Monday, July 30, 2007

Internet Censorship Spreading

More than 20 countries restrict their population's access to the Internet, a new study has shown.

Dubbed, Governing the Internet, the report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that many governments stifled use of the internet through fear of political opposition. Case studies of Kazakhstan, Georgia, China, Iran, Sudan and Belarus were included in the research.

The report stated: "Recent moves against free speech on the internet in a number of countries have provided a bitter reminder of the ease with which some regimes, democracies and dictatorships alike, seek to suppress speech that they disapprove of, dislike, or simply fear." Though speaking out on the web "has never been easier" there has been a spread of internet censorship of late, the 212-page report said.

Rules regarding the Internet in Kazakhstan are so nonspecific that they can easily be used for suppression. In 2005 Kazakhstan seized all .kz internet domains and shut down one run by the satirist Sacha Baron Cohen. Click here for more information on digital products and services.

Expert Calls For An America Without A "Digital Divide"

Everyone in the U.S. should have access to broadband high speed Internet, according to one expert.

Arguing that there should not be a "digital divide", Nolan Bowie, an adjunct lecturer in public policy and senior fellow at the John F Kennedy School of Government, has outlined his vision of America. Writing for the Boston Globe, Mr. Bowie said the U.S. could be better equipped to compete within the global knowledge economy if everyone could access the Internet, make use of online services and had the skills to do so "effectively".

"Wouldn't this empower our work force to be more productive, flexible, responsive, creative and better trained?" Mr. Bowie asked. Businesses could be more successful and consumers would be "more satisfied" if there were a fully integrated national broadband network, he added. A recent report by Edison Media research found that Americans consider the internet to be their second most essential item after TV.

"The U.S. has lagged the Europeans in adopting broadband technology," states Mark Weibel, EVP of Marketing for Broadband National Inc. "Internet providers have recently made great strides in expanding their networks and making broadband both accessible and inexpensive. We're looking forward to a year of fast paced growth."

Warning Issued On Simpsons Spam

There is currently a wave of spam being sent over the internet which uses the widespread interest in the Simpsons movie to suck recipients in, according to security software company Sophos.

The company is warning Internet users not to be duped by an email offering recipients a $500 Visa gift card for completing an online survey. When the email is clicked on, it sends users to a page which asks for an email address to be entered. Both the email and the web page have the same graphic of Homer Simpson sitting on his couch wearing a superman t-shirt and underpants.

However, Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for Sophos, said: "You would be as crazy as Krusty the Clown to enter an email address on that page. "Not only are your chances of receiving a gift less than zero, but you are delivering a valid email address to a spammer on a platter." It is lists of "living breathing email addresses" which allow spammers to stay in business, added Mr. Cluley. The Simpsons movie is due to be released on July 27th 2007.

Apple iPod Hacked

Apple's much-touted new iPhone has been hacked into by a team of security experts in Maryland.

Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) has claimed that it has found a flaw in the iPhone which could let hackers access private data kept on the phone. A cyber criminal could gain entry to the phone either through a wireless access point or a website, according to ISE. Since its release earlier this month hackers all over the world have been trying to find a weakness in iPhone, however this is the first successful attempt.

ISE explained that the iPhone connects to wireless internet networks by name, so an attacker could conceivably make up a network with the same name as one already used by the phone. Then instead of accessing a web page, the phone would access exploit code, allowing a hacker to control the phone. A spokesperson from Apple told the New York Times: "Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users."

For more information on digital products and services visit