Home Report on Mideast Pro-Gov Hackers: This Week in Online Tyranny

Report on Mideast Pro-Gov Hackers: This Week in Online Tyranny

Report on the “Syrian Electronic Army.” Helmi Norman, a research at Citizen Lab and Research Affiliate at the Berkman Center, has released a report entitled, “The Emergence of Open and Organized Pro-Government Cyber Attacks in the Middle East: The Case of the Syrian Electronic Army.”

The report covers the “increased contestation in cyberspace among regime sympathizers, governments, and opposition movements” during the ongoing Arab Spring. It uses Syria, one of the countries where protests are ongoing, as a case study.

Belarus imprisons blogger. Belarus authorities have arrested Polish blogger and journalist Andrzej Poczobut. One of the easiest indicators of a repressive regime is whether they criminalize “insult.” In Belarus, they do. Poczobut was arrested for insult and slander of Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko.

France24 correspondent tortured by Bahraini security. Nazeeha Saeed, correspondent for the French news gathering organization which has focused a great deal on reader collaboration and social media, was beaten and tortured in the attempt to force a confession out of her that she helped foment protests in the Gulf country.

Thailand arrests American blogger for lèse majesté. Lèse majesté or insulting the monarchy (see above re: insults) is Thailand’s tool of choice for muzzling free speech. The ruling party employs lèse majesté not out of respect for the royal family, but as a way to leverage that love in the common people against political and personal opponents. This Thailand-born American had allegedly linked his blog to an unofficial biography of the king that is banned in Thailand.

Post-revolution Tunisia bans porn sites. Is it a matter of the more things change the more they stay the same, or of attempting to balance cultural mores with free speech? I’m kidding, it’s the former.

Thai royal photo by Witchya Suyara

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