Access Now Blog
Yesterday, authorities in Dhaka, Bangladesh shut down some internet services for several hours, including blocking access to Facebook, Whatsapp, and Viber. Service was later restored, but key services remain offline. The latest shutdown in Dhaka shows worrying backsliding to the use of internet shutdowns as a blunt instrument to deal with threats to national security. It also solidifies the South Asia region as a hub for these intentional disruptions, given that Pakistan and the Indian provinces of Gujarat and Kashmir have also chosen to disrupt networks in the past few months. Worse, it looks as though lawmakers around the world are seeing threats to national security as a justification for undermining the open internet. …19 November 2015
Today countries around the world urged the small island state of Nauru to restore access to social media and support free expression. Delivered in a session at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the recommendations — presented by official delegations from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Timor Leste, among others — represent a sharp rebuke after Nauru clamped down on free expression over the past year, including blocking Facebook. In a separate action, Access Now delivered a petition to the government of Nauru signed by more than 5,000 people calling on the government to restore full access to the internet.…3 November 2015
Rights groups won a major victory for free expression in Malaysia as a High Court lifted a three-month ban on The Edge Media Group. The decision follows months of sustained pressure by local advocacy groups in Malaysia and international organizations including Access Now. Sarawak Report, another major media organization in Malaysia, remains blocked.…22 September 2015
Vodafone employees accessed journalist Natalie O’Brien’s call and text records in 2011, after she wrote reports about problems with the company’s Siebel security system. According to a leaked email, Vodafone managers asked employees to use “any means available” to uncover the source of O’Brien’s information. Vodafone commissioned an investigation by a top accounting firm, the results of which it refuses to release, while denying any “improper behavior.” However, after public pressure intensified this week, Vodafone reversed course and has asked federal police to investigate. We call on Vodafone to cooperate fully with investigators, release the independent report it commissioned, publicly explain what actions the company took after it became aware of the breach, and promise non-repetition. The company should strive to implement encryption, including end-to-end encryption, which would prevent employees from being able to access user data like this in the future.
…16 September 2015