#IMWeekly: November 4, 2013

The Brazilian government said it is forging ahead with a plan that would require global Internet companies to store any data obtained from Brazilian users on servers inside the country. While the plan might better protect Brazilian citizens from US spying it could have significant implications for how global Internet companies are able to operate in the future in Brazil and elsewhere.

Recently released documents obtained by Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA has tapped into the main communication links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers all over the world.

Indonesian government officials summoned the Australian ambassador to respond to reports that the Australian Embassy in Jakarta “is a hub for Washington’s secret electronic data collection program.”

A hacktivist going by the name “The Messiah” defaced a number of websites in Singapore to protest proposed Internet licensing rules that critics have called back door state censorship. In one instance, the hacktivist, who claims to be part of Anonymous, targeted The Straits Times website writing, “Dear ST: You just got hacked for misleading the people!” Other critics of the proposed rules include Google, Facebook, eBay, Salesforce, and Yahoo.

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A major reform bill was introduced, designed to rein in the NSA’s spying powers. While the bill boasts bipartisan support, critics were quick to argue that the “reform” bill does little more than preserve the status quo. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that there have been cases where US efforts to gather information have “reached too far inappropriately.”

#IMweekly is a regular round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To subscribe via RSS, click here.

#IMWeekly: September 9, 2013

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More news about PRISM broke last week: according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has either circumvented or broken most commonly used encryption systems. This affects both financial and medical data as well as the contents of emails, chats, and other online communications. The Guardian reports that Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook, among other service providers, may be affected.

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Following close on Facebook’s heels, Yahoo! released its first-ever transparency report last week. The report covers government data requests from 17 countries, and discloses the total number of requests, the number of user accounts specified in those requests, and the number of requests for which Yahoo! disclosed both content and non-content data, among other statistics.

Earlier this summer, Vietnam’s prime minister approved “Decree 72,” which prohibits blogs and social media sites from “‘quote[ing]’, ‘gather[ing]’ or summariz[ing] information from press organizations or government websites.” The decree, which effectively outlaws political discussion online, took effect on September 1.

#imweekly is a regular round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To subscribe via RSS, click here.