One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You can use your phone, access an app, or send a text, wherever you are.
The latest batch of reporting--writing, photography, and
video--from North Korea is available online at Asia Press Network (APN). The stories deal
with apparent hyperinflation, the emergence of street markets in
It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.
The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.
The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.
If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.
The Korea Times documents the disturbing increase in censorship of writing about North Korea, with the police forcing website operators to remove 42,787 pro-North Korean comments. This may be due to an increase in North Korean government attempts to enter the online debate, but some point to the general anti-Net sentiment of the Lee administration.
Oh Chang-ik, director of the Citizens Solidarity for Human Rights, defined the sudden surge of censorship as "post trauma" of the Lee administration following nationwide candlelight vigils against U.S. beef imports in 2008.
This is one of the risks when "the Internet" is characterized as the medium of choice of one political group over another. Lee's predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun, was seen as the Net-enabled President; the Lee administration has been far more sceptical of online publications, and concerned about their affects on local and international politics. Such an increase in control can't be good for the freedom of the Korean press online.
Current TV journalists Laura
Ling and Euna Lee were arrested by North Korean police on March 17 for
allegedly entering the country illegally and carrying out "hostile acts."
In June, they were sentenced
to 12 years' hard labor. Now back in the
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.