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A digital magazine covering the intersection of technology, human rights and social change.

Post Tagged with: "internet"

Pirate Bay to provide support to activists, charities and start-ups with rebooted “Promo Bay”

Pirate Bay to provide support to activists, charities and start-ups with rebooted “Promo Bay”

Popular torrent website Pirate Bay has re-launched its project Promo Bay which disappeared this August due to personnel changes. Promo Bay was a promotional tool used to promote artists and content creators to millions around the globe. Along with artists the new Promo Bay will showcase activists, charities and start-ups.

Promo Bay’s Will Dayble said that, “The main goal of the new Promo Bay is to draw attention to disruptive things happening around the world. Art, activism, charity, startups, the weird and wonderful, the game changers and indie.” The new Promo Bay is accepting submissions from around the world and will soon promote your projects.

The Pirate Bay is not stranger to disruptive behaviour, providing a peer-to-peer file sharing platform which has been subject to much legal scrutiny.

via Torrent Freak

November 8, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
New rules for Russian internet surveillance hold ISPs responsible for storage of internet traffic

New rules for Russian internet surveillance hold ISPs responsible for storage of internet traffic

In an effort to tighten controls over the internet Russia is expanding its surveillance measures to Russian ISPs. ISPs will be required to keep track of all Internet traffic, recording IP addresses, telephone numbers, and usernames. They will be required to store all collected traffic for 12 hours while the Russian security apparatus monitors it.

The move has sparked controversy as it is counter to provisions protecting privacy and the right to due process under the Russian Constitution.

It is unclear whether these measures will have a net effect on Russian internet users’ privacy. Some suggesting that the new measures will have little effect on Russian rights to privacy as current legislation requires ISPs to collect data already. The difference appears to be the 12-hour rule which holds ISPs responsible for storing internet traffic giving the Russian security apparatus, which has limited storage capacity, time to adequately monitor the information.

via Global Voices Online

November 7, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Huawei partners with Angola’s Ministry of Education and Unitel to increase internet connectivity in Angola

Huawei partners with Angola’s Ministry of Education and Unitel to increase internet connectivity in Angola

Networking and telecom equipment company Huawei has partnered with Angola’s Ministry of Education and Mongolian based telecom company Unitel to increase internet connectivity in Angola.

The project, formally called E-net, is currently in it’s second phase. The goal of the project is to bridge the “digital divide among Angolan youth, at the same time enhancing research and development in ICT leading to localized innovations”, according to Leon Liu, Director of Huawei Technologies representative office in Angola.

Estimates indicate that E-net will affect 18,000 youth in 18 provinces in the country, and will certainly push internet penetration up in the country which is currently at 14.86%.

via IT News Africa

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October 7, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Is Africa’s technology revolution all hype?

Is Africa’s technology revolution all hype?

In an earlier article, we mentioned how Safaricom, the leading communications service provider in Kenya has contributed greatly to the proliferation of technology devices in Kenya. Today, about 16 million Kenyans are connected to the internet, up 12% from the previous year. Even more impressive is that Africa had 650 million mobile subscribers in 2012, more than the US and EU. This isn’t the whole story though. Internet quality in Africa is still quite poor and still isn’t completely accessible to those in the poorer income brackets. The truth is that the technology revolution in Africa though real to some extent, has been greatly exaggerated.

Information and communications technology (ICT) has had an evident economic impact in Africa, but it hasn’t been evenly distributed across the continent and within countries. In Kenya for instance, internet penetration was 41% by December 31 of last year. Meanwhile, internet access in Sierra Leone was only at around 1%. When evaluating the quality of internet connectivity, the situation looks even less impressive. Data conducted by the M-lab revealed that South Africa has one of the slowest download speeds at 0.33 Mbps measured this past May. As a reference, the average download speed in the US is at around 7.4 Mbps.

Critics argue that the technology revolution is still at a very nascent stage having only started 5 years ago, which means there’s still a long time to go before we witness significant improvements. So who’s to blame for the hype? Part of it stems from the media celebrating small successes. The successful run of test pilots and prototypes are things we should certainly look at in a positive matter, but it’s only the first step. Rarely does the media paint a truly accurate picture of how things are.

The initiatives from Google’s Project Loon and Zuckerberg’s manifesto to improve internet connectivity in rural areas are good signs for the future of ubiquitous internet access in Africa. To point out though, Zuckerberg failed to mention how he will deal with building out the infrastructure in these rural areas, which could pose a problem towards his quest to connect the world.

Africa is changing in front of our eyes. A decade ago it would be hard to believe that there would be this many mobile devices today let alone a mobile payment system. Much work is still to be done however, as countries still struggle with reducing the income gap. It’s dangerous to think in terms of averages and aggregates, since this type of thinking will result in those at the ‘tail end’ to be neglected.

For more detail on the topic of this post, watch the video from BBC’s Lesley Curen here

Share your thoughts and comments below.

September 5, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Israel will give you a full scholarship to say nice things about them on the internet

Israel will give you a full scholarship to say nice things about them on the internet

“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption”

These were the words of an official statement released on Wednesday by the Israeli Government. In an attempt to curb anti-semitism, Israel has offered to give select students full or partial scholarships to actively advocate on behalf of Israel and combat calls to boycott Israel online. The students would work independently and wouldn’t identify themselves as government-linked.

Paid shills aren’t anything new – China’s infamous fifty cent army have long spread pro-Chinese messages online. Israel’s intiative is, however, the first of it’s kind that is done in such an upfront and blatant manner.

When Israel launched it’s offensive on Gaza last year, a large subsection of the army and dozens of volunteers were relegated into a “media bunker” to post veiled updates on social media reflecting the Israeli point of view.

“We are (operating) on four fronts: The military front, the home front, the diplomatic front and the public diplomacy front,” Netanyahu said. “We must fight for the truth, for the facts … refuting the industry of lies.”

via nytimes

August 15, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Google uses unused TV/radio frequencies to bring internet to Africa

Google uses unused TV/radio frequencies to bring internet to Africa

Google made headlines a few months ago when they unveiled Project Loon, an initiative to bring internet to the masses by way of wi-fi carrying balloons. While widespread implimentation of Loon remains a long-term objective, the search giant and swiss army knife of technology is experimenting with an innovative new technology to bring internet to rural areas of Africa.

By teaming up with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Google aims to take advantage of “white space” — a spectrum of unused TV and radio frequencies — to bring broadband internet to communites in Africa. In order to leverage the movement and gather enough white space to make a useful difference, the South African think tank is lobbying to push the implementation of digital broadcasting in television, which offeres more usable white space than the analogue equivalent. Despite investments of nearly $17 billion across Africa, the spectrum currently allocated to mobile services remains the lowest in the world.

As a result, a sluggish technical infrastructure is forcing South African firms to look into broadband and wi-fi over traditional DSL. Africa continues to have record breaking rates of smartphone growth, which Google intends to take advantage of.

via itnewsafrica

August 14, 2013 Comments are Disabled Read More
Has the UK ushered in an age of institutionalized censorship of open information?

Has the UK ushered in an age of institutionalized censorship of open information?

As a footnote to an already questionable political term, UK head of state David Cameron is bringing into law a set of mandates that will actively block “adult” content on the internet by default, with an option to opt-out. The law will require any household that wants to access filtered content (i.e pornography, alcohol, smoking, web forums, etc.) to specifically contact their ISP and turn it on. Although the range of filtering will be at the behest of the ISP, the suite of filtering policies come with conveniently vague stratifications like “estoteric content”.

Predictably, much like the rest of his term in office, Cameron’s decision hasn’t been met with a great deal of public support.

On face, the bill doesn’t seem particularly bad. Although pornography will be filtered by default, interested households can turn it back on. On paper, it’s a bill supposedly meant to protect youth from explicit content at the cost of a few awkward phone calls to ISPs. Cameron’s actions, however, come with a more dire pricetag.

By mandating the filtering of a segment of the internet, David Cameron has set the precedent of government’s blocking access to legal content on the

In the past, government restrictions on illegal content (i.e child porn) has been met with a modicum of hostility, although it has been generally accepted by the public. In setting this bill into motion, however, Cameron has taken the range of government censorship from illegal information to perfectly legal information. The step away from this bill, moving to preventing the “opt-out” of certain types of content, is only a stones throw or a parliament’s shout away.

On the heels of the NSA scandal, David Cameron’s decision to institutionalize the censorship of free information, to whatever degree, spells disaster for an online landscape of open info that’s increasingly precarious. It’s important to step away from the short-term implications of a bill seemingly built to protect the integrity of accesible content and look at the potential long-term implications.

July 28, 2013 1 comment Read More

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