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Category Archives: Censorship

Harvard Berkman Center Releases Amber – Tool for Bloggers and Website Owners

“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to release Amber, a free software tool for WordPress and Drupal that preserves content and prevents broken links. When installed on a blog or website, Amber can take a snapshot of the content of every linked page, ensuring that even if those pages are interfered with or blocked, the original content will be available. “The Web’s decentralization is one of its strongest features,” said Jonathan Zittrain, Faculty Chair of the Berkman Center and George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. “But it also means that attempting to follow a link might not work for any number of reasons. Amber harnesses the distributed resources of the Web to safeguard it. By allowing a form of mutual assistance among Web sites, we can together ensure that information placed online can remain there, even amidst denial of service attacks or broad-based attempts at censorship.” The release of Amber builds on an earlier proposal from Zittrain and Sir Tim Berners-Lee for a “mutual aid treaty for the Internet” that would enable operators of websites to easily bolster the robustness of the entire web. It also aims to mitigate risks associated with increasing centralization of online content. Increasingly fewer entities host information online, creating choke points that can restrict access to web content. Amber addresses this by enabling the storage of snapshots via multiple archiving services, such as the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and Perma.cc…”

World Press Freedom Index 2015: decline on all fronts

“Top of the list, as so often, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark. At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers. France is ranked 38th (up one place), theContinue Reading

New Internet Monitor report: “Openness and Restraint: Structure, Discourse, and Contention in Saudi Twitter”

“Internet Monitor, a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, is delighted to announce the publication of “Openness and Restraint: Structure, Discourse, and Contention in Saudi Twitter,” the eighth in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet freedom. Social, political, and religiousContinue Reading

Onlinecensorship.org Tracks Content Takedowns by Social Media Sites

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched Onlinecensorship.org today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected acrossContinue Reading

Article calls out harassment, disparagement of highly underrepresented female Wikipedia editors

It may well be that nobody knows if you are a dog (canine) on the internet, but if you are a female editor at Wikipedia, you are in a small and disparaged minority, The Atlantic:  “..In 2011, an internal study estimated that less than 10 percent of Wikipedia editors are female. The disparity is evenContinue Reading

CRS – National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background, Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. July 31, 2015. “Five federal statutes authorize intelligence officials to request certain business record information in connection with national security investigations. The authority to issue these national security letters (NSLs) is comparable to theContinue Reading

DOJ Prevailed Over Google on Email Privacy Case

Ryan Gallagher – The Intercept: “The Obama administration fought a legal battle against Google to secretly obtain the email records of a security researcher and journalist associated with WikiLeaks. Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one year’s worth of data from the GmailContinue Reading

Canarywatch.org Reaches 50 Canaries

EFF – “We’re excited to announce that Canarywatch has added its 50th canary: First Look Media, the parent company for The Intercept—the news site created by journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill.EFF-  “Warrant canary” is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that an internet service provider (ISP) has not received legalContinue Reading

Human Rights World Report 2015

“World Report 2015 is Human Rights Watch’s 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. In his keynote, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth reflects on a year so tumultuous, “it can seem as if the world isContinue Reading

Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2015

“The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. Top of the list, as so often, are threeContinue Reading

Libraries After Charlie Hebdo: The Threat of Violence, The Fear of Self-Censorship

Lisa Peet – Library Journal – “Although written texts often evoke strong, sometimes contentious reactions, political cartoons and caricatures can be equally incendiary. According to Barbara Jones, executive director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association. (ALA), “Cartoons are a particular problem in our office—graphic novels and books with cartoonsContinue Reading

Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers

PEN America – “Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers is a new report demonstrating the damaging impact of surveillance by the United States and other governments on free expression and creative freedom around the world. The report’s revelations, based on a survey of nearly 800 writers worldwide, are alarming. Concern aboutContinue Reading