Tech trip: Syria’s Internet shutdown, India and online content, Facebook and sex-offender page

• Syria’s shutdown of the Internet is in its second day, according to activists cited by the New York Times. The country, which has been engaged in a civil war for almost two years as rebels seek to overthrow longtime President Bashar al-Assad, has been without Internet access since Thursday. Phone communications were also reportedly down.

The Guardian says the nationwide communications shutdown — some report it has not been completely dark — is unprecedented because previously, officials had shut down communications only in opposition-led areas. (See Internet shutdown redux, this time in Syria.) The Syrian government also has used the Internet to target activists individually. (See Quoted: on the Syrian revolution and how technology giveth and taketh away.)

The government and the opposition are blaming each other for the blackout. One activist tells the NYT they use satellites anyway, and that “this operation won’t affect activists’ work much.”

The timing of the outage raises questions about whether a major offensive against the uprising is in the works, although there were reportedly signs that fighting was calming because the government reopened the road to the Damascus airport.

• In India, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear whether a law that got a couple of women arrested recently over a Facebook post and “Like” is constitutional. A couple of weeks ago, a college student criticizing the big funeral of a right-wing party leader on Facebook and her friend who liked her post were arrested and later released by police, reportedly charged in relation to promoting “religious emnity” between groups under a fairly new law on Internet communications. (See Quoted: on getting arrested over Facebook post and ‘Like’ in India.) The charges against the two women were dropped this week, and the police officers who arrested them have been suspended after widespread outrage, according to the New York Times. Farooq Dhada, the father of the college student whose Facebook post sparked the controversy, said freedom of speech in India “exists only on paper,” according to NPR.

• And a judge in the United Kingdom has ordered Facebook to remove a page that had been set up to monitor pedophiles in Northern Ireland, the BBC reports. A convicted sex offender had brought the lawsuit against the social network, and a judge agreed that the page amounted to harassment and possible infringement of the criminal’s human rights. Facebook was given 72 hours to remove the page, on which the plaintiff’s photograph had been posted. The BBC says that although the original page appears to have been taken down, a couple of others have sprung up in its place.

 

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  • David

    What Constitutional Right to Privacy does a sex offender of children have? Maybe the pervert should have thought about not doing the crime if he didn’t want to be shamed by his sickly misdeed.

 
 
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