A roundup of cyber news from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This week’s post covers media crackdowns in Sudan, cyber defense preparation in Iran, the release of a human rights activist in Bahrain, news from Syria and post-election Egypt, as well as updates on social media policing in the region.
Tag Archives: Egypt
Source: Maggie Michael, AFP
An Egyptian media official says authorities have pulled TV advertisements that warned against talking to foreigners who may be spies after criticism that they fueled xenophobia.
An advertisement broadcast on Egyptian television this week warned a talkative public not to open up to foreign visitors, in case their new friends turn out to be spies seeking to undermine the state.
Source: The New York Times
Security forces shut down three American-financed democracy-building groups and as many as six other nonprofit organizations on Thursday, in a crackdown that signaled a new low in relations between Washington and Egypt’s military rulers.
Source: Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is worried by the last night’s threat by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to use the state of emergency law against all journalists “threatening social peace.” It followed a raid earlier in the day on Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian affiliate, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Egypt, as part of an announced operation to check the licences of 16 satellite TV stations.
Source: News 24
Ousted president Hosni Mubarak, convicted for having cut internet services during the revolt which toppled him, has pinned part of the blame on his successor as Egypt’s ruler, a defence lawyer said on Friday.
A Cairo court on May 28 fined Mubarak and two former ministers a total of $90m for “damaging the economy” with a telephone and internet shutdown during Egypt’s uprising.
Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has said it is about to introduce a new internet security bill that would be submitted to the next parliament or the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for approval.
Yasser al-Qady, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), said the bill would be ready within three months. His statement was made on the sidelines of a meeting by communication minister Maged Othman with a delegation of US internet companies on Wednesday.
Qadi said the new bill conforms to international laws, and will have the effect of incorporating Egypt into an international system for internet security.
For full original article, see here
Today, it was reported by Renesys that beginning at 3:35 UTC and in the course of an hour and a half, two-thirds of Syrian networks had become disconnected from the global Internet.
This latest Internet black out is an example of just-in-time blocking—a phenomenon in which access to content and information communication technologies are blocked in response to sensitive political situations when the technology and content may have the greatest potential impact. It is suspected that the severing of Syria’s Internet is in direct response to the intensification of revolts this week, sparked in part by the death and torture of 13 year old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, as well as in memory of at least 50 other children killed during the protests. This action follows other MENA states severing access in reaction to protest on ground with Egypt shutting down national connectivity on January 28, 2011 and access blockages in Libya and Bahrain in February. For further analysis, see today’s OpenNet Initiative blogpost.
“When young dissidents in Egypt were organizing an election-monitoring project last fall, they discussed their plans over Skype, the popular Internet phone service, believing it to be secure.
Skype, which Microsoft Corp. is acquiring for $8.5 billion, is best known as a cheap way to make international phone calls. But the Luxembourg-based service also is the communications tool of choice for dissidents around the world because its powerful encryption technology evades traditional wiretaps
But someone else was listening in—Egypt’s security service.
The Journal investigates the business of censorship and the use of Western technology by governments facing social unrest.”
For the full original article, see here
“A British company offered to sell a program to the Egyptian security services that experts say could infect computers, hack into web-based email and communications tools such as Skype and even take control of other groups’ systems remotely, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
Two Egyptian human rights activists found the documents amid hundreds of batons and torture equipment when they broke into the headquarters of the regime’s State Security Investigations service (SSI) last month.”
From The Guardian