Iran aims to create an internet cut off from the world

Is this the future for autocratic regimes that fear web-savvy youth calling for freedom and democracy? Sounds like a perfect weapon to silence dissent. Resistance will be essential: Millions of Internet users in Iran will be permanently denied access to the World Wide Web and cut off from popular social networking sites and email services,…

Nothing is private in the 21st century

Our digital world is increasingly monitored by a range of state and non-state actors. Be afraid and be aware. A recent cover story in Wired showed how the US government, with no transparency, is building a massive listening station where everybody is targeted: Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data…

Just how close is Google to the US government?

Newly released documents from Wikileaks suggest that the internet giant has an agenda rather different to just a very fast search engine (via Al Akhbar): Top Google execs, including the company’s CEO and one of Barack Obama’s major presidential campaign donors Eric Schmidt, informed the intelligence agency Stratfor about Google’s activities and internal communication regarding…

Codifying secrecy as a way of doing business, thanks to Obama

In case anybody still had any illusions about the obsession of the Obama administration to pursue whistle-blowers or anybody who seriously embarrasses them, read on (via the Wall Street Journal): The U.S. government has obtained a controversial type of secret court order to force GoogleInc. and small Internet provider Sonic.net Inc. to turn over information…

The Net Delusion is alive and well

My following book review appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald: THE NET DELUSION Evgeny Morozov Allen Lane, 408pp, $29.95 As people in the Middle East have been protesting in the streets against Western-backed dictators and using social media to connect and circumvent state repression, it would be easy to dismiss The Net Delusion as almost…

Perth Writer’s Festival, here I come

This will be fun. I’m about to head across to Perth in Western Australia for the Perth Writer’s Festival. My events: Sat 5 Mar, 2.00PM The invasion of Gaza in 2008 provoked worldwide condemnation and questions aboutIsrael’s right to exist. Some asked why other nations acting unjustly don’t face debate about the validity of their…

What New Delhi can learn from Cairo

My following article is published by leading Indian magazine Tehelka: The Middle East is the region where global empires lavishly exercise their chequebook. Since the Second World War, America has bribed, cajoled and backed autocratic regimes in the name of stability. Israel, self-described as the only democracy in the area, has been insulated from the…