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Tag: MIDDLE EAST

Bahrain Releases Dissident Blogger One Day After Arresting Him

Authorities in Bahrain have released a dissident blogger, just one day after arresting him at his home. Mahmoud al-Youssef was taken into custody early Wednesday morning, as part of a nationwide campaign against opposition activists and protesters. The 50-year-old al-Youssef, who blogs in English, has long criticized the Bahrain regime for restricting freedom of expression, and has been an...

Julian Assange Says WikiLeaks Helped Shape Middle East Protests

During a speech at Cambridge University yesterday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested that his whistleblowing organization played a significant role in the recent protests across the Middle East and North Africa. According to Assange, WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables may have convinced Middle Eastern leaders that they wouldn't be able to rely on U.S. assistance if military forces were to...

Read This: Shut Up About 'Social Media Revolutions' in the Middle East, Please

[While] the recent round of uprisings may seem spontaneous to western observers – and therefore as magically disruptive as a rush-hour flash mob in San Francisco – the actual history of popular regime change tends to diminish the central role commonly ascribed to technology. By emphasising the liberating role of the tools and downplaying the role of human agency, such accounts...

Twitter, Facebook Still Reluctant to Join Free Speech Initiative

Three years ago, some of the world's leading tech companies agreed to participate in the Global Network Initiative (GNI) -- a code of conduct designed to protect online speech and privacy around the world. The initiative was originally launched in response to brewing tensions in China, where some Internet companies were accused of complying with government censorship policies in order to pursue...

Facebook Reluctant to Discuss Its Role in Middle East Protests

Just about everyone not named Malcolm Gladwell can agree that Facebook played a pretty integral role in recent protests across the Middle East. The company, however, doesn't seem very interested in talking about it. According to the New York Times, Facebook's silence has more to do with business than sheer modesty. Although many have praised the social network as a critical mechanism of...

U.S. State Department Now Tweeting in Arabic

The already Twitter-savvy U.S. State Department is now tweeting in Arabic. A few days ago, the Department launched a new feed, @USAbilAraby, devoted exclusively to Arabic-speaking audiences. The account describes itself as the "US Department of State Arabic Media Hub," and, as of this morning, has already accumulated over 500 followers. According to the Washington Post, the State Department...

Egypt Shuts Down Internet As Protests Intensify

As civil unrest continues to spread and intensify across Egypt, authorities within the country have taken a drastic and apparently unprecedented step: they've shut down the entire Internet. The blackout began at about 12:30 a.m. local time, when four of the Egypt's major service providers abruptly shut down. Calling the nationwide outage "an action unprecedented in Internet history," the...

Egypt Jails Political Activist for Posting 'Defense Secrets' on Facebook

Over the course of the past few months, the Egyptian government has taken a particularly hard-line stance against Facebook-based activism, many authorities believing it to pose a legitimate threat to President Hosni Mubarak. In March, a military tribunal unsuccessfully attempted to silence a controversial blogger named Ahmed Mustafa, barely three years after Egypt had jailed another writer for...

1,000 Israeli Draft Dodgers Netted in Facebook Sweep

Israeli law requires all citizens to spend some time doing military service, but women who claim to be observant Jews typically get a pass. Understandably, many women in Israel take full advantage of this loophole, even if they're not all that Jewish. Unfortunately for them, though, the Israeli military recently caught onto their scheme, and, with a little help from Facebook, has now outed 1,000...

Quietube Provides a Portal for Censored Vids in the Middle East

Back in March, James Bridle designed a bookmarklet called Quietube, a script that allows users to "watch web videos without the comments and crap." As a minimalist reversal of the hyper-glut that is YouTube, Quietube is a welcome departure from all the typical sidebar claptrap that we've grown to accept. But Bridle has recently observed that Quietube, as an external proxy for viewing...

Biblemap.org Shows Location of Important Biblical Events

If you find that figuring out and visualizing the exact location of an event or place referenced in the Bible has you wishing for a 1000 B.C. version of Google Maps, you're now in luck. The swath of land along the Mediterranean Sea, where many stories in the Bible take place, has changed hands, names, and borderlines enough times to confuse even the most zealous biblical geographer. However, a...

33-Story LED Screen Coming to Dubai (World's Largest)

By this point, you should fully understand that "Dubai" and "world's largest" go hand-in-hand, so it's quite fitting that said city is receiving the planet's most humongous LED screen. Designed by UAE development company Tameer Holding, the 33-story high display will reportedly be "embedded on an intended commercial tower in the Majan district of Dubailand," where it will stand tall and blast...

Facebook's Own Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

Can there be virtual border disputes and rival claims to a country even online? Apparently so, as Facebook found itself being criticized by both Palestinian and Israeli members who live in the West Bank. The popular online social networking site was, for a time, identifying Israeli settlers whose homes are in the West Bank as being residents of Palestine. The settlers disagreed and threatened to...

Three of Five Mid-East Undersea Cable Cuts Set for Fix By Weekend

We wrote yesterday that five the undersea data cable cuts had resulted in Internet outages for a whopping 85 million people scattered throughout the Middle East. Now, reports are coming in that repairs for three of those five cables are underway and should be completed in time to allow many of them to get back online this weekend. The cables connecting Egypt and Italy, Dubai and Oman, as well...

Mid-East Cable Cuts Now Affecting 85-Million -- Are Terrorists Involved?

Over the past few weeks, numerous undersea data cables providing data access to large portions over the Middle East have been severed. Five separate cable cuts have been detected since January 23, a rash of incidents that some have blamed on wayward fishing trawlers, while others are suspecting terrorism. Regardless of the cause, the scope of the damage is just now becoming known, with...