By Jeff Landale and Katherine Maher
Two years ago today, protesters responded to a call for a “Day of Rage” by pouring into Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. Thus began the first of the “Eighteen Days” of struggle to end then-president Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30 years in power.
Less than 48 hours after the protests began, Egyptian telecoms and ISPs complied with a order by the Mubarak regime to shut down their networks, ultimately removing Egypt from the global internet. This effort to prevent protesters from organizing and keep images and news of a government crackdown from spreading had an inverse effect, driving people to the streets and drawing the world’s attention to Tahrir Square.
By Jeff Landale
With the recent re-nomination of David Medine as chairman, the long-dormant US Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) may finally come to life.
The renewal of the Board and its mandate comes not a moment too soon. A strong, independent oversight body is necessary to protect digital rights as Congress is likely to consider cybercrime and cybersecurity issues, such as a proposed amendment to the highly controversial federal Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which would require all communications providers to install backdoors in their products and services.
By Peter Micek
New mechanisms to censor websites and filter mobile communications could come online in Pakistan, possibly within 60 days, according to government officials in the country and activists on the ground. News that the censorship system is being built directly conflicts with promises made by Pakistani government officials a little less than a year ago to not pursue massive online censorship.
[Full disclosure: Access receives funding from Skype.]
Today Access joined more than forty organizations and 61 individuals in sending an open letter to Skype, asking the company to clarify its policies for protecting users’ security and to release a comprehensive transparency report detailing government requests for user data.