Syria’s cyber war against the regime’s opponents. Ramy Essam, the singer of the Egyptian revolution, back in Tahrir Square. An anti-PowerPoint party is formed in Switzerland.
Syria's cyber war against dissidents
The crackdown on anti-regime protesters continues in Syria and the government is also waging a virtual war against its online opponents. Social networks have been playing a vital role in the protest movement that has rocked the country for the past four months.
In his most recent speech on the 20th June, President Bashar al-Assad paid tribute to the “Syrian Electronic Army”, a group of computer hackers loyal to the Syrian government. On their web site, the group has given a debriefing of their latest attacks. Attacks like this one, carried out on Sunday against the US State of Maryland’s official web site, in protest against last week’s visit of the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, to the rebel stronghold of Hama.
And according to cyber activists, these pro-government hackers are also launching regular attacks on anti-regime Facebook groups and posting pro-Assad comments, or sending repeated reports against the page or profile until Facebook administration shuts them down.
In view of these attacks, pro-revolution hackers are now fighting back. They have carried out a number of attacks against government web sites in recent weeks, including the Syrian parliament. And in this cyber war, regime opponents can count on the support of a force to be reckoned with, the international network of computer hackers, Anonymous.
Ramy Essam, the singer of the Egyptian revolution
Thousands of demonstrators returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday demanding the army (which has been ruling the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak) speeds up democratic reforms. And one voice rings out from the crowd; it’s the singer Ramy Essam who has become one of the icons of the Egyptian Revolution.
When the uprising against the former regime began, this 24 year old student left his home town of Mansoura in the Nile Delta to join the protesters in Tahrir Square, taking his guitar with him.
He began putting the anti-Mubarak chants to music, and one of his songs, called “Leave” has become a revolution anthem.
Following Mubarak’s ouster on the 11th of February, Ramy Essam, along with other die hard protesters stayed in Tahrir square to maintain pressure on the new military rulers, responsible for the transition process. But on the 9th of March, security forces used violence to force them out. Over 200 demonstrators were arrested, including the young singer. A few days after he was released Ramy Essam spoke of the torture he endured during his time in detention.
The ordeal actually reinforced his determination to continue the fight. And with over 14 000 fans on Facebook, he is now the spokesman for an entire generation of Egyptians, yearning for freedom and justice.
US secret service investigates spy camera artist
« People Staring at Computers » is the name of an artistic project recently set up by Kyle MacDonald. The 27 year old New Yorker installed spy camera software on computers in various Apple stores across the city, which automatically took photos of over a thousand people looking at the screen without them knowing. Apple alerted the US Secret Service which sent agents to the artist’s home with a search warrant for suspected computer fraud.
Swiss party campaigns against PowerPoint
A new political party has been formed in Switzerland. It’s called the Anti-PowerPoint-Party, and as its name suggests, the party’s political program consists of banning these boring presentations, made using the Microsoft software. The part’s founder Matthias Poehm says PowerPoint costs
the Swiss economy over one and a half billion euros per year. And so to replace the software, he recommends using Flip Charts which have a more powerful effect on their audience.
Video of the day
This is a video for thrill seekers. The Takabisha has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the steepest roller coaster in the world. The ride lasts under two minutes, and has an inclination of 120 degrees over 3.4 meters at its steepest point. Located in Japan’s Fuji-Q theme park, the attraction will be open to the public from the 16th of July.