#IMWeekly: October 15, 2013

Belgium
European Union lawmakers are ramping up efforts to more aggressively regulate European cloud computing. While these efforts could make computing more complicated for businesses and individuals, lawmakers believe they are necessary to protect the privacy of European users from spying by the US and other foreign nations.

Brazil
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced via Twitter that the Brazilian government will develop a secure e-mail system in order to protect its internal communications from foreign spying. The announcement is part of a notable recent trend among countries and global organizations trying to undermine US management and control of the Internet. Rousseff has been a vocal critic of US web surveillance in the wake of recent revelations regarding US spying. Brazil has also been named as the host for next year’s Internet Governance Summit.

Uruguay
At this year’s Internet Governance Summit in Montevideo, Uruguay, the directors of the major organizations responsible for developing and administering Internet standards and resources—ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, and all five of the regional Internet Address registries—moved to break from US dominance of Internet governance.  The group released a statement that called for “accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all government, participate on an equal footing.”

United States
Earlier this month, Freedom House released its annual report on global Internet freedom: Freedom of the Net 2013: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media. The report, which looks at 60 countries, found Internet freedom to be on the decline, citing an increasing number of laws controlling Internet content and more aggressive efforts by governments to arrest social media users and online activists. The report also found, however, that Internet activists are becoming better organized and better able to resist efforts toward further regulation. Iceland ranked highest among countries surveyed in terms of Internet freedom (followed by Estonia, Germany, the US, and Australia), while Iran, Cuba, and China ranked at the bottom among countries deemed “not free.”

#imweekly is a regular round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To subscribe via RSS, click here.

#IMWeekly: September 23, 2013

Bangladesh
Late last month, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Law approved several amendments to the country’s ICT Act that, among other changes, make posting “fake and obscene” material online illegal. Human rights activists, worried that the amendments will lead to an increase in politically motivated arrests of bloggers and others (earlier this year, the government established a special committee to identify Internet users deemed to be “anti-Muslim”), are urging Parliament not to approve new version of the Act.

Brazil
Brazil is considering requiring Internet companies to host data collected locally on servers located in Brazil. The proposed amendment to the country’s draft Marco Civil bill is widely seen as part of a backlash against PRISM and other US surveillance programs. The amendment is intended to protect the privacy of Brazilian Internet users, but some experts are worried that, because Brazil currently lacks specific data protection laws, a new local data storage policy may actually put privacy at risk.

India
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, is blaming social media for instigating religious riots in the town of Muzaffarnagar earlier this month. The riots, in which at least 50 were killed and tens of thousands displaced from their homes, were sparked by the murder of three young men involved in a dispute about the harassment of a young woman. They escalated quickly, allegedly inflamed by local politicians intent on manipulating religious tensions for their own gain. Last week, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister stated at a press conference that social media was used to spread misinformation and hate speech and called for censorship to prevent further bloodshed.

#imweekly is a regular round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To subscribe via RSS, click here.