Recent reports that China has imposed further restrictions on Gmail. This loophole has now been closed, which means determined Chinese users have had to turn to more advanced circumvention tools.
And it’s not just the Chinese. A new law that came into effect last summer obliges all internet companies to store Russian citizens’ data on servers inside the country. This has already prompted Google to close down its engineering operations in Moscow. The Kremlin’s recent success in getting Facebook to block a page calling for protests in solidarity with the charged activist Alexey Navalny indicates that the government is rapidly re-establishing control over its citizens’ digital activities.
Brazil toyed with the idea of forcing American companies to store user data locally – an idea it eventually abandoned. However, Russia, China and Brazil are simply responding to the extremely aggressive tactics adopted by none other than the US.
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new net neutrality regulations today on a vote of 3-2, with the Commission’s two Democratic appointees joining Chairman Tom Wheeler in voting yes. The Commission’s two Republican-appointed members both voted no.
Notably, the FCC’s plan is now known to have undergone a last-minute revision to remove a potential weakness in its formation, pointed out by Google, that might have allowed for some paid prioritization. If you were curious about Google’s take on net neutrality, that fact should settle the question.
The Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) published an advice on internet freedom (.pdf, in Dutch), following a request for advice that the Minister of Foreign Affairs sent to the AIV in February 2014.
A committee of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is drafting a recommendation on internet freedom and is requesting public comments until the end of the month.
The European Commission appears to have shelved a landmark programme that gave out aid money to help human rights workers, protestors and journalists access the internet.