Home Brazilian Blogger Assasinated: This Week in Online Tyranny

Brazilian Blogger Assasinated: This Week in Online Tyranny

Brazilian blogger murdered. 36-year-old Brazilian blogger Ednaldo Figueira was shot down in the streets of his home town, Serra do Mel.

After receiving death threats, Figueira was shot six times on June 15 by gunmen on motorcycles outside his workplace. In addition to being a blogger, he was a newspaper editor and an official in a trade union. This is the second time a blogger has been murdered by his government or, in Figueira’s case most likely organized crime figures attached to the government.

Bahraini blogger gets life sentence. One blogger in the Gulf country of Bahrain has been sentenced to life in prison while another has received 15 yearsThe life sentence is the longest sentence a blogger has ever received. Blogger Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace was one of eight imprisoned Bahrainis to receive life sentences. Al-Singace. Another blogger, Ali Abdulemam, was given 15 years after being tried in absentia.

Chinese artist and digital native released but muzzled. China’s best known artist, Ai Weiwei, has been stuck away in a Chinese jail since his arrest in early April. He was released last Friday but has remained completely silent regarding his detention, no doubt a result of the terms of his release.

But why arrest Ai in the first place? He is an artist, free speech advocate and architect of global standing. Although he had never had a solo show in China, he designed the celebrated “Birds Nest” stadium that was the center of the Beijing Olympics. He allegedly had plans to relocate to Germany, where he had set up a studio. So, he is high-profile and has a big mouth, which he knows how to use. But his arrest was hardly the exception to the rule. At least 129 more people remain locked up in the latest spate of government detentions.

Chinese blogger harassed in advance of her husband’s release. Zeng Jinyang has been bothered by Chinese security, and possibly placed under house arrest, in advance of her husband’s release after a three-and-a-half year prison term. Her husband, Hu Jia, is also a well-known blogger and environmental and AIDS activist.

Zeng tweeted about being harassed by eight men when she disembarked in Beijing, where her husband will be released. “As I was getting off the plane, eight people came and took me away, they even took my luggage.” and “I think this is how life is going to be after [Hu Jia is released].”A third tweet, hours later, was so different in tone it made some suspicious. “I have just got home. I am going to cook tofu and tomatoes. I don’t know if it will be good. I saw Hu Jia today. I asked him if he was taking care of himself. There is still time for that. Media friends, my apologies and thank you for your concern.”

Chile monitoring social networks. It’s not unusual to use “open source” methods for intelligence gathering. But doing so against the Chilean people itself has proven wildly unpopular for the users of social networks. Brand Metrics, a social media measuring company, “will be responsible for alerting authorities when there are ‘significant changes’ in people’s views on a topic, according to the government bid.”

Apple removes ThirdIntifada app from store. Apple doesn’t exactly have a high bar to removal of apps from its store, as their (temporary) ban of Ulysses proves tidily. Whether this was warranted or not I’ll leave to you. It breached their TOS, according to Apple, by allegedly promoting violence.

LulzSec disbands, rebands. LulzSec, the attention-grabbing hacking collective announced its end, or perhaps a transmogrification. AntiSec, which seems to be the successor group, in conjunction with Anonymous, is already hacking away.

WordPress Blocked in Central Asia. WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg said on his blog, “As far as I know we’ve had no contact with KazakhTelecom. Typically this happens when they don’t like something a blog is saying, so they block or degrade service for everybody.” This is a common reaction to “offensive material” by many countries, who will wind up blocking the whole of, say, Facebook out of fear of one account, as happened last year in Saudi Arabia and as Pakistan is currently in the process of doing.

China’s cloud districts censorship-free, for foreigners.The city of Chongqing will be the first in China to see the debut of a “cloud district.” Users within the district can access the Internet outside of the traditional Chinese censorship regime. This has upset many Chinese.

Malaysia trying blogger for defamation. According to Article 19’s Dr Agnes Callamard, “Charles Hector is being sued for defamation at the High Court of Malaya in Shah Alam by the Malaysian subsidiary of Asahi Kosei Japan Co. Ltd, a Japanese electronics company. The defamation case centres around articles Hector posted on his blog in which he raises his concerns about the companies’ treatment of 31 Myanmar migrant workers. His findings were based on research he carried out.” How the laws in questions are interpreted by the court could deal a serious blow to bloggers’ free speech.

Pakistan increases filtering. According to OpenNet Initiative, “Mobilink, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Pakistan, is now requiring that all users add proxy port 3128 in order to browse the Internet. As a result of this development, Mobilink users are unable to search for several politically sensitive keywords, including the name of the country’s president, Asif Ali Zardari.”

Zeng photo via Wikipedia

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