About Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis is a Research Assistant at the Berkman Center where he works on both the Internet Monitor and Media Cloud projects.

#IMWeekly: November 12, 2013

A group of hackers claiming to be affiliated with an Indonesian branch of Anonymous defaced dozens of websites belonging to Australian businesses with a message reading, “Stop Spying on Indonesia.” The defacements appear to be in response to recent news about Australia’s involvement in US-led surveillance efforts.

The Brazilian government issued a decree that made good on earlier promises to ensure that from now on government email will be state run and all government data will henceforth be stored in government facilities in Brazil. The move was made as a result of concerns about US spying.

A growing number of high-level Iranian officials are calling for a lift of the government ban on Facebook and Twitter. The ban has been in place since 2009 when social media was viewed as playing a key role in fueling civil unrest.

Hackers claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous defaced numerous government websites to protest alleged government corruption. Five of the hackers were apparently arrested later while protesting near the House of Representatives. The incident appeared to be separate from the abovementioned attack on Australian websites by Anonymous-affiliated hackers from Indonesia.

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

Beautiful and thought-provoking infographics

A couple weeks ago we tweeted a list by the KANTAR Information is Beautiful Awards of over 300 of the year’s best infographics and data-visualizations. Since then, we’ve been working our way through the list and thought we’d share a few of our personal favorites. Two of these are directly related to the work we do and one we just had to add because it was so elegant and powerful we couldn’t help ourselves.

Wikipedia Worldview (WWV)
It’s hard to imagine a cooler way to get an immediate sense for the vast amount of information currently available on Wikipedia. The WWV maps Wikipedia georeferences onto a 2-dimensional map of the world in real time. While the overall effect is like looking at nighttime satellite photos of earth—with clusters of light forming around major urban centers—the WWV offers much more than a photograph by allowing you to click on each location and to explore the information on Wikipedia that has been linked to each georeference. Add to that the ability to analyze the language-based distribution of the information, and you can spend hours with this constantly evolving infographic.

U.S. Gun Deaths in 2013
All politics aside, this interactive graphic is not only packed with data but is hauntingly beautiful. The simple design turns the individuals lost to gun violence into brightly colored shooting stars—they arc upward in orange threads that turn abruptly to grey at the moment the individual represented is killed. At first the stars launch slowly so that you can read the name and demographic data of the individual signified. The tragic amount of data, however, quickly forces the launch pace to accelerate until the many threads form an eery orange and gray wave in which individual threads are just barely distinguishable.

Online in 60 Seconds
This one has been pretty well circulated but, if you missed it, it’s definitely worth a look. As the title suggests, this infographic captures “everything” that happens online during a 60 second span displaying it all in a neatly presented pie chart that mimics a clock face. Statistics such as 204 million emails sent, 571 new websites created, and 20 million photos viewed convey the richness and immense amount of activity that characterize the ever more complex online world. They also make your own online activity feel like a very small drop in a very large pond. It makes some of us wish we didn’t know our tweets were competing with 278,000 others sent out during the same minute… you should probably follow @thenetmonitor to make sure you don’t miss any of them. : )

#IMWeekly: November 4, 2013

The Brazilian government said it is forging ahead with a plan that would require global Internet companies to store any data obtained from Brazilian users on servers inside the country. While the plan might better protect Brazilian citizens from US spying it could have significant implications for how global Internet companies are able to operate in the future in Brazil and elsewhere.

Recently released documents obtained by Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA has tapped into the main communication links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers all over the world.

Indonesian government officials summoned the Australian ambassador to respond to reports that the Australian Embassy in Jakarta “is a hub for Washington’s secret electronic data collection program.”

A hacktivist going by the name “The Messiah” defaced a number of websites in Singapore to protest proposed Internet licensing rules that critics have called back door state censorship. In one instance, the hacktivist, who claims to be part of Anonymous, targeted The Straits Times website writing, “Dear ST: You just got hacked for misleading the people!” Other critics of the proposed rules include Google, Facebook, eBay, Salesforce, and Yahoo.

United States
A major reform bill was introduced, designed to rein in the NSA’s spying powers. While the bill boasts bipartisan support, critics were quick to argue that the “reform” bill does little more than preserve the status quo. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that there have been cases where US efforts to gather information have “reached too far inappropriately.”

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

#IMWeekly: October 28, 2013

German officials alleged that the US had monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone for more than a decade. The allegations were based on leaked documents obtained by the German news magazine Der Spiegel. While the US administration has denied that President Barack Obama was aware of or approved any intelligence operations involving Merkel, the controversy has increased tension between the US and its European allies and has provoked calls within Germany to better shield domestic Internet traffic from foreign intelligence services.

Google announced the creation of Uproxy, a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that can allow users all over the world to bypass restrictive firewalls by using peer-to-peer connections. The new technology has the potential to provide uncensored Internet access for activists all over the world.

The administration of recently elected President Hassan Rouhani announced that it is closely reviewing and revising government censorship policies. The review process is beginning with censored books, but statements by Iranian officials suggest that they may also revisit government policies that restrict access to various websites and social media—a goal that is in line with statements made by President Rouhani prior to his election.

A group of nations led by Germany and Brazil joined together to push for a UN General Resolution to promote a right of privacy on the Internet. The meeting of diplomats in New York represented the first significant international effort to limit NSA surveillance powers exposed in recent revelations about American spying. Diplomats are reportedly considering a draft resolution that expands on the privacy rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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

#IMWeekly: October 21, 2013

A new measure proposed by European lawmakers could require American companies to get clearance from European officials before “complying with United States warrants seeking private data.” A vote on the new measure, which was proposed in response to recent revelations about American spying by the NSA, is scheduled for October 21.

Le Monde reported that the NSA collected 70.3 million French telephone records during a 30-day period. In response, the French government summoned the US ambassador to demand an explanation for the NSA operation and to renew requests that the US cease its surveillance and enter into talks regarding protection of personal data. The report in Le Monde was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, the same reporter who originally revealed information about NSA surveillance based on leaks from Edward Snowden.

A new report by Der Spiegel found that the NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years, including hacking into the public email account of former president Felipe Calderon. A statement by the Mexican foreign ministry condemned the US surveillance operation, calling it “unacceptable, illegitimate, and against Mexican and international law.”

On October 19, the Moroccan government began blocking a number of websites and social media platforms, including Lakome, one of the country’s main independent media outlets. Lakome was believed to be the primary target of the government’s blocking efforts, as the site’s editor, Ali Anouzla, was arrested on September 17 after publishing an article containing a link to a video by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Many journalists and advocacy groups have called for Anouzla’s release.

Pakistani activists are using Twitter to voice their opposition to a three-month ban of messaging apps—including Viber, WhatsApp, Tango, and Skype—implemented by Pakistani’s Sindh provincial government (the province includes Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city).

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