Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Syria Is The New Big Brother

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syria is cracking down more on Internet use, imposing tighter monitoring of citizens who link to the Internet, as well as jailing bloggers who criticize the government and blocking YouTube and other websites deemed harmful to state security.

The grip is tightening even as Syrian officials show off a center with fast Internet access and wireless technology for journalists covering this weekend's Arab League summit. The clampdown doesn't appear to be tied to the summit.

In recent days, authorities extended restrictions on use by requiring owners of Internet cafes to keep detailed logs on customers.

The rules, conveyed orally by security agents, require Internet cafes to record a client's full name, ID or passport number, the computer used, and the amount of time spent on the device. The logs must be available to security agents upon demand.

"It's a new form of psychological pressure and part of the state's systematic intimidation of Internet users," said Mazen Darwish, a journalist who heads the independent Syrian Media Center. - Boston Globe

This is the kind of stuff that makes Chris DeCarlo angry.

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