Global Digital Download

The Global Digital Download is a weekly publication that aggregates resources on Internet freedom, highlighting trends in digital and social media that intersect with freedom of expression, policy, privacy, censorship and new technologies. The GDD includes information about relevant events, news, and research. To find past articles and research, search the archive database.

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  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    A U.S. mobile security firm says it has uncovered smartphone spyware aimed at pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong that comes disguised as an app created by a community of socially minded programmers. When activated, the Android app reveals the smartphone user’s geographical location, text messages, address book, emails and more, San Francisco-based Lacoon Mobile Security said this week.
  • (Mashable, Friday, October 3, 2014)

    Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is one who's not afraid to speak his mind — even if his words are incendiary. The former prime minister reiterated his disdain for the Internet on Thursday, ironically during a conference about press freedom.

  • (Slate, Friday, October 3, 2014)

    On Monday, Sept. 29, social media enthusiasts and Western media outlets unleashed a flurry of stories about pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong using the chat app FireChat to stay in touch without being surveiled. But many of these accounts exaggerated the popularity of the app. That’s a relief, because the articles were riddled with misconceptions and false hopes of security.

  • (Voice of America, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    Activists and advocates say they fear the online sphere that has become a popular means of expression may not last long, with potential legislation to regulate cyberspace on the horizon. The government has not yet put pressure on Internet usage, where many Cambodian youth express themselves via social media, but a so-called “cyber-crime law” is in the works, Chak Sopheap, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, told VOA Khmer.
  • (The New York Times, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    Google has notified The New York Times in the last month that links to five articles have been removed from some search results on European versions of its search engine to comply with Europe’s “right to be forgotten.” The notifications offer vivid examples of the issues involved in Europe’s decision to allow individuals some measure of control over what appears online about themselves.
  • (CircleID, Friday, October 3, 2014)

    The great promise of the new gTLD programme is not that it will spawn dozens of .COM clones, but rather that it will lead to the creation of a global constellation of unique names embraced by specific interest groups. As an ICANN community, our challenge now is to ensure that the policy framework we've created to manage new gTLDs advances that vision by not penalising the very sorts of domains that the programme was designed to encourage.

  • (The Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 3, 2014)
    As the pro-democracy protest crowds in Hong Kong have ebbed and flowed, one thing that has not changed is the level of censorship on China’s most popular instant messaging app. Throughout the week, users of WeChat inside mainland China were unable to see some photos posted by users whose accounts were tied to Hong Kong phone numbers, according to multiple China Real Time tests conducted on Monday and Friday. 
  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)

    A court in Russia has convicted a 23-year-old woman of illegally disseminating pornography on the Internet, handing down a two-year suspended sentence.

  • (Global Voices, Thursday, October 2, 2014)
    On September 28, rumors that Hong Kong police had asked mobile phone operators to shut down network services in Hong Kong's Admiralty area spread like wildfire. Tensions were already running high, as police had used tear gas on pro-democracy protesters just hours before. The Federation of University Student Unions, a key organization that has helped mobilize the massive sit-in dubbed Occupy Central, immediately called for protesters to retreat from the demonstration if network services were cut.
  • (The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, October 2, 2014)

    When Google Inc. launched its fast Internet service in Kansas City in 2012, the Web giant said it wanted to spread broadband widely and close the “digital divide.” But a survey conducted for The Wall Street Journal suggests the company is far from achieving that goal.