Iran can now track Tor users. Tor users in Iran more than doubled to 2,800 after the 2009 presidential election. Tor, the onion-routing tool that allows users to visit the Internet without betraying what sites they are using, is now traceable by the Iranian security forces. UPI quoted Andrew Lehman, Tor's executive director, as saying the number of Tor users in Iran doubled, to 2,800 after the last election there and the protests that resulted.
The Iranians have employed "deep packet inspection" to follow Web traffic that would not normally be visible. Tor has known it was vulnerable to this type of software but had not yet developed armor against it.
Google accuses China of interfering with Gmail. "Internet users in China have reported difficulties with Gmail over the last few weeks, complaining that the email service is slow or unavailable. While it's been made to look as though it's a technical problem on Google's end, the search engine giant says that the Chinese government is responsible. "There is no technical issue on our side. We have checked extensively,' says a Google spokesperson. 'This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.'"
China shuts off mobile phones when the word "protest" is uttered. The block shuts off the phone of the user immediately, whether he or she is talking in Chinese or English. This is part of China's panicky crackdown against an "infection" from the Middle East's uprisings.
Online calls for a Jasmine Revolution in China met with 100 arrests. Many of the incarcerated in the latest round of arrests are not self-identified "activists," but "netizens," who identify themselves less as old-guard protesters and more as members of a global online community, while still remaining Chinese. Tweeting about the revolutions in the Middle East has attracted the ire of Chinese security worse than any time since the riots in 2009 in Central Asia.
China has shut down 130,000 Internet cafes. In the last six years, China has driven 130,000 Internet cafes out of business. Many in China rely on these cafes for their Internet access. The goal seems to be to keep Internet users off-balance but also to drive small shops out of business to be replaced by large chains. That, in turn, is no doubt a convergence of large business owners engaging in Party official kickbacks and the fact that one big chain with a lot to lose may be much more assiduous about implementing government censorship rules.
Syria arrests bloggers during protests. The recent protests in the Syrian city of Daraa has seen a blogger, Khaled Elekhetyar, arrested. At least he is presumed arrested, having disappeared during the protests. His Facebook page has been hacked and filled with pro-regime propaganda.
Ahmad Abu Al-Kheir, who was arrested, then released, last month has also been arrested.
China TV photo by Cory Doctorow