Netizen Report: In Leaked Docs, European Commission Says Tech Companies Should Self-Regulate on Harmful Speech

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. In the wake of public panic surrounding a spike in threats of violence and hate speech online, the European Commission has been preparing new recommendations on how member states should address “illegal online content.” Although they have not been officially submitted, a leaked draft of the recommendations has begun to circulate and is now accessible on the website of European Digital Rights, a coalition group of civil society and human rights groups dedicated to protecting free speech and privacy online. The draft suggests that the Commission will not propose new regulations, but rather envisions private companies like Facebook and Google taking greater responsibility for these issues voluntarily. In a brief analysis of the recommendations, EDRi’s Joe McNamee writes: “On the basis of no new analyses, no new data and
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Netizen Report: Cyber Attacks Sideline Independent Media in Azerbaijan, Philippines

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in internet rights around the world. Technical attacks ranging from 1:1 hacking incidents to full-on DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks have become an increasingly common tactic for silencing critical voices on the internet. Two examples of this threat have emerged in recent weeks in Azerbaijan and the Philippines. Independent news site MeydanTV was one of those targeted in a wave of attacks on the websites, Facebook pages and email accounts of Azerbaijani dissidents and their supporters. Meydan TV, which has provided routine coverage of politics and social movements (despite clear and present risks), had its Facebook account hacked, resulting in the loss of years’ worth of posts and 100,000 followers. The attacks appear to be part of a broad campaign to quell online dissent in Azerbaijan in the lead-up to presidential elections this
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Netizen Report: The Rising Cost of Cameroon’s Internet Shutdowns

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Two digital rights NGOs are suing the Cameroonian government for imposing an internet shutdown on the country’s two Anglophone regions for more than three months in 2017, just before both regions planned to make a symbolic declaration of independence. Besides imposing the long-term internet shutdown (along with several shorter shutdowns of platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp), the government deployed security forces who clashed violently with Anglophone activists. The two NGOs leading the lawsuit, Internet Sans Frontières and Access Now, aim to not only seek reparations for the shutdown, but also help counter the growing trend of using internet shutdowns for political gain. Peter Micek, General Counsel of Access Now, said of the suit, “Cameroon’s courts have the opportunity to set a global precedent in favor of human rights
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Netizen Report: Can Brazil’s Government Use Google to Manipulate Public Opinion?

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.January 12 article on the website of   O Globo, one of Brazil’s most widely read daily newspapers, alleges that Brazil’s government is seeking to work with Google to customize search results for Brazilian users, based on their location and possibly other characteristics. According to the O Globo article, which did not name its sources, the government is hoping to tailor search results related to a controversial pension reform bill, which the Congress is scheduled to vote on in the near term. Google has made no public statements on the matter. O Globo reports that members of President Michel Temer’s administration met Google representatives in early January to discuss the viability of directing users’ queries to official content produced by the government. According to the article: “It would work
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Netizen Report: Yemini Human Rights Blogger Hisham Al-Omeisy Freed

The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Yemeni blogger and journalist Hisham Al-Omeisy was freed and reunited with his family in Yemen on January 15, after being detained for more than five months by Houthi forces. Security officers from the Houthi-controlled National Security Bureau arrested Al-Omeisy in August 2017 in the capital Sana’a. With more than 35,000 Twitter followers, Al-Omeisy had been actively tweeting and blogging about the humanitarian crisis and violations committed by both warring parties. Prior to his arrest, he had analyzed and spoken about the conflict to international media including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, NPR and TRT World. While in custody, he was unable to communicate with a lawyer or his wife and two young sons. Though family and friends rejoice at his return, they worry for the many other Yemenis
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Netizen Report: Iranian Authorities Block International Web Traffic and Messaging Platforms

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Amid the powerful wave of public protests that have taken place across Iran over the past week, authorities have taken firm measures to clamp down on communication and information-sharing over platforms like Telegram and Instagram. On January 2, sources who work at Iran’s internet exchange point told the Center for Human Rights in Iran that the government ordered them to disrupt access to international traffic. This means that international data cannot be accessed at certain periods in Iran. These and other restrictions have been on the rise since December 28, when protests broke out in the northeastern city of Mashhad over unemployment, rising food prices, and charges of wrongdoing directed at both reformist and conservative government leaders. The demonstrations spread to smaller towns and major cities by December 29.
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Netizen Report: Iranian Authorities Block International Web Traffic and Messaging Platforms

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Amid the powerful wave of public protests that have taken place across Iran over the past week, authorities have taken firm measures to clamp down on communication and information-sharing over platforms like Telegram and Instagram. On January 2, sources who work at Iran’s internet exchange point told the Center for Human Rights in Iran that the government ordered them to disrupt access to international traffic. This means that international data cannot be accessed at certain periods in Iran. These and other restrictions have been on the rise since December 28, when protests broke out in the northeastern city of Mashhad over unemployment, rising food prices, and charges of wrongdoing directed at both reformist and conservative government leaders. The demonstrations spread to smaller towns and major cities by December 29.
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