Tuesday, 14 February 2017

SumTips: Where Art Is Under Attack

Iranian flag and map
Independent organization Freemuse, or Freedom of Musical Expression, recently released “Art Under Threat”, a 46-page report on censorship and attacks on artistic expression in 2016. The results reveal that freedom of expression for artists is a global concern, with 1,028 attacks occurring in 78 countries worldwide. Top offenders include:

6 Serious Violators:
 
1.    Iran: Artists are often charged with and sentenced for “insulting the sacred”, “propaganda against the state” or “spreading depravity”. Iranian courts use the “assembly line” method for prosecuting artists and other citizens, and barbaric methods, such as lashing, to punish convicts. On 5 November 2016, Iranian singer Amir Tataloo was sentenced to five years in prison and 74 lashes after being found guilty of ‘spreading Western immorality’.”

2.    Turkey: “The attempted coup against President Erdo─čan on 15 July 2016 and the following State of Emergency led to a clampdown on oppositional voices in Turkey hitting media, academia and the arts world hard, literally silencing and imprisoning tens of thousands of people.”

3.    Egypt: “Article 65 in Egypt’s 2014 constitution grants citizens the right to express their opinions verbally, in writing, through imagery, or by any other means of expression and publication. Another article guarantees freedom of artistic and literary creativity stating that “the state shall encourage arts and literature, sponsor creative artists and writers and protect their productions, and provide the means necessary for achieving this end”. However, Egypt’s legislation still allows for the jailing of artists and citizens on the charge of ‘contempt of religion’.”

4.    Nigeria: “Artists face a complex system of censorship carried out by a variety of actors, further complicated by multiple censorship boards. In addition to the national censorship boards, states such as Kano in the North and Lagos in the South even have their own censorship boards, with the consequence that artists and cultural producers of these states face double censorship mechanisms.”

5.    China: “In China, legal bodies are not separated from political institutions and opinions considered in opposition with the government and country’s “One China” policy are not allowed. Censorship of arts, media and academia is widespread. “Objectionable” content, including references to controversial Chinese historical details, Chinese politics, details about Chinese leaders, sexually explicit material and, in some instances, material relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues are not allowed.”

6.    Russia: “Nationalism and political allegiance also continue to drive what type of art is allowed on stage and in halls, or what is funded by state coffers. Plays are vetted and cancelled for their political and moral content and artists are blacklisted for their political views on issues such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.”

Top 10 Countries for ‘Serious Violations’—killings, abductions, attacks, imprisonments, prosecutions, persecutions and threats:

1.    Iran: 30 serious violations
2.    Turkey: 23 serious violations
3.    Egypt: 18 serious violations
4.    Nigeria: 15 serious violations
5.    China: 14 serious violations
6.    Russia: 10 serious violations
7.    Syria: 4 serious violations
8.    Malaysia: 4 serious violations
9.    Tanzania: 4 serious violations
10.   Uzbekistan: 4 serious violations

Top 10 Countries for Acts of Censorship:
1.    Ukraine: 557 censorship violations
2.    Kuwait: 61 censorship violations
3.    China: 20 censorship violations
4.    Egypt: 19 censorship violations
5.    India: 17 censorship violations
6.    Russia: 16 censorship violations
7.    Turkey: 13 censorship violations
8.    United States: 13 censorship violations
9.    Pakistan: 11 censorship violations
10.  Iran: 9 censorship violations

Support the arts, surf secure and stay Rando!



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Friday, 10 February 2017

Digital Divide: World Cyber Alerts - February 10, 2017


Policy
their legislation today could be yours tomorrow

American flag and map


After much talk of efforts to enhance United States government cybersecurity capabilities, United States President Donald Trump did not follow through on signing a cybersecurity overhaul executive order. The event marks the second time in a week that the president has neglected to sign an executive action. 




Privacy, Surveillance and Censorship
when government isn't on your side

Egyptian flag and map 


The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Citizen Lab have concluded that Egyptian human rights groups are being targeted by an Egyptian intelligence agency phishing campaign. Those targeted are NGOs accused by the government of receiving illegal foreign funding. 




Research and Initiatives
making your world a more cybersecure place

Indonesian flag and map


Australia and Indonesia have agreed to fight terrorism through strengthened mutual cybersecurity. Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto of Indonesia noted that he expects “tighter and stronger cooperation in law and security.” 

Ghanaian flag and map

ISACA, an association previously known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, will host information technology and cybersecurity events in the African countries of Egypt and Ghana this year. The Best of Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) will take place in Cairo in July; the Africa Computer Audit, Control and Security (CACS) will be held in Accra in September. 




Cyberattacks
the threats we all face

Russian flag and mapThe United States Treasury Department is allowing new cybersecurity transactions with the Russian Federal Security Service. According to the Russian Duma’s Nikolai Kovalyov, “This shows that actual joint work on establishing an anti-terrorism coalition is about to begin,” but United States Representative Eric Swalwell had different ideas: “This is the same group that, just a month ago, our intelligence community determined was responsible for the attack on our democracy. We just made it easier for the same group to import into Russia the tools they could use to hack us or our allies again.”

Looking Back
a new glimpse at past alerts

Chinese flag and map 


#TurnOnVPN has countered concerns that all VPN usage is now illegal in China. According to the non-partisan organization, Chinese businesses are forbidden from using VPNs, but individuals are not





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Thursday, 9 February 2017

SumTips: 4 Digital Activists You Should Know

Activist fist and pencilIt’s February, which means the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards are right around the corner. This week, the shortlist of nominees was announced in four categories: arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism. Featured below are the nominees for digital activism, recognized “for innovative uses of technology to circumvent censorship and enable free and independent exchange of information”.
  • Jensiat: a (heavily censored) Iranian online graphic novel that offers accessible sexual health and cybersecurity awareness and provides access to verified digital security resources. According to Jensiat’s creators, “Our interactions with readers leads us to believe they have picked up what we’ve been discussing, and are incorporating them into their online lives.”
  • Bill Marczak: Marczak’s Bahrain Watch promotes accountable and transparent governance by investigating and running campaigns in response to activists’ social media posts. Said Marczak, “There’s many an activist who face serious risks from their government of being beaten up or being tortured just because they express opinions. I think that’s unacceptable and that’s one of the things I am trying to prevent.”
  • Evan Mawarire: When Pastor Mawarire expressed his displeasure with the Zimbabwean government by posting a video of himself draped in the country’s flag, people listened. More than eight million people joined a government boycott in response. Explained Mawarire, “I called the campaign #ThisFlag because it encouraged citizens to get involved in reclaiming national pride by condemning the shameless actions of government and its officials.”
  • Turkey Blocks: an Alp Toker-led team that monitors, reports on and investigates internet restrictions in Turkey. Turkey Blocks’ successful tools have begun to be utilized elsewhere. Reported Alp Toker, “Our alerts, issued within minutes of detection, have helped Turkish citizens to stay online when shutdowns get implemented and provided the media with enough confidence to report assertively on digital censorship in Turkey.”
Index on Censorship will celebrate the award recipients at a gala on April 19.

Thank an activist, surf secure and stay Rando!





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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Digital Divide: World Cyber Alerts - February 2, 2017


Privacy, Surveillance and Censorship
government isn't always on your side

Kenyan flag and map


Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to arrest anyone who plans chaos in response to this year’s general elections. “I will not allow anyone in Kenya to lose their lives or property because of elections again. The government will legally deal with leaders planning to cause chaos,” reported Kenyatta. 

Thai flag and map 


Microsoft is enabling the Thai government to spy on its citizens, says Privacy International. Unlike other operating systems, Microsoft’s Windows is designed to automatically trust the Thai government’s root certificate, which in turn allows the government to install malware on websites or misrepresent websites altogether. 




Research and Initiatives
making your world a more cybersecure place

British flag and map 


Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has hired Indian startup Spherical Defense to assist the British spy agency. Spherical Defense will monitor for hacking attempts via its Banking Intrusion Detection System. 

Brazilian flag and map 




It’s Right to Be Forgotten Week in Brazil. The event, hosted by InternetLab, strives to bring attention to an important issue that frequently goes unnoticed. Later this year, the organization will also host InternetLab School 2017, an initiative that invites journalists to explore the intersection of technology and the internet. 

New Zealand flag and map 


 Hamilton, New Zealand will host the International Standards Organisation (ISO) conference in April, which will examine the standardization of cybersecurity worldwide. The conference expects attendees from 100 countries, including experts from Interpol and the American National Security Agency. 

American flag and map 



United States-based National Cyber Security Alliance celebrated Data Privacy Day on January 28. The international celebration focused on Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust. 





Cyberattacks
the threats we all face

Russian flag and map 

Ruslan Stoyanov, manager of Kaspersky Lab’s computer incidents investigations unit, has been arrested for hacking. The Russian is accused of treason and is under investigation for actions committed prior to joining Kaspersky Lab. 






All images credit of BOLDG/Shutterstock.com.
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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Digital Divide: Cyber Alerts Worldwide - January 31, 2017


Policy
their legislation today could be yours tomorrow

South African flag and map


South Africa’s new Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill is on its way to Parliament; Michalsons law firm is amongst those concerned: “The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill gives the South African Police and the State Security Agency extensive powers to investigate, search, access, and seize just about anything.” 

Chinese flag and map 



Draft regulations look to further crackdown on internet freedom in China: “Any overseas connections that are not approved will be blocked. Once the communication is cut off, it is the equivalent of a wall; there will be no holes for VPN to drill through,” reported the Hong Kong Internet Society. 




Research and Initiatives
making your world a more cybersecure place

American flag and map 

United States-based encrypted email service Lavabit was relaunched last week, offering three levels of security: Trustful, Cautious and Paranoid. In 2013, when faced with a government request for access to Edward Snowden’s account, Lavabit shut down rather than compromise its users’ security. 

Indian flag and map 


Indian companies such as Innefu have begun to shift from using human intelligence to using artificial intelligence to analyze data. “Cyber warfare isn’t a movie, it’s happening right now…We lost out on the industrial revolution, we lost out on the defence revolution – let’s not lose out in the cyber revolution,” argued Innefu’s Tarun Wig. 

Canadian flag and map 



The Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, a partnership between the University of New Brunswick and IBM, opened last week. The institute will serve as a center for research and to develop cybersecurity professionals. 






Cyberattacks
the threats we all face

Indian flag and map 

Indian horse racing website, Racingpulse.in, was recently hacked with the Dharma Ransomware Trojan in an attack that seized all of the website’s files. Website editor Sharan Kumar plans to move the website’s servers, currently located in the United States, elsewhere. 

Hack attack


A December power outage in Ukraine has been determined to be a cyber attack. Hackers worked undetected in power supplier Ukregergo’s IT network for six months before launching an attack considered to be one of the first to affect civilian access to heat and light. 





Looking Back
a new glimpse at past alerts

American flag and map 

United States-based WhatsApp has denied the security vulnerability reported by Tobias Boelter, but Steffen Tor Jensen of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights disagrees: “WhatsApp can effectively continue flipping the security keys when devices are offline and re-sending the message, without letting users know of the change [until] after it has been made, providing an extremely insecure platform.” 



All images credit of BOLDG/Shutterstock.com.

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