Jordanian student sentence to two years in prison for IM. Imad Al-Ash got two years in prison for the last refuge of the scoundrel, lèse majesté. (If you want a quick rule of thumb for tinhorn dictatorships, check to see if lèse majesté is on the books.) During the five months leading up to his sentencing, the Jordanian secret service tortured the kid. He had allegedly sent an IM criticizing the King of Jordan. Maybe the Queen should consider extending her vaunted public "patronage" of education to encompass the less stylish area of NOT ALLOWING HER HUSBAND TO TORTURE PEOPLE. But what do I know? I went to a state school.
Kenya introduces toll-free SMS to report hate speech. In advance of the August 4 elections, the Kenyan government is prosecuting hate speech. Given the horrible inter-ethnic violence, it's understandable. But given how every thing becomes a weapon in this sort of a fight, it's worrying. When the next election's done, who believes such a thing will be rolled back?
BurstNET shuts down 70,000 blogs over terrorism scare. A hosting company shut down a platform, Blogetery, that had over 70,000 blogs. First it maintained the FBI had told it to, then admitted the agency had only asked for information on its owner, Alexander Yusupov. One of the blogs had allegedly contained Al-Qaeda-oriented terrorism information. The company said the terrorism issue was the last straw as the owner had broken to the TOS regarding copyright.
China now plans to "deanonymize" cell phone users. China is attempting to destroy all anonymity on the Internet. Week after week of this, I don't even know what more to say. The Chinese government is just wall-to-wall creeps.
The United States plans to "deanonymize" the Internet. Really? Really? Are you people doing this just to embarrass me? Saying "there's no difference between the U.S. and China" is stupid. But saying, "It looks like there's less and less difference" is, unfortunately, not.
Saudi arrested on the most ridiculous charge yet. My hand to G-d I thought I had seen every knuckle-headed "charge" a person could be brought up on. But the Saudis, bless their black little hearts, have raised the bar. For criticism of religious and political leaders in his country, Sheikh Mekhlef bin Dahham al-Shammari has been arrested on the charge of "annoying others." I swear to you I am not making that up. Just click the link. I mean, are the KSA's torture squads even trying anymore?
Turkish citizens hit the bricks to protest online censorship. Thank you, my Turkish brothers and sisters, for allowing me to end on a note of hope. Though the increasingly autocratic Turkish government is cinching down more and more on its people, those people aren't taking it lying down. Thousands of people took to the street. Down with Law #5651!