Saudi Arabia

2010

Alerts   |   Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia

After running leaked cables, websites face harassment

New York, December 10, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns harassment of the Lebanese news website Al-Akhbar after it published U.S. diplomatic cables that were first disclosed by WikiLeaks. The website was hacked this week by unknown attackers, while the Tunisian government blocked domestic access to the site. Saudi officials blocked access to the independent website Elaph, which also published some of the cables.

December 10, 2010 4:25 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Saudi Arabia

CPJ calls for the release of Saudi editor and academic

New York, December 8, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Saudi authorities to immediately release Mohamed al-Abdulkarim, an Islamic law professor, human rights activist, and the editor-in-chief of an online magazine. He was arrested on Sunday, two weeks after an article he wrote was published online.
December 8, 2010 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Internet, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, USA

Internet Blotter

  • Egyptian blogger Karim Amer is finally free after four years in prison.
  • Iran launches yet another police force to deal with the Internet, headquartered with the Revolutionary Guard. Its commander says the state plans to quadruple its Internet control budget.
  • Google lobbies U.S. policymakers to consider online censorship a free trade issue.
  • Is breaking into Yahoo e-mail too easy? The Sarah Palin hack revealed flaws in the webmail system's security that can still be exploited.
  • Yet more malicious attacks on computers connected to the Nobel Peace Prize. As with CPJ and other groups, the Nobel Institute's director, Geir Lundestad, received a personalized, but fake e-mail containing malware.
  • Saudi Arabia blocks Facebook over "moral concerns"--then immediately unblocks it, claiming an "error."
November 16, 2010 5:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, India, Internet, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Use your Blackberry to map global surveillance

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab has announced a research project to analyze the global infrastructure of Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry. It's looking for BlackBerry users from any country to take part--especially those in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Russia and China.

All of these countries have at some point demanded that RIM make their BlackBerry network more surveillance-friendly. Some have threatened to ban BlackBerry services outright if their demands are not met. Other reports suggest that RIM has made concessions to some of these countries' demands.

One possible concession RIM might make is to move its Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) servers to locations within those countries' jurisdictions. BIS servers are the bridges between the internal BlackBerry network and the wider Internet. A locally-hosted BIS server would make it easier for domestic security services to monitor BlackBerry users' general Web traffic.

RIM has kept quiet about what agreements, if any, it has made with any government. Nevertheless, it is theoretically possible to work out the location of these BIS servers externally. If you're a journalist who uses a BlackBerry, all you have to do to help with this project is to visit the RimCheck website using your BlackBerry device and fill out a short form. The site will record the IP address of the machine your request comes from, and will attempt to determine where in the world that server could be located.

The conclusions that the RIM Check project draws from this study will be published when the group has collected enough data. Concrete statistics like this will mean we'll finally be able to see if BlackBerry's send their data exclusively through Canadian servers as some believe or whether RIM has distributed these servers globally--potentially allowing users' unencrypted Net traffic to be as monitorable as that sent through a local Internet service provider.
October 21, 2010 5:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Canada, India, India, Internet, Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA

What should journalists know about BlackBerry fights?

A Blackberry logo is prominently displayed in Ahmadabad, India. (AP)

The discussions between Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, and governments such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and India continue to hit the headlines. In each case, disagreements center on providing customer communications to security and law enforcement services. The rumblings from these nations over monitoring powers aren't just limited to RIM: India has announced its intention to put the same pressure on Google (for Gmail), and Skype (for its IM and telephony services).

September 1, 2010 5:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Saudi Arabia, UK, USA

U.S. Senate passes 'libel tourism' bill

This week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill shielding journalists and publishers from “libel tourism.” The vote on Monday slipped past the Washington press corps largely unnoticed. Maybe it was the title that strove chunkily for a memorable acronym: the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act. Journalists and press freedom defenders outside the United States did, however, pay attention to the legislation, which they hope will spur libel law reform in their countries.

July 23, 2010 5:56 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen

Human rights coverage spreads, despite government pushback

Reports of Egyptian police torture spark protests in Cairo. (Reuters/Mona Sharaf)By Mohamed Abdel Dayem and Robert Mahoney

The media in the Middle East loved the Intifada. Every detail of Israel’s violations of human rights in the late 1980s in the West Bank and Gaza appeared in the Arabic and Farsi press. The governments that owned or controlled these media outlets loved it, too. When pan-Arab satellite television stations emerged in the 1990s, they looped hours of footage of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers repressing Palestinians.
February 16, 2010 12:53 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Iran, Saudi Arabia

Saudi operator Arabsat takes Iran’s Al-Alam network off air

An Al-Alam journalist reports from Saudi Arabia in 2008. (AP)

New York, February 3, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called for Saudi-run satellite operator Arabsat to return to air the Iranian-owned Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Alam, which stopped broadcasting January 27 without prior notice, according to international news reports.

In a statement published on its Web site, Al-Alam said that “Arabsat, in continuation of its censorship policies and as a move to confront the news networks which reflect the realities of the world, has today once again cut broadcasting of the Al-Alam network.” Al-Alam was previously taken off the air by both Arabsat and the Cairo-based satellite service provider Nilesat in November. Both cited a contractual breach without elaborating further. 

February 3, 2010 4:30 PM ET

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