Internet enemies 2011

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Internet enemies 2011

  1. 1. march 2011internet enemies
  2. 2. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 2 world mAp of CyberCensorsHip....................................3 introduCtion..................................................................................................4 internet enemies...................................................................................11 BURMA............................................................................................................................11 ChinA...............................................................................................................................15 CUBA...............................................................................................................................24 iRAn.............................................................................................................................27 nORTh KOREA....................................................................................................................32 SAUDi ARABiA....................................................................................................................35 SyRiA...............................................................................................................................38 TURKMEniSTAn.................................................................................................................43 UzBEKiSTAn.......................................................................................................................46 ViETnAM............................................................................................................................49 under surveillAnCe........................................................................ 54 AUSTRAliA........................................................................................................................ 54 BAhRAin............................................................................................................................56 BElARUS............................................................................................................................59 EgypT...............................................................................................................................62 ERiTREA..........................................................................................................................65 FRAnCE..............................................................................................................................67 liByA ..................................................................................................................................72 MAlAySiA..........................................................................................................................74 RUSSiA.............................................................................................................................77 SOUTh KOREA....................................................................................................................81 SRi lAnKA........................................................................................................................84 ThAilAnD........................................................................................................................86 TUniSiA..............................................................................................................................89 TURKEy............................................................................................................................92 UniTED ARAB EMiRATES.................................................................................................96 VEnEzUElA......................................................................................................................99
  3. 3. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 3 world mAp of CyberCensorsHip
  4. 4. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 4tHe new mediA:between revolution And repression,net solidArity tAkes on CensorsHipArAb springtime: is tHe web Facebook and Twitter served as sound boxes, amplifying the demonstrators’ frustrations and demands. They alsoreACHing new HeigHts? made it possible for the rest of the world to follow the events as they unfolded, despite censorship. The role ofThe year 2010 firmly established the role of social networks cell phones also proved crucial. citizen journalists kept fi-and the Internet as mobilisation and news transmission le-sharing websites supplied with photos and videos, andtools. In 2010 alone, 250 million Internet users joined Fa- fed images to streaming websites.cebook and by the end of the year, the social network had600 million members. In September that year, 175 million The Tunisian authorities had imposed a media blackout onpeople were Twitter users – 100 million more than in the what was going on in Sidi Bouzid. Since the so-called “tra-previous year. ditional” media had failed to cover the protest movements that were rocking the country, at least at their beginningThe Western media had praised the Internet and its “libe- in December, their role as news sources and vectors wasrator” role during the 2009 Iranian revolution. according to taken over by social networks such as Facebook and Twit-The New York Times, the demonstrators “shot tweets” back ter, and news websites like Nawaat.org. Facebook in par-at bullets. however, Twitter was then used mainly by the ticular acted as a platform on which Internet users posteddiaspora. “The Net Delusion,” a theory advanced by Evge- comments, photos and videos. The Bambuser streamingny morozov, an Internet expert, casts doubt on the Internet’s site also had its moment of glory. Everyone was able torole as a democratisation tool. although the Internet is cer- track the events as they happened. The online calls fortainly used by dissidents, it is also used by the authorities to demonstrations spread to other countries: Egypt, Libya,relay regime propaganda and enforce a police state. Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Syria, Iraq, morocco, and even china and Vietnam, etc.The Internet remains above all a tool used for the better orthe worse. In the most closed countries, it creates a spaceof freedom which would not otherwise exist. Its potential Control 2.0 gAins strengtHto disseminate news irritates dictators and eludes traditio- CEnSORShip AnD REpRESSiOn inTEnSiFynal censorship methods. Some regimes use it – mainly onFacebook and Twitter – to monitor dissidents and infiltrate authoritarian regimes’ latest strategy is no longer to usetheir networks. pure and simple blocking as it is to use, but rather online tampering and propaganda. Naturally countries such asNonetheless, the terms “Twitter revolution” and “Fa- china, Saudi arabia and Iran are still practicing strict filte-cebook revolution” have become watchwords with the ring, which they tend to tighten during periods of unrest,events that rocked the arab world in late 2010 and early notably with regard to micro-blogging sites and social2011. The “online” movements were coupled with “offline” networks. meanwhile, their netizens keep on learning newdemonstrations, hastening the fall of dictators. The Tuni- ways to circumvent censorship. china in particular hassian and Egyptian uprisings turned out to be, first and fo- reinforced its “Electronic Great Wall” and is tackling theremost, human revolutions facilitated by the Internet and anonymity of Internet and cell phone users. Uzbekistan,social networks.
  5. 5. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 5Syria, Vietnam – to name but a few – have enhanced their “father of the Iranian blogosphere,” received the most se-censorship to stifle the echoes of the revolutions agitating vere prison sentence: 19.5 years.the arab world. In this “control 2.0” era, several tested methods are usedcurrently, one out of every three Internet users is unable simultaneously by the authorities to prevent dissidentsto access a free Internet. Net censorship is becoming from ruling the web and to maintain better control over thethe norm. around 60 countries are implementing some regime’s disinformation.form of Internet censorship, which entails either contentfiltering or netizen harassment. Others may well join theirranks in the months and years to come. For the first time, broAder reCourse toBangladesh has blocked access to certain sites because propAgAndA And mAnipulAtionof videos deemed offensive to the Prophet. cambodia iscensuring news sites. First, the use of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cy- berattacks has become commonplace, as has phishing,Blogger and netizen arrests have continued and remained which involves stealing user passwords. One of the epi-at the same level in 2010 as in 2009. as of this writing, 119 sodes which received the most media coverage is un-netizens are behind bars, as compared to 120 in 2009. al- doubtedly the pirating of Google’s website and those ofthough 2010 saw the release of several popular bloggers some 20 other companies in china in late 2009 and earlysuch as Kareem amer in Egypt a few days after serving his 2010. Vietnam also uses cyberattacks to muzzle dissidentsentence, and adnan hadjizade and Emin milli in azerbai- opinions. Independent news websites based abroad anddjan, the authorities are finding new ways to hinder blog- those which discussed bauxite mining were targeted ingers’ and cyberdissidents’ freedom of action. The number 2010. Burma not only attempted to immobilise several in-of false releases – such as that of mongol cause activist dependent online media, but also tried to shift the blamehada, in china – or forced disappearances, is growing, for the bandwidth speed slowdown on hackers actingand so are house arrests. as for self-censorship, which is against the country’s interests. another weapon used byhard to quantify, it appears to have gained ground. dissidents in Iran was the “Green cyber army,” which at- tacked some government websites.The world’s biggest prisons for netizensremain: china (77 netizens), Vietnam As of tHis writing, The “hackivists anonymous” group paralysed the Tunisian president’s and(17) and Iran (11). a new wave of arrests 119 netizens Are parliament’s website in January 2011in Vietnam preceded the January 2011communist Party congress. The chine- beHind bArs as part of its “Operation: Tunisia.”se regime launched a series of arrests In 2010, authoritarian regimes soughtin February 2011 following online calls for demonstrations to control their country’s Internet connection speeds bytriggered by the arab uprisings. The authorities feared that slowing down bandwidth during elections or periods ofthey would spread. For the first time in china, Twitter users social unrest. connection speed became the barometer ofwere arrested for their posts on the social network. a country’s political and social situation. Iran has become an expert in this technique, and used it just before andOne such prisoner is no other than Liu Xiaobo – the win- during every demonstration organised by the opposition.ner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the only Nobel Peace Ben ali’s and mubarak’s divested regimes also resorted toPrize laureate currently in jail. The announcement of this it. Often such disruptions are accompanied by jamming ornews in December 2010 resulted in an unusually violent shutting down cell phone networks in the areas concer-crackdown by the authorities: any reference to this award ned, such as Tahrir Square in cairo.on micro-blogging sites is being censored and they arequestioning or placing under house arrest hundreds of another Iranian strategy which proved successful in Be-supporters and friends of the human rights activist and larus during the demonstrations over the re-election offreedom defender. President Lukashenko was redirecting users of opposition websites (or those critical of the regime) to pseudo-sitesIn Iran, imprisoned netizens were sentenced to death for with similar, yet more pro-government, content.the first time. Blogger hossein Derakshan, known as the
  6. 6. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 6In addition, every government seeking to control the net certain regimes sometimes intentionally maintain infras-has vested itself with a cyberpolice force equal to its am- tructural problems to keep their populations from havingbitions and which, particularly on social networks, closely Internet access. The 2011 commissioning of the fibre opticmonitors dissident activities. It has also deployed groups undersea cable linking cuba to Venezuela, which expan-of “sponsored” bloggers paid to post online pro-regime ded bandwidth potential, therefore will eliminate one of thecomments, thereby eclipsing critical opinions. russian cuban regime’s excuses about access problems.brigade and “50-cent party” bloggers are experts at this.Initially, the authorities had used repression to counteract North Korea, on the other hand, launched its own pagestheir opponents’ use of the Internet, but now they are dis- on the online social networks in 2010, and is said to haveplaying their own content. initiated its first connections to the World Wide Web. The latter are apparently very limited, however, and are beinginTERnET DiSRUpTiOnS: A DRASTiC AnD COSTly MEASURE run by the regime for propaganda purposes.Extreme measures which ultimately failed were taken inEgypt, and then in Libya, to try to put an end to protest tHe new vs. trAditionAl mediA:movements against the incumbent leaders. In the evening is symbiosis An option?of 27 January 2011, Egypt virtually cut off Internet accessfor five days, causing its economy a loss of at least USD There is truly no longer any reason for the long-lasting90 million, according to the Organisation for European gap between the new and the traditional media. In theco-Operation and Development (OEcD), which shows to last few months, they have proven to be increasingly com-what extent the Internet is an integral part of the global plementary. according to BBc Global News Direct Petereconomy and essential to a country’s economy. In Libya, horrocks, it is imperative for journalists to learn how tothe authorities first severed Internet access on 19 Februa- use social networks: “It is not an option.” The new mediary, then maintained strong Internet disruptions after that have become key tools for journalists. at the same time,and cut it off again on by flooding social networks3 march. It was not thefirst time that Internet CertAin regimes sometimes with news and pictures, arab revolutionaries wereaccess was totally sus- intentionAlly mAintAin also seeking to ensure thatpended in a country.This occurred in 2005 infrAstruCturAl problems the international media co- vered news events in orderin Nepal and in 2007 in to keep tHeir populAtions from to put pressure on their go-Burma. however, suchmeasures stir up strong HAving internet ACCess. vernments and on the inter- national community.reactions worldwideand further exacerbate demonstrators’ resentment. It also News staff now use Twitter and Facebook to find ideas forinduces the latter to resort to more creative ways to freely news stories, gather first-hand accounts and visuals, anddistribute information, despite the odds. Netizens have to disseminate their own articles in order to expand theireither resumed using earlier Internet methods (modem, readership. The shelf life of an article no longer ends withfax, etc.) or have adopted the latest generation of techno- the printing of a newspaper; it now has an extended lifelogies (phone-based tweet system set up by Google and online.Twitter). according to a study conducted on print and web journalistsBurma learned its lessons from the 2007 Internet suspen- by the cision research company and George Washingtonsion and undertook a broad revamping of its national plat- University, 56% of the respondents responded that socialform, to make certain that access providers would provide media were “important or somewhat important” for resear-distinctly separate services to the population, the govern- ching and writing the stories they wrote. Blogs were still thement and the military, thereby ensuring that the junta will main source for the respondents (89%). micro-blogging wasbe prepared, in the next crisis, to cut off Internet access to a source for 69% of the web journalists. however, these jour-its citizens without being directly affected itself. nalists remain cautious: 84% of them were aware of reliability problems with information gathered from the social media.
  7. 7. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 7The instantaneous nature of social networks and streaming and to remove the names of civilians and local informantstools permit real-time coverage of critical events such as from said documents in order not to put them at risk.natural disasters (earthquake in chili, floods in Pakistan),demonstrations (in Tunisia, Egypt, etc.), but makes media The series of close to 400,000 confidential documents be-professionals’ verification work tougher, yet essential. It is longing to the U.S. army concerning the war in Iraq whichsometimes hard to separate the true from the false, which WikiLeaks released helped to expose the magnitude ofis why it is important to form a network of reliable contacts the crimes which coalition forces and their Iraqi allies hadwho can corroborate the “scoops” made by citizen journa- committed against civilian populations since 2003. repor-lists or ordinary netizens. ters Without Borders denounced the pressure which U.S. and Iraqi authorities have placed on the website and as-any witness of a trivial or historical event becomes a ked these two governments to demonstrate transparencychance informant. Journalists are no longer the only ones and to reconsider their document classification methods.who filter information – their work is also being scrutinised Strong pressures are also being placed on WikiLeaks’ col-by their readers. laborators. Founder Julien assange has been repeatedly threatened. U.S. army Private Bradley manning, suspec-Numerous unknown factors persist in the relations between ted of being one of WikiLeaks’ sources, has been held inthe new and traditional media. certain newspapers such solitary confinement since his arrest in may 2010 and isas the Washington Post prohibit their journalists from offe- facing life imprisonment. after being subjected to cyberat-ring their personal opinion on the Internet, out of fear that tacks and being dropped by several host sites, WikiLeaksit might be interpreted as the newspaper’s editorial po- called upon its worldwide supporters on 5 Decemberlicy. The New York Times and reuters have issued inter- 2010 to create mirror websites. reporters Without Bordersnal guidelines for using social networks. They encourage decided to host one of them on its website. In Decem-their journalists to use them, but also make sure they are ber 2010 a number of media and websites – including Leaware of the inherent risks involved. reuters specifies that monde, El Pais and al-Quds al-arabi in morocco – wereno scoops should be posted on social networks because censored for having relayed the cables. access to thethe former are reserved mainly for press agency clients. website is notably blocked in china and in Thailand. TheJournalists are free to share their articles online, create an site is accessible in Pakistan, but some pages containingonline network, invite comments from readers and post wires about Pakistan are blocked.live tweets on the events they cover. however, they mustobtain their supervisor’s permission to open a professio- reporters Without Borders wrote to the U.S. attorney Ge-nal account and they are required to maintain separate neral to ask him not to prosecute Julian assange and Wiki-personal and professional accounts. Leaks’ collaborators in view of the fact that the publishing by WikiLeaks and its five associated media of informationwikileAks: inevitAble – even classified – in an effort to inform the public is a ac- tivity promoting the right to information guaranteed by thetrAnspArenCy First amendment.This collaboration between the new and traditional mediais exemplified by changes in WikiLeaks’ strategy. Initially internet: tHe “i love you –focused on the massive release of unedited confiden- me neitHer” quAndAry oftial documents, the website gradually developed par-tnerships with several international media leaders ranging demoCrACiesfrom The New York Times to Le monde, and The Guardian In a historic speech on January 2010, U.S. Secretaryto al-Jazeera. This strategy allowed it to combine the new of State hillary clinton referred to online freedom of ex-media’s assets (instantaneousness and a virtually unlimi- pression as the cornerstone of american diplomacy – ated publishing capacity) with those of the traditional me- position that she reasserted in February 2011 in an ad-dia (information checking and contextualisation, thanks to dress in which she reminded her audience that “On thejournalists specialised in the issues covered). more than spectrum of Internet freedom, we place ourselves on the120 journalists of diverse nationalities worked together to side of openness.” Nonetheless, the principles raised bydecipher the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks,
  8. 8. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 8hillary clinton conflict with the treatment reserved for Wi- which may jeopardise the full exercise of journalists’ pro-kiLeaks. Several days prior to WikiLeaks’ publication of fessions and the transmission of information.the documents, the Pentagon had asked the media “not tofacilitate the leak” of classified documents concerning the Italy, on the other hand, attempted to regulate the postingwar in Iraq, claiming that it would endanger national secu- of videos online by means of a march 2010 decree. Everyrity. american officials made some very harsh statements website which regularly disseminates videos must nowabout the site’s founder. Judicial action may still be taken submit a “Statement of activity” to the Italian Telecom-against the website. according to hillary clinton, “the Wi- munications authority (aGcOm). This decree’s scope ofkiLeaks incident began with an act of theft” of government application was ultimately reduced to online television sta-documents. however she stated that “WikiLeaks does not tions and no longer applies to traditional websites, blogs,challenge our commitment to Internet freedom.” search engines, or electronic versions of dailies, magazi- nes and online betting.Security trends tend to affect the web. Blackberry makerrIm is facing growing pressures from the Gulf States, as The principle of Net neutrality seems to be increasinglywell as from Indonesia and India, who are trying to gain at risk. In December 2010 in the United States, the Fe-access to the content of its secured communications on deral communications commission (Fcc) adopted va-the pretext of the fight against terrorism. rious measures concerning net neutrality which centred around two principles: thatapart from national secu- nonetHeless, tHe prinCiples Internet service providersrity and cybersecurity, other must ensure transparencyproblems are persuading rAised by HillAry Clinton regarding their Internet ma-democratic governments torelativise their commitment ConfliCt witH tHe treAtment nagement and the prohibi- tion of any discrimination into a free Internet. reserved for wikileAks the manner “legal” contents are transmitted. however,The Internet will be discussed during the next G20 mee- such measures could leave the door open for the filteringting, not from the vantage point of freedom of expression, of illegal websites and thereby signal the end of the unli-but of protecting intellectual property. mited Internet. Unlike President Obama, the republican opposition opposes these measures and has challengedIn the name of copyright protection, the French govern- the legitimacy of the commission’s authority to rule on thisment adopted a law which makes it possible, after issuing issue. In France, on the pretext of potential traffic satura-warnings, to suspend the Internet connection of an indi- tion, the minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Eco-vidual suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted fi- nomy is calling for a regulation of Internet traffic and forles online. This “graduated response” scheme, known as abandoning the Net’s absolute neutrality principle.the “three strikes” and introduced by the hadopi law, hasinspired other countries, notably the United Kingdom withits Digital Economy act. Spain’s Sinde Law also provides CorporAte soCiAl responsibility:measures for website blocking subject to a court order. more timely tHAn everIn addition, the French Parliament passed an internal se- Google has kept its promises and has stopped censuringcurity law (“Loppsi 2”) which provides for an administrative its search engine’s results in china. Google.cn users arefiltering of the web – a dangerous principle – in the name now being redirected to their hong Kong-based website.of the fight against child pornography. The australian fil- Despite the boldness of this move and the cold receptiontering system, which has already been tested, has been it received from chinese authorities, the company mana-put on hold, even though the government has not totally ged to get its chinese operating licence renewed in theabandoned this project. summer of 2010.The highly controversial hungarian media law could have microsoft and Yahoo! continue to practice self-censorshipsome bad consequences on online media and bloggers in china. however, microsoft, after realising that the fightbecause it can impose penalties and contains provisions to prevent the pirating of its software in russia was a pre-
  9. 9. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 9text used by the authorities to justify the seizure of compu- arabia, Burma, china, North Korea, cuba, Iran, Uzbekistan,ters belonging to the media and to NGOs, took measures Syria, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. They often compound In-to supply the latter with pro bono licences. These three ternet repression with strict filtering, access problems, cy-U.S. companies have signed the code of conduct of the berdissident surveillance and online propaganda.Global Network Initiative, a coalition of NGOs, companiesand investment funds seeking to promote good practices Tunisia and Egypt have been dropped from the “Enemiesin countries which are censoring the Net. of the Internet” list and added to the “countries under Surveillance” list The lifting of censorship in Tunisia andFor the first time in Egypt, companies such as Facebook, the collapse of mubarak’s regime in Egypt are encoura-Twitter and Google have set aside their reticence and ging signs for the future of online freedom of expression inopenly sided with protecting online freedom of expres- these countries, a right which ranked high in demonstra-sion. Facebook believes that “no one should be denied tors’ demands. Nonetheless, vigilance will be needed untilaccess to the Internet.” Google and Twitter set up a sys- the censorship and surveillance apparatus has been dis-tem to enable telephone tweeting in order to bypass net mantled. The authorities must demonstrate transparencyblocking in the country. YouTube made its political news in this regard.channel citizenTube available to Egyptians who want tocirculate their videos. Users do not run much risk on the among the countries still “under surveillance”: australiasite and should benefit in terms of image capabilities. is still considering implementing a dangerous mandatory filtering system. Bahrain is vacillating between intensifyingIn the last few months, cell phones – particularly during filtering and releasing bloggers. In Belarus, elections havethe arab Springtime – cell phone communications have ushered in a new era of repression against the online me-been the focus of harsher controls. In countries such as dia. South Korea is tightening censorship of North KoreanLibya and Egypt, telephone carriers have been forced to propaganda and maintaining a repressive legislative arse-occasionally suspend their services in some locations and nal. In the United arab Emirates, filtering and surveillanceto transmit SmS to the population. In early February 2011, are getting worse. In Eritrea, the police state is keepingVodafone, mobinil and Etisalat, pressured by the army, its citizens away from the web and monitoring netizens. Insent their Egyptian customers an SmS informing them of malaysia, bloggers – a more credible source of news thana demonstration in support of hosni mubarak being held the traditional media – are under constant pressure. Inthat day. The headquarters of Western foreign companies russia, the government is trying to shape the increasinglyapparently protested … after the fact. influential russian net to suit its own purposes. Sri Lankan online journalists and media are still victims of violence. InThese issues do not just concern companies in the new Thailand, the spring 2010 crisis has had negative conse-technologies and telecommunications sectors. PayPal’s quences for online freedom of speech. and in Turkey,online payment service, based in the United States, de- thousands of websites are still blocked and legal proce-cided to suspend WikiLeaks’ account, claiming that its dures against online journalists continue unabated.terms of use prohibit using its service “to encourage,promote, or facilitate any illegal activity.“ Visa and master- This year, several countries were added to the countriescard made the same decision and suspended payments under Surveillance list, including France, which enacted adirected to the site until they have the results of internal law providing for the administrative filtering of the Net andinvestigations. the “graduated response” procedure as part of the autho- rities’ idea of a “civilised” Internet. The year 2010 was diffi- cult for several online media and their journalists who hadtHe enemies of tHe internet to endure office break-ins, court summons, and pressure to identify their sources.2011 list: new Additions And Venezuela was also placed “under surveillance.” Whi-repeAt offenders le there is still free access to the Internet in the country despite a climate of increasing tension between the lea-The most net-repressive countries which deserve the label dership and the dissident media, censorship tools are“Enemies of the Internet” are, once again this year, Saudi now in place in the form of an Internet gag law and the
  10. 10. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 10growing use of self-censorship. Discussion forums are inthe authorities’ line of fire.colonel Kadhafi’s Libya also joins this list. amidst the cha-os, the regime has been trying to implement a nation-wideinformation blackout in an attempt to silence any newsabout the uprising and the way it was quashed.This is by no means an exhaustive list of all attacks ononline freedom of expression. In 2010, the Pakistan regi-me’s attitude has raised much concern. a judge had or-dered Facebook to be fully blocked after it posted videosconsidered disrespectful to the Prophet. The authoritiesreversed their decision, but promised to keep monitoringthe web. Kazakhstan will need to be observed during therun-up to the presidential election.as of this writing, protest movements continue to sweepthrough the arab world and spread to other countries.They may give rise to new online mobilisations and tocrackdowns by certain governments. In 2011, the Internetand new media are still experiencing shock waves fromhaving been caught up in the momentum of all these poli-tical changes. The Internet has entered turbulent times inwhich its impact, power and frailties are likely to be ma-gnified.Lucie Morillon,responsible of the New media DeskJean-François Julliard, General Secretary
  11. 11. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 11 burmAinternet enemyDomain name: .mmPopulation: 53 414 374Internet-users: 300 000Average charge for one hour’s connection at a cybercafé: about 0,55 US$Average monthly salary: about 27,32 US$Number of imprisoned netizens: 2Burma took drastic measures in 2010 to reorganise the country’s Internet and to arm itself with the means, at the next signof a crisis, to cut off its population’s Web access without affecting official connections. Prior to the November 2010 elections– the first in twenty years – censors resorted to massive crackdowns, intimidation and cyberattacks to reduce the risk of anynegative coverage. Tampering is now at its height.widespreAd net CensorsHip ders acquired censorship equipment and hardware from the chinese subsidiary of the Franco-american companyin burmA alcatel-Lucent. On march 24, 2010, reporters Without Borders and the Sherpa association sent a letter to alca-The regime is enforcing harsh and widespread Internet tel-Lucent’s management to ask for explanations, notablycensorship. The Burmese firewall restricts users to an in- about the sale in Burma Lawful Interception Integratedtranet purged of any anti-government content. Blocked hardware. The company denied this claim, insisting thatwebsites include exiled Burmese media, proxies and it merely supplied telecom infrastructures within the fra-other censorship circumvention tools, certain international mework of a chinese-funded project.media, and blogs and sites offering scholarships abroad. Yet in an article appearing in the may 19-25, 2008 issueIn an interview granted to rolling Stone magazine, ame- of the newspaper myanmar Times, a spokesman for therican hacker and WikiLeaks member Jacob applebaum, state-controlled ISP hanthawaddy confirmed that the al-exposed the scope of the censorship by showing that only catel’s chinese subsidiary did indeed provide a website118 of the country’s 12,284 IP addresses are not blocked filtering and surveillance system.by the regime and have access to the World Wide Web.he also showed how vulnerable the network is the eventof attacks. outstAnding bloggers Despite the regime’s iron grip on the Internet, the numbercensors may also be counting on the complicity of Wes- of bloggers keeps rising: there are now 1,500 of them, 500tern companies. Some Burmese Internet service provi- of whom blog regularly. When Burmese bloggers based
  12. 12. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 12abroad are included, this number totals 3,000. Every year, human lives and property caused by hurricane Nargis. hereporters Without Borders and the Burma media asso- is serving a 35-year prison sentence for violating the Elec-ciation reward Burma’s best bloggers. Thousands of Bur- tronics act.mese netizens voted for their favourite blogs, and in lateFebruary 2010 in chiang mai, Thailand, a dozen of them On 10 November 2008, blogger Nay Phone Latt (http://received a prize for the best Burmese blogs. myanmar www.nayphonelatt.net/), who owns three cybercafés inE-Books (http://burmesebooks.wordpress.com) was vo- rangoon, was given a jail sentence of 20 years and sixted the best general category blog. The prize for the best months for having described on his blog how difficult it isnews blog went to The Power of Fraternity: (http://photayo- for young Burmese people to express themselves freely,keking.org). especially since the autumn 2007 demonstrations. accor- ding to reporters Without Borders’ sources, Nay PhoneIn the months prior to the November 2010 elections, some Latt was allowed to see his parents on 7 October 2010.bloggers stepped up to the plate by keeping their compa- The young blogger is said to have been deprived of histriots informed about the elections and the issues at stake. walking privileges for five months, and to have been confi-They occasionally disseminated news about the candida- ned to his cell. he is allegedly being held in a prison inte contenders and the electoral laws – critical information south-eastern Burma, along with 10 other political priso-rarely relayed by the traditional press, which is subject to ners.stringent pre-run censorship. From his prison, Nay Phone Latt – who has been deniedDespite the slow connections and risks incurred, Burmese the care his health problems require – has nonethelessInternet users are still circumventing censorship, reading managed to continue his fight for freedom of expression.the foreign press, networking on Facebook or simply en- Blogger Kaung myat hlaing (“Nat Soe”), who has alreadyjoying themselves online. been given a two-year prison sentence, and is wrongfully accused of having participated in the april 2010 WatertHree netizens Are still Festival bombings, was handed an additional 10-year sentence under the Electronics act. This young man of 22lAnguisHing in prison was interrogated for 10 days and deprived of food, water and sleep. he admitted being a member of the dissidentJournalists who collaborate with the exiled Burmese me- group “Best Fertilizer.” he is charged with having takendia and bloggers are in the authorities’ line of fire, particu- part in poster campaigns calling for the release of Dawlarly since the 2007 Saffron revolution and the internatio- aung San Suu Kyi and of other political prisoners.nal outcry which followed the mass circulation of imagesof the ensuing crackdown. The authorities are makingunabashed use of a particularly repressive law adopted in reConfiguring tHe burmese1996, the Electronics act, to regulate the Internet, TV and internet beHind A smokesCreenradio. This law notably prohibits the import, possession,and use of a modem without official permission, under pe- In October 2010, the Burmese junta-controlled Yatanar-nalty of a 15-year prison sentence for “undermining state pon Teleport company announced the launching of thesecurity, national unity, culture, the national economy and country’s “first national Web portal,” a would-be Siliconlaw and order.” Valley to be called “Yadanabon cyber city.”The Burmese military junta considers netizens enemies of In an exclusive report compiled by local sources entitledthe state. Three of them are in prison for having expressed “National Web portal – Development or repression?” re-themselves freely on the Web. porters Without Borders and the Burma media association express concerns that the new Burmese Internet, billed byZarganar, a blogger and comedian known as the “Bur- the government as a huge step forward, may actually bemese chaplin,” was arrested on 4 June 2008 after having used to bolster the surveillance and repression alreadytestified to foreign media outlets – and notably to the BBc imposed on Burmese netizens, while reserving the bene-World Service – about the Burmese government’s poor fits of faster and improved access for members of the re-management practices and guilty silence over the loss of gime.
  13. 13. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 13The deployment of fibre-optic cables will not only allow In-ternet access but also Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) unreliAble internet ConneC-and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services because tions in tHe run up to tHe 7it will increase available bandwidth. november 2010: slowdowns,Burmese Internet users will be allocated to three Internet CyberAttACks And tAmperingservice providers, instead of the two they now have. Onewill be reserved for the Burmese defence ministry, one for The elections initiated by the military junta had no credibi-the government and one for the public. Under this system, lity, mainly because of the Burmese and foreign media’sthe government will be able to totally or partially block the lack of freedom. Despite the constraints, the Burmesepopulation’s access without affecting government or mili- media did their best and managed to offer the public atary connections. During the 2007 Safran revolution, sin- variety of news and analyses unmatched since the lastce all three “categories” were using the same providers, elections in 1990. however, with all the preceding cen-when the authorities disconnected the Internet to prevent sorship, intimidations, detentions and expulsions of forei-civilians from sharing photos of the ensuing crackdown, gn journalists, stricter liberticidal laws and unreliable Inter-members of the military and government were also cut off. net connections, the conditions for a free election were farWhat is more, he new architecture will allow the defence from present.ministry to directly control Internet traffic at the point ofentry into Burma. The military junta made it a requirement for political par- ties wishing to publish information or their programmesThe government and military will be likely to enjoy faster to first have them approved by the Press Scrutiny andand better Internet performance than the average user, registration Board within 90 days after registering withsince ISPs will get an “equal share” of bandwidth in each the Election commission. The regime announced on 17of the three categories, even though the number of users march 2010 that the publishing of pamphlets, newspa-will vary greatly from one ISP to the next. The cost of the pers, books or other election-related printed material, nownew service, which will be passed on to the public, may falls under the 1962 Printers and Publishers registrationalso curb any growth in the Internet penetration rate, cur- act, which provides for sentences of up to seven years inrently at about 2% in a country in which the average salary prison for disseminating information which is critical of theis 27 U.S. dollars and Internet cafés charge 54 cents per government or disturbs public “tranquillity.”connection hour. a drastic slowdown in Internet connections was noted inThis national portal will supposedly offer an email service early October, more than a month after the elections, indi-(Ymail) and a chat service (Ytalk) as alternatives to Gmail cating the authorities’ resolve to tighten their control overand Gtalk, making it even easier for the authorities to mo- information. "I can no longer connect to my Gmail accountnitor users’ online communications. using proxies. access to all websites based abroad has become terribly slow,” a rangoon-based journalist toldLastly, undetectable Internet “sniffers” will be placed on reporters Without Borders. according to Irrawaddy ma-the server reserved for the public to retrieve diverse confi- gazine, the capital’s cybercafés had closed in advance ofdential data. The military junta’s ability to spy on netizens the elections.and dissidents, thereby restricting freedom of speecheven further, will be greatly enhanced. This slowdown began after cyberattacks in the form of dis- tributed denial of service (DDoS) affected several exiledThe Internet access difficulties experienced by local In- Burmese media websites such as Irrawaddy and the De-ternet users during recent key events attest to the new mocratic Voice of Burma (DVB).portal’s timely arrival. Just a few days prior to the legislative elections, the Bur- mese Internet network experienced a massive cyberat- tack. The attacks began around 25 October 2010 and gradually increased in number and severity, causing the country to be regularly disconnected from the Web for se-
  14. 14. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 14veral days. They continued to occur until the elections Daw aung San Suu Kyi is aware that her communicationswere over, which made it extremely difficult for journalists will be closely monitored and that the regime may decideand netizens to transmit videos and photos and to do at any time to suspend her Internet access. She has al-their jobs. legedly stated that she has nothing to hide.The government shifted the blame to hackers whom theyclaimed launched the DdoS attacks on the country, butaccording to Burmese sources contacted by reportersWithout Borders, most of the attacks were allegedly laun-ched by government agents to justify cutting off the Inter-net. The DDoSs were aimed at Internet service providermyanmar Post and Telecommunications and constituted –according to the american IT security firm arbor Networks– an onslaught ”several hundred times” more than enoughto overwhelm the country’s terrestrial and satellite network.They reportedly reached 10 to 15 GB of data per second,a magnitude much greater than in the highly publicised2007 attacks against Georgia and Estonia.During the 2007 Safran revolution, Burmese netizens hadcirculated news and videos on the authorities’ bloody crac-kdown on monks and demonstrators. The regime subse-quently cut off Internet access for several days. connec-tions are also slowed on key dates such as 8 august – theanniversary of the 1988 political uprising – and during the2009 trial of dissident Daw aung San Suu Kyi. after beingreleased on 13 November 2010, the latter announced thatshe intends to set up a website to showcase her viewsand those of her political party, the National League forDemocracy (NLD)dAw Aung sAn suu kyi:free And ConneCted?The well-known Burmese dissident and recipient of theNobel Peace Prize, who was cut off from all means of com-munication during her years under house arrest, now hasan Internet connection in her home via the state-run ISP,Yatanarpon Teleport. She has declared that she intendsto make full use of the Internet and social networks, parti-cularly the Twitter micro-blogging site, in order to more ef-fectively reach Burmese youths in the country and abroadand to hold online discussions. This latter initiative mayprove challenging to achieve right now due to the poorquality of the Internet infrastructure. as for the dissident’scollaborators, they remain discreet about their role in de-veloping the NLD’s online network, as they are subject toa severe penalty under the Electronics act.
  15. 15. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 15 CHinAinternet enemyDomain name : .cnPopulation : 1 340 000 000Number of Internet users : 457 000 000Average charge for one hour’s connection at a cybercafé : around 2 U.S. dollarsAverage monthly salary : between 220 and 300 U.S. dollarsNumber of imprisoned netizens : 77The Chinese government, exasperated that dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and concerned aboutspill-over effects from the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, has drastically tightened its grip on the Web in order to trans-form it from a protest medium to a tool for political control. Any attempt to challenge the country’s stability has been quashedby harsh repression. The regime is taking aim at social networks, particularly micro-blogging websites and online anonymity.New laws now regulate the Web, while Chinese Internet users continue to discuss banned topics and to mock censors.CensorsHip to ensure known to use the pretext of fighting pornography or the crackdown against the “dissemination of false news” toregime stAbility justify the filtering. The man who designed the Great Firewall, Fang Binxing,ThE “gREAT FiREwAll”: READy TO SpRing inTO ACTiOn who is also President of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, defended his creation in early 2011,china has the world’s most consummate censorship sys- stating to the newspaper Global Times that censorship mettem. The Great Firewall combines UrL filtering with the an “urgent” need. although he had opened a micro-blogcensoring of keywords considered “sensitive,” ranging account on sina.com, the account was closed a few daysfrom “Tiananmen” to the “Dalai Lama” to “democracy” later after thousands of netizens left comments blamingand “human rights.” censorship is institutionalised and him for the control measures he had made possible.managed by several ministries and administrations. In ad-dition to filtering UrLs, the authorities are monitoring the The main news sites, such as the chinese state-controlledlargest blog and micro-blogging platforms, from which media, regularly receive oral and written directives fromthey are removing numerous posts and comments. as- the Department of Propaganda specifying what topicssistance from foreign companies – mainly in the form of can, or cannot, be covered and under what conditions.Yahoo ! and microsoft self-censored search engines – is For example, the Department’s directives of January 2011making their job that much easier. The regime has been imposed an information blackout on social and economic
  16. 16. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 16problems and specifically on price increases, anti-go- censorship does not stop there. On 20 February, thevernment demonstrations and the real estate market, to authorities deployed security forces to Beijing and Shan-“reassure” the chinese people and defend the regime’s ghai following an online call for a “Jasmin revolution” andconcept of “fair growth.” arrested people suspected of organizing it. Since then, the term “Jasmin” has joined the chinese Internet’s longTighTEning CEnSORShip in ThE nAME and ever-growing list of censored words, such as “Tuni-OF nATiOnAl SECURiTy sia,” “Egypt,” and “democracy.”On 29 april 2010, china adopted an amendment to the CEnSORS ATTACK ThE nOBEl pEACE pRizEState Secrets Law which requires Internet and telecomcompanies to cooperate with the authorities on matters The authorities’ indignation over the awarding of the Nobelrelating to national security. Such companies must now Peace Prize to intellectual dissident Liu Xiaobo has trans-block the transmission of vaguely defined state secrets lated into harsher online censorship and acts of intimida-over their networks, keep connection logs and alert the tion against supporters of this human rights activist.competent authorities to any possible violations. Theymay also be forced to suppress certain contents. The government reacted by doing everything it could to censure the topic on the Web in order to prevent chineseThis amendment thus seems to be yet another warning citizens from becoming aware of the historical import ofsent to netizens to induce them to practice more self-cen- this event. chinese media coverage of the awarding ofsorship, and an attempt to give the international commu- the Nobel Peace Prize to the jailed dissident has beennity the illusion of legality, since companies are already dominated by the Beijing authorities’ hostile reaction. Thecooperating with the authorities in matters concerning na- national TV network and most of the newspapers – eventional security. the most liberal – did not even mention it, and for good reason: on 8 October 2010, when the laureate’s name wasCEnSORED REVOlUTiOnS announced, the newsrooms received a clear order from the Department of Propaganda that it was “forbidden toThe Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and their potential relay information” about the topic (不能跨范围转载). a fewdomino effect are greatly troubling to chinese leaders, chinese foreign-language media, including the English-who took prompt measures to restrict online discussions language version of the nationalist newspaper Global Ti-on such topics, in order to prevent the population from mes, and the French and English editions of the People’sbeing influenced by them. Daily reported the government’s reaction. The Youth Daily ran an article headlined "chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo no-On 28 January 2011, three days after the Egyptian upri- minated: an insult to the Nobel Peace Prize." Foreign TVsing began, china began censoring netizens’ searches programmes are still being jammed whenever they broad-by blocking results linked to the keyword “Egypt” on the cast any news about Liu Xiaobo.micro-blogging Twitter website and its chinese equi-valents, sina.com and sohu.com. In response to this Internet censorship has not abated. On some of the majorkeyword, users receive the following message: "Under news sites, Sina and Sohu in particular, no content canexisting laws, the result of your search cannot be commu- be accessed which directly mentions Liu Xiaobo. On thenicated.” On Twitter as well as on Facebook, both of which Baidu search engine, some results do refer to the awar-are blocked in china, the hashtag #jan25 referring to the ding of the Nobel Peace Prize, but the corresponding me-Egyptian demonstrations of 25 January of 2011 quickly dia pages are usually blocked. The official network ccTVspread around the Web. The chinese communist Party remained silent about Liu Xiaobo and opened its eveningseems to be more fearful than ever of political reforms, news programme of 8 October with a report about torren-democratic demands and “breaches of public order.” On tial rains falling on hainan Island.30 January 2011, news wires about Egypt issued by Xin-hua, the official chinese press agency, were reportedly Some bloggers, such as the writer han han, have protes-also suppressed. ted by posting empty messages to symbolise the impos- sibility of discussing what happened to Liu Xiaobo (http:// www.rue89.com/node/170478). The chat forum 1984bbs,
  17. 17. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 17used by many journalists, was closed by its administrators In the last few months, the authorities launched a new of-after the latter were pressured by police. Twenty-three reti- fensive against the proxy servers used by chinese Inter-red communist Party officials and intellectuals have been net users to bypass the “Great Firewall.” access to Free-urging the country’s highest authorities to carry out poli- gate and Ultrareach, two of the most popular proxies, wastical reforms and to comply with article 35 of the china’s made very difficult for several days as from 27 augustconstitution, which guarantees free speech and media 2010. To counter this new wave of blockings, their develo-freedom. This appeal was systematically removed from pers reacted by making updated versions of their softwarechinese blogs and websites where it had been posted. available to netizens.although within one hour of the announcement of the No-bel Prize award related online messages remained acces-sible for less than five minutes before being deleted. tHe regime’s internet CHArm offensiveIt has also been impossible to send an SmS containingthe characters found in “Liu Xiaobo” or “Nobel Prize.” The inTERnET whiTE pApERmicro-blogging website Weibo has also been censored.Yet on Twitter, which is blocked in china, thousands of en- On 8 June 2010, the chinese council of State’s Informa-thusiastic messages from netizens have been posted sin- tion Bureau published a “white paper” on the Internet,ce the announcement. renowned artist ai Weiwei stated which reasserts the need for online censorship in china inthat it was china’s happiest day in the last sixty years. the name of “respect for local laws” and “maintaining sta- bility.” Far from challenging the authorities’ policy towardsmoreover, a short time before the Nobel Peace Prize was the Internet, or the upsurge in online censorship, it merelyawarded, a bogus invitation to attend the 10 December adds to the Beijing leadership’s usual rhetoric. While the2010 ceremony in Oslo containing a very powerful “Trojan government’s resolve to broaden the chinese people’shorse” computer virus circulated by e-mail. The computer access to the Internet is commendable, it regretfully doessecurity firm F-Secure stated that it was unable to identify not encompass access to the World Wide Web, but so-the origin of these cyberattacks. Two weeks before the lely to the chinese Web, complete with its sophisticatedvirus appeared, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient’s website filtering system that blocks political, social or other newshad been the target of an initial hacker attack. which the authorities deem undesirable.ThE hEighT OF CEnSORShip: CEnSORing iS A “nATiOnAl” SEARCh EnginE BEing DEVElOpED ?ThE DEBATE On inTERnET CEnSORShip In august 2010, the official chinese press agency, Xinhua,While censoring an article on censorship may seem to and state-owned china mobile – the largest chinese tele-be business as usual in china, the Diyi caijing Zhoukan communications operator –signed an agreement to createcase (第一财经周刊- cbnweek.com) proves yet again the a joint venture called the Search Engine New media Interna-extremes to which the chinese propaganda apparatus will tional communications co. Its purpose is to launch a searchgo to ensure that any discussion of Internet censorship in engine directly controlled by the state which would enablechina is nipped in the bud. chinese authorities to expand their control of the Internet by taking advantage of the mobile phone market boom.On 24 November 2010, the authorities banned the reprin- In addition, the regime is encouraging state-owned com-ting or posting of an article by Shanghai business weekly panies such as ccTV or Xinhua to strengthen their onlineDiyi caijing Zhoukan, which was a behind-the-scenes look presence.at Beijing’s Bureau of Website administrators (北京市的网管办), one of the entities responsible for online censorship. In the meantime, the “50-cent party,” named after the NetThe report was quickly withdrawn from the website cb- surfers paid to post pro-government online comments innweek.com. The article provides a detailed description of order to “influence public opinion,” is still in operation.how the Beijing Bureau of Website administrators, a go-vernment agency, controls online information and shutsdown websites in order to stifle any debate about socialand political issues.
  18. 18. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 18A winDOw OF OppORTUniTy FOR OnlinE DiAlOgUE system for users of online forums.” Internet users are cur-BETwEEn inTERnET USERS AnD ThE AUThORiTiES? rently required to register before posting comments on these sites, but they can do so using a pseudonym. according toSome local and regional officials are already using the Wang, now that anonymous posting on key news and com-Web to convey their messages and address criticisms. In mercial websites is banned, the next step is to extend theSeptember 2010, the website Zhitong Zhongnanhai, na- system to online forums and chat rooms.med after the government’s headquarters in central Bei-jing, was launched as a way for Internet users to send their cellular telephony is not exempt from this effort. chinesemessages to the national leadership. One week after its authorities are tightening their grip on prepaid cell phonelaunch, over 20,000 comments had already been posted communications. a new regulation which entered into effectfor President hu Jintao alone on subjects such as real es- on 1 September 2010 now requires users of prepaid celltate price increases, corruption, pollution and violations of phones to provide detailed personal information by presen-civil liberties. ting their identity card when buying SIm cards. anyone who already owns one has three years to register.however, this free-speech window has been subject to26 rules ever since. Netizens may not, for example, post The newspaper Global Times claims that 800 million telepho-comments which could jeopardise the state’s honour and ne numbers are already assigned to cell phones now usedinterests, or disrupt social order by advocating for the right in china, of which 320 million were acquired anonymously.of association, demonstration, or assembly. card sellers, mostly in newsstands, will be responsible for collecting photocopies of the buyers’ IDs and for recordingany Internet user who sends a disagreeable comment fa- their contact information in the centralised cell phone userces penalties which can be as harsh as the permanent name data collection system. The ministry of Industry andtermination of his or her IP address. aware that it is pro- Information Technologies (mIIT) justifies this initiative byhibited on this government website to send a message claiming that it is part of the government’s campaign againstfrom an IP address located outside of china, chinese ne- spams and fraud. In actuality, this new rule may potentiallytizens therefore cannot do so anonymously by using proxy compromise the cell phone users’ personal data protection,servers which assign them a foreign IP address. Even in since it enhances the authorities’ ability to monitor calls,cybercafés, every user is systematically asked to present SmSs, and data exchanges, thereby facilitating the identifi-an ID. cation of individuals who criticise or demonstrate against the government.Despite this risk, some critical comments do manage toslip through the Net’s filter. "When will prices go down?The only thing that isn’t going up is salaries!” "comrade tHe AutHorities tAke Aim Athu, don’t you think it interesting that I have left so many miCro-bloggingmessages, yet they all have been harmonised? can’tyou let us tell the truth?” one netizen asked. The govern- In the summer of 2010, the authorities launched a newment’s website address is: http://cpc.people.com.cn/ crackdown on online networking tools, especially micro-GB/191862/191865/index.html blog services. On 15 July 2010, several dozen micro-blogCrusAding AgAinst online accounts were closed, among them those of blogger Yao Yuan and lawyer Pu Zhiqiang. Four of the leading chineseAnd Cell pHone Anonymity micro-blogging platforms, Netease, Sina, Tencent and Sohu, were inaccessible for several hours or days, dis-In February 2010, the chinese ministry of Technology had playing notices that the site was down for maintenance.already announced that anyone wishing to create an Internetwebsite should register with Internet regulators in person and around the same time, censors implemented an additionalpresent an ID. control level. In august 2010, chinese authorities ordered micro-blogging websites to hire a “self-discipline com-In may 2011, Wang chen, the Department of Propaganda’s missioner” to be responsible for censorship. accordingassistant Director, quoted in an article published on 5 may to the official press, the results of the first micro-bloggerby china Daily: “We are exploring an identity authentification self-censorship test conducted in January 2010 in hebei
  19. 19. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 19province were deemed satisfactory enough to convince the Yahoo! e-mail boxes of at least ten foreign journaliststhe authorities to extend its application in Beijing to eight based in china and Taiwan were hacked. Independentmicro-blogging platforms: Sina, Sohu, NetEase, Iphonixe, news sites such as Boxun have been under constant at-hexun, Soufang, 139mobile and Juyou9911. The latter hi- tack.red such commissioners and asked them to monitor andcensor anything which could threaten the country’s secu- In secret documents released by WikiLeaks, a “chineserity or the society’s stability. They are focusing on content source” cited by U.S. diplomatic sources confirmed thedealing with illegal activities, pornography and violence, chinese government’s involvement in the computer hac-as well as unsubstantiated rumours and politically sen- king of Google. These revelations have raised conside-sitive issues. Each commissioner has been assigned a rable concern about spying methods used on journalistswebsite whose content he or she is responsible for. and human rights activists working on china. The diplo- matic cable cited by the New York Times specified: “The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign ofimpACt of tHe google CAse computer sabotage carried out by government operati- ves, private security experts and internet outlaws recrui- ted by the chinese government."STOpping CEnSORShipThe U.S. firm Google announced on 22 march 2010 itsdecision to put an end to censorship via the chinese ver- web CensorsHip:sion of its search engine, google.cn. Now, when usersclick on the home page of google.cn, they are redirected A trAde bArrier?to Google.com.hk, where they have access to uncenso- Internet censorship is not just a human rights issue. It alsored content in simplified chinese characters. This website negatively impacts trade and business through the lack ofwas intermittently censored in late march 2010. Despite access to reliable information. Online censorship has alsotenser relations with the chinese authorities following this become a way to discriminate against foreign – particularlydecision, the company did manage to get its operating american – companies, and to afford chinese companieslicense there renewed in July 2010. It will maintain its re- preferential treatment, which led two experts of the Europeansearch and development activities in china, and keep on centre for International Political Economy to label it, in Theselling advertising spots on Google.com to chinese com- Wall Street Journal, “disguised protectionism.”panies.Google may have set an example for others: the U.S. In- The European Union entered the debate in 2010, as the cen-ternet company GoDaddy announced on 24 march 2010, sorship spread to mobile telephones – a sector in which Eu-during a U.S. congressional hearing, that it would stop of- ropean companies do considerable business. In may 2010,fering its clients new chinese domain names ending in the European commission Vice President and Digital agenda.cn suffix because of the radical controls measures being commissioner Neelie Kroes called this censorship a “tradeimplemented by chinese authorities. barrier” and said it is an issue that should be tackled within the World Trade Organization.ARE ChinESE AUThORiTiES DiRECTly iMpliCATEDin hACKing ACTiViTiES? tibet And XinjiAng: sensitiveGoogle’s decision apparently was reached in the wakeof cyberattacks launched from china against the Gmail provinCes, speCiAl treAtmentaccounts of several dozen human rights activists. Sometwenty media and technology sector companies are said AT lEAST 50 TiBETAnS SEnTEnCED FORto have also been victims of these hacker attacks and of hAVing SEnT nEwS ABROADintellectual property infringement. The repression has never stopped since the march 2008cyberattacks were still going on in early 2010. The Forei- uprising in the Tibetan regions. Since then, at least 50gn correspondents’ club of china (Fccc) reported that Tibetans have been arrested and some sentenced to lengthy prison terms for having sent information, photos
  20. 20. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 20and videos abroad. The latest to be convicted, Dasher, is one of the co-writers of charter 08, which calls for morewas given a 10-year prison sentence on a charge of “se- freedoms and an end to the one-party rule in china. hisparatism” in February 2010. biography is available at: http://en.rsf.org/chine-liu-xiaobo- biography-28-10-2010,38704.html, and charter 08 can beXinjiAng: RECOnnECTED TO ThE nET, found at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/BUT STill plAgUED By pURgES jan/15/chinas-charter-08/The arrests continue. cut off from the world for nearly 10 The pressures being placed on Liu Xiaobo’s relatives andmonths following the social unrest in July 2009, the Xin- supporters, as well as on all defenders of freedom of ex-jiang autonomous region was then subjected to a dis- pression, have not lessened in china since this announce-criminatory shut-down of Internet access, and was only ment was made. Beijing tried to dissuade diplomats fromreconnected to the chinese Internet on 14 may 2010. attending the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Oslo on 10 December 2010 and prevented several human rights ac-meanwhile, Xinjiang’s Internet users are subject to filtering tivists from leaving the country. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia (刘刘), isby the chinese Firewall, and the websites and blogs dea- under house arrest and her relatives are not permitted toling with the Uyghur issue are still a favourite target for leave china. The Nobel committee awarded the prize tocensors. many of them are still blocked – including the an “empty chair.”sites of the Uyghur american association (Uaa) and theUyghur human rights Project (UhrP) – because they re- am ever-growing number of Liu’s supporters are beingfuse to toe the official Beijing Party line. Banned keywords arrested. Since mid-October 2010, according to the in-include "rebiya Kadeer" (the Uyghur human rights acti- dependent chinese PEN centre, at least 40 human rightsvist), "World Uyghur congress", "Uyghur human rights activists and journalists have been arrested or brought inProject" and "East Turkestan Independence.” for questioning throughout china for attempting to cele- brate the news of Liu’s award. Three of them were detainedSalkin website collaborator Gulmire Imin was sentenced for at least eight days: Wang Lihong, Wu Gan and Zhaoto life behind bars in april 2010 for having “revealed” state changqing. Formerly imprisoned journalist Liu Jingshengsecrets, for “organising a demonstration” and for “sepa- said that two police officers had been posted outside hisratism.” home. Liu Xiaobo supporters without Beijing residence permits have been sent back to their home province.On 21 July 2010, in Urumqi, three Uyghur webmasters,Dilshat Perhat, Nureli and Nijat azat were tried in camerafor having endangered state security and for the content Guo Xianliang, an Internet writer known by his pen name,of their publications, which the chinese government dee- "hermit of Tianshan mountain" has been behind bars sincemed to be politically sensitive. They were sentenced, res- 28 October after being arrested by the Guangzhou autho-pectively, to five, three and ten years in prison. rities for passing out flyers with pictures of Liu Xiaobo in the streets and parks of canton. human rights activist Liu Di, known by her pen name, "Stainless Steel mouse",liu XiAobo (刘哓波): along with about 100 other people, were placed under house arrest and strict police surveillance.tHe world’s only nobel peACeprize reCipient still beHind bArs A few releAses offsetOn October 8, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for by new ConviCtionsthe first time to a chinese citizen residing in china, even The sentences of some “4 June dissidents” who had par-though he has been serving an 11-year jail sentence in ticipated in the June 1989 Tiananmen Square demons-Jinzhou Prison (Liaoning Province). Very moved when he trations were shortened (http://www.duihuanews.org/).learned the news, intellectual and human rights activist Liu cyberdissident Li Zhi, a former government official sen-Xiaobo dedicated this prize to “the lost souls of 4 June” – tenced in December 2003 to an eight-year prison term forthe date of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Liu Xiaobo “subversive” use of the Internet, was released last Novem-
  21. 21. INTERNET ENEMIES / 12tH mArCH 2011/ WORLD DAY AGAINST CENSORSHIP ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 21ber, nine months early. he is one of the netizens condem- a hospital in Ningbo of complications from a disease forned on the basis of information originating from their e- which he had never been treated during his three yearsmail accounts, which Yahoo! had provided to chinese behind bars. Li hong was the chief editor of aiqinhai, aauthorities. literary online magazine (http://www.aiqinhai.org/) closed by the authorities in 2006 for disseminating “content cri-Dissident Qin Yongmin was freed after serving his full 12- tical of the chinese government.” he also contributed toyear prison sentence, but is still kept under close watch. news websites Boxun and Epoch Times.Writer Guo Xianliang, who had been arrested in canton forhaving passed out flyers supportive of Liu Xiaobo, was The lives of several other netizens are hanging in the ba-released on 26 November. his friends and family report lance. The chinese authorities should have learned theirthat he was able to safely return to Kunming. lesson from this tragedy and immediately released all other netizens with health problems, particularly huang Qi, Fanhowever, on 9 June 2010, the Sichuan Provincial high Yanqiong, cheng Jianping, hu Jia and Yang Tianshui.People’s court upheld the decision made against activistand environmentalist Tan Zuoren, who had been senten- huang Qi, arrested in 2008, was sentenced to three yearsced to a five-year prison term for "inciting subversion of behind bars for having posted articles online about thestate power" and to a three-year deprivation of his political consequences of the Sichuan Province earthquake. herights. he had been arrested in march 2008, after urging is said to have stomach and chest tumours which are notchinese netizens to travel to Sichuan Province to look into being treated properly, and to have been tortured and de-the situation of the earthquake victims’ families. prived of sleep.For the first time, an ironic tweet earned a netizen one cheng Jianping was sentenced on 15 November 2010 toyear of forced labour. On 15 November 2010, cybernaut a year of “re-education through work” in a labour campcheng Jianping was sentenced to serve a year in the Shi- for having relayed a comment on Twitter about tensionsbali river “re-education through work” labour camp for between china and Japan. She is suffering from tubercu-women in Zhengzhou, henan Province, for “disturbing lous pleurisy, a chronic lung condition.social order.” her lawyer, Lan Zhixue, appealed this ad-ministrative order, issued without any form of trial. cheng Netizen Fan Yanqiong, arrested in 2009, was given a two-Jianping was arrested on 28 October – on what would year prison sentence in april 2010 for having reported on-have been her wedding day – and charged with having line the case of a raped and murdered woman in Fujianretweeted, on 17 October 2010, a satirical message about Province. at the time of her trial, she had to use a wheel-anti-Japanese demonstrations taking place in china, chair and an oxygen mask because she was sufferingusing her pen name “Wang Yi” (@wangyi09) on the Twit- from high blood pressure, muscular atrophy and severeter website. She has more than 5,000 netizen followers on pains in all her limbs.this social network. The message suggested that youngchinese protesters should attack the Japanese pavilion Blogger and human rights activist hu Jia got a three-yearat the Shanghai World Expo and mocked the excessive prison sentence in 2008 for “inciting subversion of statetension between the two countries. power” after posting articles online and granting inter- views to the foreign media. he has cirrhosis of the liver,endAngered netizens: CriminAl but is not receiving the medications he needs.detentions And moCk releAses FORCED DiSAppEARAnCES?CyBERDiSSiDEnTS DETAinED DESpiTE BEing gRAVEly ill Geng he, the wife of chinese human rights activist and lawyer Gao Zhisheng, has never stopped demanding anThe incarceration of certain netizens can sometimes have explanation for the disappearance of her husband, one ofa tragic outcome. Shortly after having finally been gran- the first “barefoot lawyers” who has been missing againted the medically motivated release he had repeatedly re- since april 2010 .quested, cyberdissident Zhang Jianhong – better knownby his pen name Li hong – died on 31 December 2010 in

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