#imweekly: June 24, 2013

The Tunisian Internet Agency building, the center of the former Tunisian regime’s Internet censorship facuilities and once a home of the former dictator Ben Ali, is being changed into a hackerspace and open wifi hotspot for nearby citizens.  Plans are in the works to extend the range of the building’s routers to allow Internet sharing with more of the population.

A recent report from the Citizen Lab found that Pakistan is using Netsweeper, a filtering technology managed by a Canadian company, to block websites or tamper with DNS. The Pakistani government is planning to block more URLs and SMS text messages in the country. However, five international companies who sell surveillance and filtering software have committed not to help Pakistan, after protests from civil rights groups.

Human rights activists have filed a request to investigate the use of the FinFisher surveillance software by the Mexican government, which they suspect has been used to spy on journalists and activists in the country. A Citizen Lab report detailing FinFisher’s use in 36 countries was the spark that prompted the investigation. Drug-related violence in the country may have allowed the government to launch several surveillance programs without significant resistance from civil society.

United States
Facebook announced it has fixed a bug on Friday which has potentially leaked 600 million users’ email addresses and phone numbers. The bug allowed users downloading an archive of their user account to also download other users’ information. Security researchers have also discovered that Facebook is collecting data on people without a Facebook account and also has been keeping a shadow profile of every user that includes information not shared by the users directly with Facebook. The bug had been active for the past year, though Facebook says it has no evidence that the bug was exploited maliciously.

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This entry was posted in IM Weekly, Mexico, Pakistan, Tunisia, United States by Rex Troumbley. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rex Troumbley

Rex is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science and Alternative Futures at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. His dissertation research deals with the politics of taboo language and censorship. His latest research deals with the ways in which automatic filters and algorithmic language controls shape online discourse.