The Syrian conflict moves onto the web. The gun control debate rages online in the US. And an airline is fined in Vietnam for a bikini show.
Cyber war in Syria
“Protecting your account means protecting your friends” and “protecting your passwords means protecting the revolution”. Urged on by a student organisation, young Syrians, based in the country and abroad made these signs to warn opposition fighters about piracy attempts.
Since the start of the revolt, the Syrian regime has tried to infiltrate activist networks online. Security forces are thought to be using torture to obtain the passwords of militants arrested to access their social network accounts. And in recent months, copies of sites such as Facebook and Youtube have even been created to trick cyber activists and gather personal data.
But in this cyber war, opponents are supported by hacker groups. The group, Anonymous regularly attack the regime’s official sites, while the Telecomix collective provide advice to opposition fighters to help them ensure that online communication remains secure.
The aim is to protect them from attacks led by the electronic Syrian army, a group of IT pirates, working for the Damascus regime. And their work not only targets opposition fighters, they are also propaganda agents who flood social networks with messages praising Bachar al-Assad.
The hackers also target international media. Last week, a Twitter account of the Reuters press agency was pirated to spread false information about rebels in the Syrian free army.
USA: shooting survivors demand end to gun violence
Bill Badger, Pat Maisch and Pam Simon were injured during the Tucson shooting, which left six dead in January 2011 in the Arizona town. In this video diffused online, they call on presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, to propose a bill to control guns in the country. They believe that forty eight thousand Americans could be killed by firearms during the next presidential mandate if no action is taken.
The video was created by an association of anti-gun Mayors. Their campaign is accompanied by a website on which net users can sign a petition addressed to the two White House hopefuls.
The killing, which left twelve dead at a cinema in Colorado on July 20, reopened the online gun control debate. As shown by this graph published on the Mashable site, online discussions reached a peak, particularly following the publication of this editorial in the Wall Street Journal. An article according to which an additional mandate by Barack Obama could ring the death knell of the second amendment of the US constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to carry firearms.
The debate returned to the forefront after six people were killed during a shooting in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin state.
But the topic is sensitive in this electoral period. And instead of legislating on firearms, Democrat representatives recently proposed a bill aiming to limit online ammunition sales. According to police, James Holmes, the alleged perpetrator of the Aurora shooting was able to buy six thousand rounds of ammunition online.
Wedding proposal photo goes viral
Joel Bush and Jennifer Orr thought they were alone that summer night when he proposed to her in a deserted park in Austin, Texas. But little did they know, the romantic moment was immortalised by Patrick Lu, a photographer who was there by chance. The day after, much to their surprise, the couple discovered the beautiful image posted online by the photographer and they were delighted to have a souvenir of the magic moment.
Webcams make Alaska bears "accessible"
A few weeks ago webcams were installed in Katmai national park, Alaska. The aim is to allow net users to observe brown bears who live in this nature reserve, which is very difficult to access for tourists. One of the webcams in particular is trained on a river in which males fish for salmon at this time of year. A spectacle of nature that can now be viewed live on your computer.
Video of the day
To celebrate the launch of a new flight between Ho Chi Minh city and Nha Trang, the low cost airline, Vietjet Air organised a bikini fashion show on board a plane, much to the enjoyment of the gentlemen on the maiden voyage. But the initiative did not go down so well with the Vietnamese authorities, who imposed a fine of nearly one thousand dollars for a ‘non authorised show’.