Finally, a moment of sanity. Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio, along with co-sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, introduced legislation (HR 6245) in the House of Representatives that would actually help make the patent system work better for innovators and innovation, and make life more difficult for patent trolls.
We have written time and again about just how broken the system is and how, thus far, the courts and Congress have failed to fix it. Which makes us even more excited about the new bill, the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes ("SHEILD") Act. The idea behind the SHIELD Act is simple: if you sue someone, you better have a reasonable and good-faith belief that you are entitled to relief. In other words, a plaintiff needs to believe that a defendant actually infringes a valid patent before it sues. If it doesn't, that plaintiff could be on the hook for the costs of litigation and for the winning party's attorneys' fees (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases).
Fee shifting, often called "loser pays," is not a new idea. It's long existed in copyright law, for instance, allowing a court to award a winning party costs and fees in certain cases. In patent litigation, this type of provision would help tilt the playing field slightly more in favor of the good guys. To understand, think about the patent troll business model: making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll's favorite move. It's no wonder that many defendants choose to pay up rather than take the time, energy, and especially the money to fight in court. Fee shifting would empower innovators to fight back, while discourging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.
This bill is also important because it would only apply to software and computer hardware patents. We've said before that a one-size-fits-all patent system doesn't make sense, especially when we start talking about software. Whether or not you think software should be patentable at all, the law recognizes those types of patents (for now at least). Given that, we support policies and legislation that treat software differently—in other words, it's time to hack the system to make it work for coders, developers, and innovators of all stripes.
If you support this fee-shifting proposal, then please make your voice heard at defendinnovation.org. EFF started this campaign to address some of the biggest problems with the patent system by asking those who actually work with software and deal with patents how they think the system can best be fixed. On defendinnovation.org, we proposed seven ideas that we think would help (including a fee-shifting proposal like the SHIELD Act), but we want to hear what you think. So far, nearly 10,000 people have spoken out to support our proposals. If you are frustrated with the software patent system, let us know at Defend Innovation. You can sign on to all seven of our proposals or suggest your own. (And if you think software patents should be abolished, you should comment here.) We'll be writing Reps. DeFazio and Chaffetz expressing our support for their efforts, and we'll let them know how many people expressed their support for fee-shifting fixes at Defend Innovation.
Will a fee-shifting provision fix everything that’s wrong with the patent system? Nope. But will it help? We think so. Kudos to Reps. DeFazio and Chaffetz for taking an important step toward patent reform legislation that actually makes sense.
This weekend, we launched a tool that lets you tweet messages directly to your senators about privacy dangers of the cybersecurity bills. And last night we heard from staffers on the Hill that they are receiving tons of tweets. Unlike phone calls, which are tallied at the end of every day, tweets are seen the moment they’re tweeted. That means we have a direct, powerful method of telling senators to defend individual privacy as they move to consider the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 this week.
Visit Stop Cyber Spying to tweet at your senators. And if you run a website, please use the code at the bottom of this page to embed our Twitter tool on your site. Use the hashtag #DefendPrivacy to join thousands who have already spoken out for civil liberties.
We also heard from our contacts in Washington DC that there are tons of phone calls coming in. In one office, they had more phone calls about the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 yesterday than about anything else that day. That’s fantastic. We’re going to keep up our opposition from now until the final vote (which could be tomorrow), especially since new reports show that this bill is teetering on the edge of failure.
Unfortunately, we are hearing one bad piece of news from our contacts in DC: individuals manning the phones at Senate offices aren’t writing down the entire message from netroots callers. Instead of noting that callers are supporting pro-privacy amendments like the Franken-Paul Amendment, opposing anti-privacy amendments like those suggested by McCain and Hutchison, and opposing the bill as a whole, the individuals answering the phone are merely writing down that callers are opposing the bill. We need to make sure that our support for the Franken-Paul Amendment is made clear – this is the amendment that would remove the new affirmative authority for companies to engage in monitoring and countermeasures. We want to show our support for the Franken-Paul Amendment to ensure that, even if this bill fails, any future discussion of cybersecurity legislation begins from a place that has greater respect for our online privacy. So, please, call today and tell your senators that they must writedown all three points, not just that you oppose the bill.
Co-authored by EFF Fellow Jon Eisenberg, who also authored EFF's amicus letter.
When a judge forces you to "consent" to a disclosure of your private electronic communications, have you really consented? No.
EFF today asked the California Supreme Court to review a decision of a lower court that forced a juror to "consent" to allow the content of his Facebook postings to be turned over to the parties to the case, after it was discovered that he had been improperly posting about the case on his Facebook wall during a trial. The case is called Juror Number One v. Superior Court
An exception to the SCA’s disclosure prohibition is that a provider may divulge the contents of a communication with the “lawful consent” of the originator or an addressee or intended recipient. Here, the trial judge tried to invoke the SCA’s “lawful consent” exception by ordering Juror Number One to consent to Facebook’s disclosure of his postings.
In urging the California Supreme Court to take the case, EFF argues that this judicial maneuver is just an end run around the protections Congress created for users in the SCA, which plainly provide that any civil discovery of digital communications must be obtained from the user themselves, not from the third party hosts of their communications. This protection is especially important when the person giving the discovery isn't even a party to the case and, as here, was merely a juror. A decision on the petition is expected by the end of September.
As the United States Supreme Court said in 1968 in Bumper v. North Carolina: “Where there is coercion there cannot be consent.” That's as true today as it was 40 years ago.
When the European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement after hundreds of thousands of Europeans took to the streets in protest, it signaled disappointment in some of the extreme IP policies encouraged by ACTA that threatened the functioning of the Internet. But at the same time, the protests reflected a sweeping rejection of the secretive, government-directed process that spawned the agreement in the first place. The world’s Internet users showed that they are no longer willingto accept outdated and counterproductive policies born out of closeted discussions that fail to take into account the interests of ordinary people.
Trade agreements including ACTA, TPP and free trade agreements between the United States and its trading partners (FTAs), tend to be bad news for international policy. Trade agreements are typically premised on high stakes tradeoffs and competing government agendas. Trade agreements impose mandatory obligations that require signatories to transfer provisions into domestic law. This global obligation-based system can have the effect of binding governments to inflexible, long-term rules that manifest as a drag on the fast-paced environment of online innovation. For instance, since 2002 the U.S. has signed several bilateral free trade agreements compelling trading partners to rewrite their IP laws based on the flawed U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As a result, U.S. trading partners, including many developing nations, have adopted lopsided legal copyright regimes that do not serve the best interests of their citizens. While business interests usually feature prominently into trade negotiations, the interests of Internet users and many developing nations are rarely granted the same level of consideration. In the case of ACTA, both civil society and many developing nations were intentionally excluded from these negotiations.
Trade agreements, however, aren’t the only kind of international deal making that consistently sells users short. Similar problems can play out in established intergovernmental organizations, too. A primary example of this is the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a bureaucratic agency made up of 193 member states and corporate “associate” members that include some of the world’s most powerful telecommunications companies. When it hashes out treaties, the ITU epitomizes many of the worst traits of Internet policymaking -- it is an exclusive, government-directed process that is hostile to the distributed decision-making model that has fostered the Internet’s growth.
Outdated Telephone Regulations Don't Translate to the Internet
For a number of years now, a few ITU Member States have sought to expand the agency’s regulatory scope to encompass some Internet-related issues. Yet the ITU appears stuck in the same outmoded mindset that was applied to regulating global telephone networks. Rules and rule-making that made sense for the smooth functioning of global telephone systems such as numbering do not transfer well to the Internet environment. While telephone number may have played a central role in individual’s day-to-day lives, its capacity for societal harm is limited. Those old ITU technical policies don’t translate well to the complex and transformative medium that is the Internet, but a few ITU Member States, nevertheless, have been pushing for expanding its mission beyond its original goals.
One dangerously problematic provision in the ITU Constitution, or example, includes a State’s "right" to stop or suspend access to telecommunications services in order to address any communication that is dangerous to state security. In other words, the ITU Constitution permits “kill switches”— it allows governments to cut off the lifeline of communications networks in times of political protest, as the world witnessed states doing during the recent event in Egypt and Libya.
In an effort to remain relevant, the ITU has already issued a number of technical standards (ITU-T) and reports relating to various aspects of Internet policy, including on cybersecurity and cybercrime. However, these have not been binding, nor have they witnessed broad adoption or been elevated to the level of international regulations.
This coming December, the ITU’s underlying core regulatory instrument, the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), will be revised at a gathering of global governments known as the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). This meeting is particularly significant because it’s the first time the treaty will be revised since the Internet was widely adopted. And given concerns about the problematic Internet-related provisions already in place, considerable attention has been directed at the ITU’s upcoming meeting in December, when its 193 member states intend to vote on whether to regulate certain aspects of Internet policy at an international level.
Just as with other international treaties or trade agreements, the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) are legally binding on all the ITU’s Member States. This means that while it’s still up to lawmakers to decide whether, or to what extent, they should implement the updated ITRs into domestic law, democratic countries, including those with weak democratic institutions or a lack of robust advocacy organizations will be more likely to adopt any flawed provisions that make their way into the treaty.
Since the mid-1800s, the ITU has been tasked with international regulation of telecommunications services, regulating areas such as public switched networks, spectrum management, basic telecommunications, and voluntary standards, all of which are agreed upon by its 193 member states. It continues to exert international regulatory control over many elements of traditional telecommunications. Yet while the UN agency was once highly influential on the global stage, its relevance on a number of issues has been in a state of decline since the rise of the Internet as the primary mode of international communication. Attempts to bring certain aspects of Internet regulation into the ITU’s purview have been interpreted by some as an attempt to regain that former position of global economic power.
Solutions Needed Across the Board
An expanded ITU role in Internet governance is far from ideal. Some countries appear to be using the ITU as a venue to try and push forward policy agendas that are hostile to an open Internet, such as Russia’s apparent failed attempt to put through a cybersecurity treaty for some time. Large European telecoms appear to be using the forum in an attempt to gain a business advantage over foreign competitors (at great potential cost for online innovation).
That’s not to say that everything the ITU does is bad. To this day, the ITU continues to educate governments on best practices for telecommunication and act as a resource center for countries, especially developing nations. Most importantly, the organization provides technology to aid development on the premise that efficient communications systems further a society's growth.
At the end of the day, however, global Internet users would once again find themselves on the losing end if ITU Member States manage to insert provisions into its treaty that deals with the global Internet. While some level of international coordination is necessary to avoid a fragmented network and to ensure policies are useful across varied jurisdictions, the nature of the ITU policy-making makes it inherently ill suited as an institution to deal with the Internet. There may be many legitimate concerns surrounding existing Internet governance arrangements, particularly for developing countries. It is no longer acceptable to ignore those problems. Nevertheless, the ITU is not the answer to those problems.
The Peruvian National Anthem proudly proclaims: “We are free! May we always be so!” Yet the Peruvian Congress is considering a sweeping new computer crime bill that threatens the privacy and online free expression of law-abiding Peruvians. Peruvians should stand against this ill-conceived bill that will place limits on what they are allowed to do with their own computers. Peruvians should take a cue from Canadians, who mobilized resistance against its online surveillance bill earlier this year.
The bill's current words for security experts working to expose security flaws. As currently written, the bill threatens coders’ ability to access information systems for security testing without explicit permission. If the Peruvian Congress moves to enact this bill as currently written, Peruvian engineers who study others’ systems for legitimate security research and testing may become criminals. A bill like this threatens the ability of new, engineering-driven companies to develop a wide range of innovative third-party applications and platforms that are capable of interacting and interoperating with online companies. It also shuts down the possibility of fostering a local security industry that seeks to responsibly report security vulnerabilities, so as to improve security of Peru’s critical infrastructure.
The bill also threatens the privacy of law-abiding Peruvians. The Peruvian government plans to give police and prosecutors greater online surveillance powers to collect personal identifiers—including IP addresses, mobile device identifiers, and device owner's names—by excluding these identifiers from its current constitutional and regulatory framework protections.
Personal identifiers (such as IP addresses) when linked to another piece of information can reveal far more sensitive information than ever before, such as online identities, activities, social contacts, and location trails. Once an IP address is linked to an individual, it becomes easy to construct a dossier that can be profiled, mined, and analyzed. Mobile device identifiers also disclose a vast amount of personal information. New technologies can easily track people’s mobile devices to reveal their locations, this is why effective legal safeguards and check and balance are needed.
While the bill explicitly states its intention to exclude Peruvians’ IP addresses and other identifiers from constitutional protection, it also compels telecommunications and Internet companies to hand over these identifiers to law enforcement and prosecutors upon a judge’s authorization. This murky landscape shouldn't be murky: Personal identifiers should keep enjoying the same level of protection as currently guaranteed by the Peruvian Constitution and other regulatory frameworks, including its judicial guarantee.
In sum, the Peruvian Congress should postpone voting on the bill, and hold an open and democratic debate. This bill, as currently written, converts legitimate activities of ordinary people into "criminal" activities. Moreover, it jeopardizes the rights of law-abiding Peruvian citizens and hinders the development of an innovative technology industry. Stay tuned: We will keep an eye on the overall proposal as the debate unfolds.
UPDATE: Twitter has issued an apology to Guy Adams and clarified that they did "mess up" by notifying NBC about the tweet. They do, however, continue to claim that the tweet in question violated their Rules despite a sentence that states: "If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy." The NBC executive's email was published online more than a year ago here.
Among the popular social networking sites, Twitter has often stood out for its stance on free speech. The company has stood up for its users in court, has pontificated on its role in protecting users' right to speak freely, and has even dubbed itself "the free speech wing of the free speech party." That is why, when British journalist Guy Adams' account was suspended after he tweeted the public e-mail address of an NBC executive, we were shocked.
According to Adams, his account was suspended for violating the Twitter Rules; specifically, he was informed that tweeting an e-mail address was in violation of those guidelines. A section of the platform's "help center" specifically states:
Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter Rules.
Some examples of private and confidential information are:
credit card information
social security or other national identity numbers
addresses or locations that are considered and treated as private
non-public, personal phone numbers non-public, personal email addresses
Keep in mind that although you may consider certain information to be private, not all postings of such information may be a violation of this policy. If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy.*
In this case, the e-mail address in question—that of NBC Executive Gary Zenkel—was his corporate address, and has been published online for more than a year. Furthermore, NBC's email@example.com email address pattern can easily be found via a quick Google search. It therefore seems clear that Adams was not, in fact, in violation of the Twitter Rules. Complicating the matter, Adams' tweets were aimed at mocking NBC, which Twitter has partnered with for the Olympics. Worse yet, an NBC Executive claimed that employees from Twitter had contacted NBC's social media department to let them know about the tweet and how to report them.
The good news is that, this morning, Adams' account was reinstated. The reasoning provided by Twitter, however, is still problematic. Adams reported receiving the following message from the company:
Per our previous correspondence, your account was suspended because a complaint was filed stating that you had violated our Terms of Service regarding the posting of private information (such as a non-public email address), as stated in our Guidelines & Best Practices (https://twitter.com/rules). We have just received an updated notice from the complainant retracting the original request. Therefore, your account has been unsuspended, and no further action is required from you at this time.
It seems that after ample media coverage, NBC changed its mind and revoked their complaint. Though Twitter won't comment on specific cases, it's apparent from their message to Adams that the company still believes he broke the rules.
This is why Twitter needs an appeals system.
Companies make mistakes. Companies also have the right to create whatever rules they desire, but they also have the responsibility to be clear about those rules and, as we argued last year in a paper co-written with the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, create clear processes and channels of communications with users.
Twitter has not done that.
On the other hand, YouTube (for example), offers a clear appeals process for users whose content has been removed, explained in detail here. Facebook, which just over a year ago would send banned users a message notifying them that "[this] decision is final and cannot be appealed," now offers an easy-to-use appeals form for users whose accounts have been deactivated (note: you must be logged out to access the form). Twitter, on the other hand, allows users to reply to notification e-mails, but typically responds with repeat automated e-mails. As Adams—a prominent journalist—noted, the company would not return his calls or e-mails.
Twitter is indeed a smaller company than Google or Facebook, but with more than 500 million users, it is imperative that they open up the lines of communication and reassure their users that they have a means of arbitration, when needed.
This week, the Senate will be voting on a slew of amendments to the newest version of the Senate’s cybersecurity bill. Senators John McCain and Kay Bailey Hutchison have proposed several amendments that would hand the reins of our nation’s cybersecurity systems to the National Security Agency (NSA). All of the cybersecurity bills that have been proposed would provide avenues for companies to collect sensitive information on users and pass that data to the government. Trying to strike the balance between individual privacy and facilitating communication about threats is a challenge, but one thing is certain: the NSA has proven it can’t be trusted with that responsibility. The NSA's dark history of repeated privacy violations, flouting of domestic law, and resistance to transparency makes it clear that the nation's cybersecurity should not be in its hands.
In case you need a refresher, here’s an overview of why handing cybersecurity to the NSA would be a terrible idea:
An executive order generally prohibits NSA from conducting intelligence on Americans’ domestic activities
Executive Order 12333 signed by President Reagan in 1981 (and amended a few times since1), largely prohibits the NSA from spying on domestic activities:
no foreign intelligence collection by such elements [of the Intelligence Community] may be undertaken for the purpose of acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons.
If amended, the Cybersecurity Act would allow the NSA to gain information related to "cybersecurity threat indicators," which would allow it to collect vast quantities of data that could include personally identifiable information of U.S. persons on American soil. Law enforcement and civilian agencies are tasked with investigating and overseeing domestic safety. The NSA, on the other hand, is an unaccountable military intelligence agency that is supposed to focus on foreign signals intelligence—and it’s frankly dangerous to expand the NSA’s access to information about domestic communications.
NSA has a dark history of violating Americans’ constitutional rightsIn the 1960’s, a Congressional investigation, led by four-term Senator Frank Church, found that the NSA had engaged in widespread and warrantless spying on Americans citizens. Church was so stunned at what he found, he remarked that the National Security Agency’s "capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, andno American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything." (emphasis added) The investigation led to the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provided stronger privacy protections for Americans’ communications—that is, until it was weakened by the USA-PATRIOT Act and other reactions to 9/11.
NSA has continued its warrantless wiretapping scandalIn 2005, the New York Times revealed that the NSA set up a massive warrantless wiretapping program shortly after 9/11, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and several federal laws. This was later confirmed by virtually every major media organization in the country. It led to Congressional investigations and several ongoing lawsuits, including EFF’s. Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act to granttelecom companies retroactive immunity for participating in illegal spying and severely weaken privacy safeguards for Americans communicating overseas.Since the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) passed, the NSA has continued collecting emails of Americans. A 2009 New York Times investigation described how a “significant and systemic” practice of "overcollection" of communications resulted in the NSA’s intercepting millions of purely domestic emails and phone calls between Americans. In addition, documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU, although heavily redacted, revealed "that violations [of the FAA and the Constitution] continued to occur on a regular basis through at least March 2010"— the last month anyone has public data for.
NSA recently admitted to violating the Constitution.Just last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—which oversees the NSA—begrudgingly acknowledged that "on at least one occasion" the secret FISA court "held that some collection… used by the government was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment." Wired called it a "federal sidestep of a major section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," and it confirmed the many reports over the last few years: the NSA has violated the Constitution.
NSA keeps much of what it does classified and secretBecause cybersecurity policy is inescapably tied to our online civil liberties, it’s essential to maximize government transparency and accountability here. The NSA may be the worst government entity on this score. Much of the NSA's work is exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosure because Congress generally shielded NSA activities from FOIA2. Even aside from specific exemption statutes, much information about NSA activities is classified on national security grounds. The NSA has also stonewalled organizations trying to bring public-interest issues to light by claiming the "state secrets" privilege in court. EFF has been involved in lawsuits challenging the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program since 2006. Despite years of litigation, the government continues to maintain that the "state secrets" privilege prevents any challenge from being heard. Transparency and accountability simply are not the NSA’s strong suit.
We remain unconvinced that we need any of the proposed cybersecurity bills, but we’re particularly worried about attempts to deputize the NSA as the head of our cybersecurity systems. And even the NSA has admitted that it does "not want to run cyber security for the United States government."
Thankfully, new privacy changes in the cybersecurity bill heading towards the Senate floor have explicitly barred intelligence agencies like the NSA from serving as the center of information gathering for cybersecurity. We need to safeguard those protections and fend off amendments that give additional authority to the NSA. We're asking concerned individuals to use our Stop Cyber Spying tool to tweet at their Senators or use the American Library Association's simple tool to call Senators. We need to speak out in force this week to ensure that America's cybersecurity systems aren't handed to the NSA.
2. Three of the most common statutes that NSA uses to fight transparency: Section 6 of the National Security Agency Act of 1959 (Public Law 86-36, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 402 note), which provides that no law shall be construed to require the disclosure of, inter alia, the functions or activities of NSA; The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 403- 1(i), which requires under the Responsibilities and Authorities of the Director of National Intelligence that we protect information pertaining to intelligence sources and methods; and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 798, which prohibits the release of classified information concerning communications intelligence and communications security information to unauthorized persons.
Press freedom in Sri Lanka has come under further attack over the course of the past month. On June 29, the Criminal Investigation Department’s Colombo Crime Division raided the office shared by news websites Sri Lanka Mirror and Sri Lanka X News. The latter website is widely known as the official journalistic outlet of the United National Party (UNP), which is the main opposition party against the ruling coalition, United People’s Freedom Alliance. Authorities arrested nine journalists and confiscated much of both websites’ computer equipment for “propagating false and unethical news on Sri Lanka.”
Blogger Patta Pal Boru reported that the journalists, including one editor, were taken into custody under Section 118 of the penal code. However, the relevant portions of the Law of Criminal Defamation had been repealed in 2002, so the Colombo Magistrate ordered that the journalists be released on bail. Employees of the Sri Lanka Mirror filed six “fundamental rights petitions” with the Supreme Court, who heard the case at the end of July. However, after the Deputy Solicitor General responded that the website was not registered and had published “explicit” stories, further hearings were scheduled for February 7.
In order to avoid embarrassments such as the illegal June raid, the government plans to amend the 1973 Sri Lankan Press Council Act so that websites will be regulated by the same agency that regulates printed media. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwalla said in a Cabinet media briefing on July 5 that the amendments would be designed “to ensure accountability” for national news websites. The amendments will make it easier to prosecute websites under similar content rules as for print media, and will require all websites to register with a government list. The announcement was made on the same day that the UN Human Rights Council endorsed a landmark resolution that upholds online freedom of expression and information.
Sri Lankan media outlets are skeptical that the new Press Council Act amendments are simply a bureaucratic change. Manik de Silva, a director of Sri Lanka's Press Complaint Commission and a member of the country's Editor's Guild, suggested that the amendments are “obviously to control the media… Any strengthening of media laws will be used to further the interest of political parties in power rather than the national interest.” Blogger Patta Pal Boru wrote that with regards to the illegal raids on the Sri Lanka Mirror and Lanka X News, “it is important the public agitate for accountability instead of their current passive acceptance of gross violation of the law by both the Govt. [sic]”
The strict regulation of online and offline news outlets in Sri Lanka is rooted in the decades-long conflict between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese-majority government. Networking for Rights in Sri Lanka, a media advocacy group composed of exiled journalists and human rights defenders, pointed out in a statement condemning the raids that “TamilNet, a popular news and opinion site on Tamil issues was the first site blocked by the GoSL [Government of Sri Lanka]. On June 19, 2007, on the orders of the GoSL all Internet Service Providers in Sri Lanka blocked the access to the TamilNet website. Since then GoSL has blocked dozens of news and opinion web sites reporting on Sri Lanka.”
While the fronts of political conflict have shifted considerably since the resolution of the civil war in 2008, draconian media regulations meant to protect government interests have only increased in number. In a November 2011 statement, officials in Sri Lanka blocked several high-profile websites and released a statement that accused them of a “deliberate character assassination campaign” against the image of country, heads of State, ministers, senior public officials, and “very very Important People.” The EFF is deeply concerned by the legal challenges to Internet freedom in Sri Lanka, and will continue to monitor both cases against the journalists and the planned Press Council Act amendments.