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Netizen Report: Azerbaijan, Brazil Consider New Legislation on Expression – Global Voices Online

internet-traffic-map_Joana Breidenbach CC

Internet traffic map. Image by Joana Breidenbach, licensed
for reuse.

Most of this report was researched, written, and edited
by Lisa
Ferguson
, Weiping
Li
, Alex
Laverty
, and Sarah
Myers
.

Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international
snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in
Internet rights around the world. This week, we examine a range
of regulatory and legislative issues that have recently emerged
in Azerbaijan, Brazil, Germany, and Ghana.

National Policy

Yahoo! Inc. has
declared
its support for an
Internet rights bill
in the Brazilian Congress. The

Marco Civil da Internet
seeks to protect privacy and free
expression online. The bill would require Brazilian law
enforcement to obtain a judicial order before it can demand
Internet service providers (ISPs) comply with government
requests for user data and provides a safe harbor for ISPs
faced with government requests for
content removal
. The bill has faced several rounds of
amendments over the past two years, some of which have
reduced the bill’s power
to protect user interests,
particularly in the face of copyright restrictions.

Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA)
issued fines to five telecommunications companies
for
providing inferior service to consumers in the country. Service
was reportedly plagued by dropped calls and traffic congestion.
The NCA hopes that the penalties will push the telecom
companies to improve customer service, but critics worry the
negligible amount of the fines will make little difference.

The Algerian government has come under
criticism
for continuing to postpone the adoption of 3G
telecommunications standards. Activists in the country believe
the government “seems intent on hiding behind the shield of one
of the world’s most archaic information and communications
frameworks” in order to make anti-government activism more
challenging.

Censorship

India’s Supreme Court
said it would investigate
the validity of the nation’s
Information Technology Rules, which require website owners to
screen and censor specific kinds of content.

Azerbaijan’s legislature
may consider a bill
that would “make profanity or libel on
the web a crime” according to Net Prophet. If the bill passes,
citizens could be punished with up to three years in prison for
libelous statements made online.

Thuggery

The Ethiopian Supreme court
upheld the conviction
of journalist and blogger
Eskinder Nega
, who was arrested in 2011 on
terrorism-related charges. Nega, who frequently wrote about
politics and human rights violations in Ethiopia, now faces 18
years in prison. Last year the UN Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention issued an
opinion
stating that his conviction was in violation of
international law.

Surveillance


Mozilla Foundation
, creator of the Firefox browser, has

issued
a cease-and-desist letter to Gamma International
Ltd., demanding that the British spyware company stop
misleading Internet users by attaching fake Firefox information
to its FinFisher surveillance software. A report
by the Citizen Lab indicates that Gamma misrepresented
FinFisher as being affiliated with Firefox in order to gain
users’ trust in the face of recent spyware attacks in Malaysia
and Bahrain.

The US Department of Commerce has
fined
UAE distribution company Computerlinks FZCO US$2.8
million for its role in the illegal sale of Blue Coat Proxy SG
Internet surveillance software to the Syrian government. The
sale violated US sanctions that prohibit surveillance
technology companies from selling certain products to Syria.
The Syrian government has reportedly
used Blue Coat
to filter websites, block Internet access,
and target dissidents. Blue Coat is believed to have been

unaware
that the distributor intended to re-export the
product.

Copyright

The
Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) trade agreement between the
US and nine Pacific Rim nations, mainly in Latin America and
Asia, may pose a
serious threat
to the domestic copyright laws of its
participants. The TPP would effectively allow the US to export
some of its most stringent copyright laws
to participating countries, including a ban on breaking digital
locks on devices and creative works, increasing minimum
copyright term lengths, privatization of infringement
enforcement, and seizure of equipment allegedly used to commit
infringement, to name a few.

Sovereigns of Cyberspace

The Electronic Frontier
Foundation
(EFF) released ‘Who Has Your Back?
2013
,’ its annual scorecard for Internet communications
technology companies that measures their commitment to
protecting user privacy from infringement by law enforcement
and other government agencies. Sonic.net and Twitter were the
only two companies to score six stars out of six, while
LinkedIn, Google, Dropbox, and SpiderOak came in close second
at five stars. Apple, AT&T, and Yahoo received just one
star each, while Verizon was the only company that received
zero.

Internet Governance

The Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers

has announced
the opening of a new hub in Istanbul, Turkey
to cover operations in Africa. ICANN plans to spread its
operations beyond it current headquarters in Los Angeles to
Istanbul and Singapore to become increasingly international in
its outlook. China

Cybersecurity


It was reported
this week that British-owned defense
contractor QinetiQ to the US suffered repeated
hacking attacks
by the Chinese government hacking unit
known as the
Comment Crew
. From 2007 to 2010, the hackers reportedly

obtained
13,000 passwords and accessed company servers in
at least eight US cities. QinetiQ has been criticized for not
taking sufficient measures to address security breaches.

LivingSocial, an American promotional coupon website fell
victim to a
cyber attack
that may have affected over 50 million
customers around the world. Attackers gained access to customer
data, including names, email addresses, date of birth, and
passwords, but the company has reassured customers that no
financial or banking information was compromised.

Cool Things

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the launch of the
World Wide Web, CERN, the organization behind the World Wide
Web, restored the
world’s first website
.

Publications and Studies


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For upcoming events related to the future of citizen rights in
the digital age, see the
Global Voices Events Calendar
.

 

Via: http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2013/05/09/netizen-report-azerbaijan-brazil-consider-new-legislation-on-expression/

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