaration, highlighting the way they implement the provisions of the Principles. As of 17 June 2009 the following companies have sent their self-declarations: Arto, Bebo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google, Hyves, Microsoft Europe, MySpace, nasza-klasa.pl, Netlog, One.lt, Piczo, Rate.ee, Skyrock, StudiVZ.de, Sulake/Habbo, Tuenti ,Yahoo! Europe, Zap.lu. The European Commission will monitor the implementation of the Principles and it will publish the results of its assessment in February 2010. The "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU" is a self-regulatory agreement signed on 10 February 2009 by 18 major social networking providers active in Europe. These Principles have been developed by SNS providers in consultation with the European Commission, as part of its Safer Internet Programme, and a number of NGOs, to provide good practice recommendations for the providers of social networking and other user interactive sites, to enhance the safety of children and young people using their services.
- FR - Un label officiel pour faire confiance aux comparateurs de prix +/-
(01net) Un an après l'adoption d'une charte garantissant leur transparence, les comparateurs de prix sur Internet se dotent d'un label validé par les pouvoirs publics.
- US - Online ad groups release new behavioral ad principles +/-
(IDG News Service) Online consumers should get more information about what information is being tracked and collected for the purposes of behavioral advertising, and they should have more control over what data is being collected, according to new privacy principles released by four advertising trade groups. Online advertising networks should also "maintain appropriate physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards" to protect data collected, and they should retain the data "only as long as necessary to fulfill a legitimate business need, or as required by law," the principles said. see also Self-regulatory principles for behavioral advertising (Google Polciy Blog) by Pablo Chavez. Of course, for any self-regulatory effort to be effective, there has to be some kind of enforcement process.