Access Contested: Security, Identity and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace

In December 2011, we will celebrate the launch of Access Contested: Security, Identity, and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace, which is the third volume from the OpenNet Initiative.

Edited by Ron Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski and Jonathan Zittrain, Access Contested examines the interplay of national security, social and ethnic identity, and resistance in Asian cyberspace, offering in-depth accounts of national struggles against Internet controls as well as updated country reports by ONI researchers.

Access Contested is available for pre-order at MIT Press.

Asian Cyberspace on the Rise: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada

In wrote an article for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada about the rise of Asia’s cyberspace. ” The piece  examines “how countries are responding to the challenges and opportunities of growing innovation in the region…and outlines the limited role Canada can play in shaping developments of cyberspace governance and security in Asia which will have far reaching implications in the future.”

Read the full article here [pdf].

Science Magazine review of Access Controlled

Caught in the Net

By Damian Tambini

From Science

Almost 600 years on, it seems clear that Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press was a crucial factor in the rise of democracy in Europe and the decline of the old order of church and monarchy. Movable type and mechanized printing led to an explosion of free expression that was key to the emergence of modern pluralist democracy. Many claim that the historical impact of the Internet will be of a similar magnitude, that it will lead to an inevitable undermining of authoritarian regimes and the spread of democracy around the globe. In the words of early enthusiast John Gilmore, “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” (1).

But judging by the research and contributions gathered in Access Controlled, we will have to wait many more years before the nature of the impact of the Internet on dictatorship and democracy becomes clear. The authors provide an alarming range of evidence to support the view that authoritarian regimes are becoming ever more adept at controlling and censoring Internet communication. The volume raises a chilling possibility: that the early commentators were correct about the magnitude of the impact of the Internet on democracy—they just got the direction wrong. Could authoritarian regimes, and also democratic governments working with private companies, be perfecting a new form of authoritarianism, working with the grain of Internet communication and exploiting the intimate entwining of online communication with the everyday lives of citizens?
Continue reading

NED Event May 25, 2010

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is hosting a panel conversation for the OpenNet Initiative’s new volume Access Controlled. Attending the panel discussion will be Ron Deibert, John Palfrey and Rafal Rohozinski from the ONI, and Bob Boorstin from Google. Moderating the discussion will be Mr. Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Details are here

IDRC Webcast – The Potential of Open Development for Canada and Abroad

I participated in a live webcast and panel, organized by IDRC, on “The Potential of Open Development for Canada and Abroad,” in Ottawa, May 5th, 2010. Also on the panel were Michael Geist, Sunil Abraham, Anita Gurumurthy, and Yochai Benkler. The panel was hosted by Jesse Brown. We discussed the concept of “openness” in the context of software development, cyberspace governance, development, and human rights

You can see the entire webcast here. Continue reading

Online Censorship on rise in Middle East, North Africa

CBC News

CBC News has posted a news item about the OpenNet Initiative’s Middle East and North Africa reports, just released. You can read the CBC news item here.

The item also mentions the Citizen Lab’s GNI Monitor project:
“The Citizen Lab, which runs out of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies, announced last month it would examine how closely companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo follow their own principles regarding freedom of expression and privacy.”

OpenNet Releases Middle East and North Africa reports

We (the OpenNet Initiative released our Middle East and North Africa research reports today. Some early press from the report here. We have put up a very useful extended Q and A here.

Among the findings of the report is evidence of the use of commercial filtering products in the region. One of the manufacturers, Websense, restricted its service to two ISPs after our report documented its use in Yemen. You can read more about that here.