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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2013-06-02

US company accused of aiding Syria in censorship efforts

Today on the net: a company in the US accused of aiding Syria in censorship efforts; Anonymous UK declares war on the English Defence League; and a golfer showing off some impressive moves…

US company accused of aiding Syria in censorship efforts

Despite trade sanctions against this type of technology, it would seem the US continues to supply the Syrian regime with material and software used to monitor the Internet and trace opponents. These findings are from a study of the Syrian web infrastructure carried out by cyber activists from Telecomix last week. The data suggests that 34 servers in Syria have been updated with software from the firm Blue Coat.

As French website Reflets.info reports, this is not the first time the Californian company has been accused of helping Damascus censor the web and spy on web users. Bluecoat products were spotted in Syria back in 2011, prompting the US authorities to open an enquiry.

The company denied any responsibility and placed the blame on third party distributors, saying it respected and adhered to the US imposed embargo.

But with more Blue Coat technology now spotted in Syria, the NGO Reporters without Borders wants answers from the company which it added to its enemies of the Internet list back in March.

And according to the team at Toronto University’s Citizen Lab, it’s not just Syria; Blue Coat equipment is also used by a number of other authoritarian regimes. The Canadian researchers published a report in January illustrating how countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and also China were being provided with the means to censor the Internet and monitor and muzzle web users.



Anonymous UK declares war on the English Defence League

On Tuesday, hackers claiming to be from the UK branch of Anonymous launched Operation EDL, declaring war on the English Defence League, the extreme right movement known, amongst other things for its anti-Islam position. It comes after one thousand or so EDL activists staged a demonstration in London on Monday, an anti-Muslim protest, following the murder of a soldier by two radical Islamists on May 22nd.

In this online video promoting the campaign, members of Anonymous accuse the EDL of using the death of a soldier to spread their hatred; the hacker group says it will not give up until it has stopped the racist movement forever, and that it will not let this extremist group get away with radicalizing the country’s youth.


And in addition to the warnings, a list of names, telephone numbers and addresses of hundreds of members of the English Defence league and their sponsors have been published on the Anonymous website: information that also includes details on some of the extreme right militants’ past convictions.

And Anonymous is also inundating social networks with anti-EDL messages, to such an extent the anti-Islam movement was forced to momentarily suspend Facebook activity on Tuesday, a page that has some 133,000 supporters.

 

Now trending on social networks

Video Games enthusiasts have joined the social media campaign « PS4 No DRM » following rumours about the Playstation 4 which suggest the new console by Japanese manufacturer Sony will be equipped with a DRM system, digital rights management software. So players may not be able to play second hand games or borrow game from friends. And despite the fact they can’t wait to get their hands on the new console, these latest rumours have got a lot of web users very worried.

 

Google Maps brings bike directions to six European countries

This should go down well with weekend warriors and other bike riding fans. Google Maps is now showing up all the bike paths and cycle lanes in six different European countries: France, Poland, Luxemburg, Germany, Ireland and Lichtenstein. Web users can also contribute to the mapping service’s latest function by adding in their own bike directions.

 

Video of the day

French golf pro Romain Bechu has posted this video online in which he gives an amazing display: performing all sorts of tricks with a club and a ball. He pulls off one spectacular move after another, impressive stuff indeed.

By Electron Libre

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