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      Montana’s TikTok ban blocked by federal judge

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 1 December - 14:35

    Montana’s TikTok ban blocked by federal judge

    Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Contributor | Bloomberg )

    A federal judge has stopped a US state’s landmark ban on TikTok from going into effect, in an important test case for the widespread political backlash that has grown in the country against the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

    Montana’s Senate Bill 419, which was signed by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, in May, would have gone into effect in January and imposed a ban on downloads of the app.

    On Thursday, Judge Donald Molloy granted TikTok’s request for a preliminary injunction after the ByteDance-owned app challenged the legislation in court, denouncing it as an unconstitutional infringement of its rights. Some users of the app also joined the legal challenge.

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      Fighting VPN criminalization should be Big Tech’s top priority, activists say

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 20 March, 2023 - 11:00 · 1 minute

    Fighting VPN criminalization should be Big Tech’s top priority, activists say

    Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

    “Women, life, freedom” became the protest chant of a revolution still raging in Iran months after a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died while in custody of morality police. Amini was arrested last September for “improperly” wearing a hijab and violating the Islamic Republic's mandatory dress code laws. Since then, her name has become a viral hashtag invoked by millions of online activists protesting authoritarian regimes around the globe.

    In response to Iran's ongoing protests—mostly led by women and young people—Iranian authorities have increasingly restricted Internet access. First, they temporarily blocked popular app stores and indefinitely blocked social media apps like WhatsApp and Instagram. They then implemented sporadic mobile shutdowns wherever protests flared up. Perhaps most extreme, authorities responded to protests in southeast Iran in February by blocking the Internet outright, Al Arabiya reported . Digital and human rights experts say motivations include controlling information, keeping protestors offline, and forcing protestors to use state services where their online activities can be more easily tracked—and sometimes trigger arrests.

    As getting online has become increasingly challenging for everyone in Iran—not just protestors—millions have learned to rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) to hide Internet activity, circumvent blocks, and access accurate information beyond state propaganda. Simply put, VPNs work by masking a user's IP address so that governments have a much more difficult time monitoring activity or detecting a user's location. They do this by routing the user's data to the VPN provider's remote servers, making it much harder for an ISP (or a government) to correlate the Internet activity of the VPN provider's servers with the individual users actually engaging in that activity.

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      Zoom cites Chinese law to defend censorship of human rights activists

      Timothy B. Lee · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 June, 2020 - 15:44

    On June 4 2019, People join the Memorials for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in Victoria Park, Hong Kong.

    Enlarge / On June 4 2019, People join the Memorials for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. (credit: LewisTsePuiLung / Getty)

    On multiple occasions in recent weeks, Zoom has reportedly suspended accounts or disrupted meetings involving critics of the Chinese government. In an emailed statement, Zoom didn't deny the censorship. Instead, the company claimed that as a "global company" it was obligated to comply with the law in countries where it operates—including China.

    "We regret that a few recent meetings with participants both inside and outside of China were negatively impacted and important conversations were disrupted," a Zoom spokesperson wrote. "It is not in Zoom’s power to change the laws of governments opposed to free speech." Zoom says it will "modify its processes" to better protect users.

    Some of the people affected were in the United States, which has robust legal protections for free speech.

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