New York, September 2, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Kuala Lumpur to drop a criminal charge against blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman. He was charged today with "intent to hurt" in connection with a satirical entry on his blog, nose4news, that made fun of Malaysia's state-run power company Tenaga, news accounts said.
The discussions between Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, and governments such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and India continue to hit the headlines. In each case, disagreements center on providing customer communications to security and law enforcement services. The rumblings from these nations over monitoring powers aren't just limited to RIM: India has announced its intention to put the same pressure on Google (for Gmail), and Skype (for its IM and telephony services).
Oiwan Lam reports widespread disruption for users of Freegate, the popular circumvention software in China:
According to the RFA report, users from several provinces across the country have encountered similar problem and they believe that it is due to the upgrade of Great Fire Wall. Apart from the Freegate, when running UltraSurf and FreeU the same error message appeared.
Freegrate appears to have quickly adapted. It's hard to tell from the descriptions, but it may be a wider set of Freegate relay servers (and other censorship circumvention software) was blocked.
Circumvention software works by using a not-well-known computer to send your data to, in a format that you hope the blocking authority won't be able to decode. The vulnerability is always that identity of that relay will be discovered, and all traffic, no matter how innocuous looking, will be blocked.
One other possibility is the GFW can now recognise the particular patterns of data sent by these circumventions systems. Or it could be just a temporary glitch, unrelated to such cleverness. Such is the nature of the Internet weather.
Whatever it was, Freegate fixed it with a software update, and I bet those other services were right on it, also.
Manila, August 24, 2010--Nine months after the killing of 32 journalists and media workers in the southern Philippines, a delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists met today with justice officials in Manila and called on the government of President Benigno Aquino to address pervasive impunity in the recurring murders of journalists in the country.
Today marks nine months since the Maguindanao massacre, the deadliest event for the press that CPJ has ever recorded. On November 23, 2009, at 10 a.m., a convoy traveling to the provincial capital of Shariff Aquak to file gubernatorial candidacy papers stopped at what appeared to be a routine military checkpoint. Hours later, authorities would find the bodies of 57 people, among them 32 journalists and media workers, who had been executed and their bodies dumped 3 kilometers from the main road.
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