Archive for the 'Internet' Category



Fired over Facebook: Employer Regulation of Speech on Social Media Sites

Experts have stated that “the intersection of social media and the office is a potential minefield,” creating numerous possibilities for a wide variety of lawsuits. A manager “poking” an employee on Facebook might give rise to a sexual harassment claim. Or perhaps an employer may rescind a job offer to an employee after learning via Facebook that the applicant is of a particular religion or sexual orientation. While these types of lawsuits seem inevitable, claims concerning employee speech on social networking sites have already become prevalent.   Continue reading ‘Fired over Facebook: Employer Regulation of Speech on Social Media Sites’

Twitter and the Right to ‘Menacing’ Jokes

In January 2010, Paul Chambers expressed his annoyance at the closure of his local airport on Twitter, with the comment, ‘Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!’ He was arrested a week later and questioned while police seized his computers and phones, and was subsequently charged under the Communications Act 2003. Continue reading ‘Twitter and the Right to ‘Menacing’ Jokes’

UK government urges ISPs to block porn

This week the government revealed plans to approach internet service providers (ISPs), in January, in a bid to curb easy access to internet porn. Ministers are hoping for a system (provided and administered by the ISPs) where customers must opt-in. It has been suggested that if ISPs fail to devise this system voluntarily, legislation may be introduced. The main supporting argument for these changes has been to control what children can access online. More and more young children are inadvertently viewing porn sites and only 15% of parents understand how to use the controls provided on their computers to restrict such access. Another more recent worry is the ability to access such sites on mobile phones, which is obviously much more difficult to monitor. Some, but not all, ISPs have recently blocked this ability. Continue reading ‘UK government urges ISPs to block porn’

Wikileaks: Freedom of Expression on the Internet

“The reaction to the Wikileaks story exposes the heady mixture of self-delusion that passes for debate on freedom of information, transparency of government, re-use of public information, secure data sharing, data protection, information assurance, information security, information risk management and even net neutrality.”

Earlier this year, Wikileaks posted a video of US military personnel launching an airstrike that killed unarmed Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists. In addition to the public outrage, this provoked an interesting debate about where the line between the right to freedom of information and the interests of national security should be drawn. The debate rages on this month as Wikileaks releases more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables simultaneously around the world revealing confidential information about many countries around the world. Continue reading ‘Wikileaks: Freedom of Expression on the Internet’

Amazon’s conflicting censorship policy

Amazon.com has had a chequered history when it comes to its policy regarding books with ’sensitive’ or ’adult’ content. In February 2009, a large group of books including those with gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender (GLBT) themes lost their sales ranks on Amazon. When asked about this on different occasions by authors, Amazon responded: ’In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.’ Later, however, Amazon claimed that this was a technical error and there was no new Amazon policy on ‘adult’ titles. Moreover, Amazon stated that this error had affected books on various other themes, although no list was provided. It has been argued that this incident was in fact, a more deliberate action on the part of Amazon who, following consumer pressure, decided to change their stance. Continue reading ‘Amazon’s conflicting censorship policy’

Cuba, Twitter and Freedom of Expression

Cuba’s contemporary history on violations of freedom of expression is broad.  The island runs second in the ranking of countries with more journalists in prison (right after China). Just in 2009, 22 journalists were imprisoned for spreading their ideas.

Yoani Sanchez, the worldwide-known blogger, is maybe the most illustrative example of the limitation of freedom of expression in Cuba. After establishing the freedom of expression panel/magazine Contodos, and becoming famous for her ‘Generacion Y’ Blog, in which she portrays her everyday life in Cuba, Sanchez was labeled as a ‘counter-revolutionary’ by the Government, and her access to her own blog was blocked (she now relies in friends who live outside Cuba and sends them posts to publish on her behalf). Continue reading ‘Cuba, Twitter and Freedom of Expression’

Instant messaging: Enhanced communication or security threat?

Several countries have expressed concern over the use of instant messaging services like Blackberry in their countries.  Saudi Arabia was due to ban the service from 6th August, but did not do so. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is due to ban the service in October.

The main complaints of these countries has been the alleged threat to security posed by the service and the fact that it is difficult for them to monitor the communications, because the data is encrypted and sent to Canada to be decoded. The UAE’s telecom regulator, TRA has denied that the suspension of Blackberry in the UAE from 11th October has to do with censorship and claims it is due to Blackberry not complying with UAE telecommunications regulations.  However, there was an alleged attempt by TRA to install spyware on to Blackberry and in 2007, they were refused access by RIM to the code for the encrypted networks to monitor communications. Continue reading ‘Instant messaging: Enhanced communication or security threat?’


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