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August 02, 2010

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates blocking Blackberry service

UAE to ban BlackBerry services, Saudi follows suit
The United Arab Emirates outlined plans Sunday to block BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing services in a crackdown that could jeopardize efforts to establish the country as an international business hub. The government cited a potential security threat because encrypted data sent on the devices is moved abroad, where it cannot be monitored for illegal activity. But the decision — quickly followed by a similar move in Saudi Arabia — raises questions about whether the conservative Gulf nations are trying to further control content they deem politically or morally objectionable. BlackBerry phones have a strong following in the region, not only among foreign professionals in commercial centers such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but also among youth who see their relatively secure communication channels as a way to avoid unwanted government attention.

July 15, 2010

BP using local police to harass, search, and intimidate press

In Gulf Spill Area, Reporters Face Security Hurdles : NPR
In early July, the freelance photographer Lance Rosenfield was standing on a public street in the town of Texas City, Texas, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. He was taking shots of street signs and of a nearby BP oil refinery — one of the largest in the country. A few minutes later, as he filled his car's tank at a gas station, Rosenfield found himself penned in by police cars. A BP security guard was close behind. And, beckoned by his colleagues, a local police official assigned to an FBI task force arrived as well. They asked Rosenfield about the story he was working on. Over the next 20 minutes or so, the photographer gave his name, address, driver's license and Social Security number — and was convinced — or pressured, take your pick — to show his photographs. All of the material was shared with the BP security guard. . . . "This is in no way, in any newsroom in the United States, considered acceptable behavior," said Steve Engelberg, managing editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative news site Pro Publica. The site had hired Rosenfield for a project conducted with the PBS documentary series Frontline to report on toxic pollution from the refinery. "You are not allowed, as a police officer, to rummage through the notebooks and photographs — not published — of newspapers," Engelberg said. "That's not how we do it in this country." And yet related complaints have been heard throughout the Gulf Coast in the months since the oil spill. Back in May, CBS's Kelly Cobiella told viewers that when she and a film crew tried to take footage of a beach in South Pass, La., "a boat of BP contractors, with two Coast Guard officers on board, told us to turn around — under threat of arrest."

June 29, 2010

Reports of police brutaity surface from G20 protests

‘I will not forget what they have done to me’ - thestar.com The article presents capsule stories from many protesters, journalists, and passerbys who were arrested and brutalized by the police.
Amy Miller, Montreal Miller, an independent journalist, was on her way to the jail solidarity protest Sunday around noon with fellow journalist Adam MacIsaac. She stopped at Bloor and St. Thomas Sts. where she saw police officers searching a group of young people carrying backpacks. She says police attacked her. “I was throttled at the neck and held down. Next thing you know I was being cuffed and put in one of the wagons.” She says she was threatened and harassed by police at the Eastern Ave. detention centre. “I was told I was going to be raped, I was told I was going to be gangbanged, I was told that they were going to make sure that I was never going to want to act as a journalist again.” She also says she spoke to numerous young women who were strip-searched by male officers.

June 23, 2010

The editor of WikiLeaks discusses censorship

Wikileaks editor interview on censorship