Monthly Archives: June 2015

7iber featured in Newsweek for combatting censorship in Jordan

Cyber Stewards Network partner 7iber marked it’s eighth year anniversary since its founding on Jordan’s independence day by highlighting the poor state of press freedom and women’s rights in the country. Lina Ejeilat, one of 7iber’s co-founders, told Newsweek that showcasing such issues provides an “alternative narrative about what independence really means.”

“It’s more than just nationalistic slogans and putting a flag on your car. It’s really trying to push the envelope. There’s a need for professional journalism that is critical,” she added. Though Jordan is safer for journalists relative to many of its neighbours, print and online media outlets are still required to get a license from the government to publish. Ejeilat said that: “Licensing is a form of self-censorship,” given that it requires permission from the government. “That notion is so against everything that the Internet is about,” she said.

7iber was blocked by Jordanian media officials in 2013, and the organization continued to switch to mirror sites that were also taken down. The government eventually took 7iber to court for operating while unlicensed, and the case remains ongoing. Despite being opposed to the law, 7iber obtained a license in order to continue operating and publishing content.

Read the full article.

Citizen Lab and Cyber Stewards Network at 2015 APrIGF workshops

The Citizen Lab and its network of cybersecurity researchers and advocates in the global South, the Cyber Stewards Network, will be participating in the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) on July 1-3, 2015, at the Macau University of Science & Technology, Macau. The conference aims to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder discussion on key Internet governance issues that are unique to the Asia Pacific region, and how solutions can be translated to the international level.

The workshop entitled “Surveillance trends, challenges and opportunities in the Asia Pacific” will explore trends in communications surveillance in the region, government responses to civil society criticisms of these practices, and the manner in which the expansion of these technologies can be managed with respect for the rule of law and human rights. The workshop will draw extensively on Citizen Lab research into information controls, such as commercial spyware software FinFisher, whose command and controls servers have been located in 36 countries, including Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam. Findings from research on Italy-based Hacking Team and Canadian firm Netsweeper, whose products are also sold to law enforcement agencies worldwide, will also inform the discussion.

Communications Officer and Researcher Irene Poetranto will be joined by Shahzad Ahmad, Country Director of Bytes for All Pakistan, Donny Budhi Utoyo, Director of ICT Watch, Pirongrong Ramasoota, Professor at Chulalongkorn University, and Ritu Srivastava, Programme Officer at the Digital Empowerment Foundation.

In a separate roundtable workshop entitled “Online Threats and Chilling Effects to Journalism in the Asia Pacific,” Irene Poetranto will join Andrew Lowenthal of EngageMedia, a non-profit organization focused on using citizen media initiatives to influence social reforms. The workshop will discuss digital security threats to journalists, such as interception and surveillance of their communications, along with methods to cope with these threats.

Further information on conference programming and schedules can be found on the 2015 APrIGF website.