“Put only on back pages… close the comment box.” Released last month, the Directives from the Ministry of Truth series revealed a repository of more than 2,600 messages sent from government officials to website editors in China during the last decade. The collection offers a window into the mechanisms and idiosyncrasies behind China’s censorship and information filtering systems – including addressing the government’s increasingly nuanced mechanism for how, when, and where to present sensitive information, if at all. In pouring over the archive of messages, experts concluded that one of the most fundamental aims of internet censorship and filtering in China is to prevent gatherings of unauthorized groups.
Are Nigerian officials positioning themselves to heighten online surveillance in the country? Nigeria’s Minister of the Interior recently stated the government’s intentions to monitor activity online in the name of national security. Earlier this year, The Premium Times of Nigeria reported that the government brokered a $40 million contract with an Israeli software security company to allow widespread monitoring of Nigerian’s online activities. The move was met with widespread criticism from Nigerian netizens, worried about the potential of widespread surveillance without the protection of data privacy laws legal provisions for interception. Nigeria’s lower house of parliament ordered an immediate halt to the deal.
The Kremlin is taking a step back to take a step forward – ordering nearly $15,000 worth of typewriters to skirt fears of foreign government surveillance, in light of the NSA leaks. Russian officials expressed outrage after the leaks documented surveillance of Russia’s leadership at the London G20 meetings. Officials said they were able to deal with the threat.
For protestors in Turkey – it started with police deploying tear gas and water cannons to disperse their encampments. Now, those threats are beginning to move from the physical world into the digital space, reports the EFF. Dozens of social media users have been detained since the protests began in the country, on charges ranging from false information to insulting officials. Users have also been detained for sharing images of police brutality. Meanwhile, officials are using legal controls already at their disposal to potentially tighten the flow of information in the country – one representative called on Twitter to open an office within the country, which would legally give Turkey the right to obtain user data. There is also a push to enact legislation allowing for the removal of any “fake” social media accounts.
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