Donkeys, solar power, and trash are the Internet Service Providers for censored Syrians, beleaguered Afghans, and others without government-sponsored Internet.

These DIY ISPs would make great solutions to the privacy concerns about social networks cited in some recent NMDnet posts–and give new meaning to the term “data mules.”

Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov’t Shuts Down Internet

“Rebelling Syrians are using all possible alternate methods to pass information to the world amidst a total blackout on the internet by the Government. Believe it or not, Donkeys are a part of the revolution now. From the article: ‘To get the news out, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It’s a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.’”

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/05/15/1810215/Syrians-Using-Donkeys-Instead-of-DSL-After-Govt-Shuts-Down-Internet

The US military is taking note:

Move Over, Robots: Army Prefers Flesh-and-Blood Mules

The experimental four-legged, pack-hauling robots aren’t gonna be ready for frontline duty any time soon. So the Army is considering a big step backward in frontline logistics: more mules and donkeys, with a revived “Animal Corps” to oversee the four-legged recruits.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/ct7GAqIUi8Y/

The Afghans are at it:

Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

“Residents of Jalalabad have built the FabFi network: an open-source system that uses common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles.”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/06/26/0322238/Afghans-Build-Open-Source-Internet-From-Trash

And there’s more:

Look Ma, No Internet! Free Software Gives Text-Messaging New Reach

Frontline SMS, an open source software that turns a laptop into an internet-free communication hub has been used in more than 50 countries by thousands of organizations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/C4bjgmQ7rT8/

Berkeley’s working on solar-powered cell phone networks.

Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

Shareable writes with word of the intriguing work of a Berkeley professor who has developed a “low-cost, low-power cell base station featuring easy, off-the grid deployment with solar or wind power; local services autonomous from national carriers; and an impressive portfolio of voice & data services (not just GSM). It’s designed to connect rural areas in the developing world, but could have wider application like disaster recovery.”

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/08/28/0048211/Low-Cost-DIY-Cell-Network-Runs-On-Solar.

Limewire’s founder wants to distribute pedals as well as MP3s.

Peer-to-Peer Pioneer Sees New York Bicycles Pier-to-Pier

Mark Gorton founded LimeWire, but his true passion is transit — specifically, bikes — and sharply curtailing the role of cars in our cities. We sit down with him to find out why. http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8SOZGbSiQ84/

The Pirate Party of Canada has threatened to unleash its anti-surveillance software on its own government, promising to let Canadian citizens browse safely under a Virtual Private Network.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/04/23/0534222/Pirate-Party-of-Canada-Promises-VPN-For-Freedom?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“The Pirate Party of Canada has announced that it will extend a VPN originally set up to allow people in Tunisia to browse freely while internet censorship was imposed there. Canada may soon be added to that list since the ruling Conservative Party has vowed to introduce a bill that would provide unprecedented systematic interception and monitoring of Canadians’ personal communications. So the Pirate Party of Canada has announced it will extend that service to Canadians.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Meanwhile, back in north Africa…

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/04/13/1326255/Engineers-Hijack-Libyan-Phone-Network-For-Rebels?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s cellphone network and re-establish their own communications. The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.”

Anonymous Wikileaks LogoUS security consultants may have been conspiring in secret to bring WikiLeaks down, but Britain’s former intelligence chief links WikiLeaks with the downfall of oppressive regimes in the Middle East. And then there’s WikiLeak’s staunchest supporter, Anonymous, which caught said security consultants with their pants down (and may have even erased their CEO’s iPad).

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Over the past month, new media scholars have spilled a lot of digital ink arguing whether the Internet actually fostered the 2011 revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Middle East countries–or whether it simply created a dependency that governments can shut down to stymie protesters. Here’s a “Middle East Internet Scorecard” showing where and when governments have cut off their citizens’ access to the net. 

How hard would it be for, say, President Beck to shut down Google, Facebook, and the like in the US of A? Read this Middle East censorship roundup to find out what Egyptians, Libyans, and the rest of us can do to safeguard access to a global electronic network.

Continue reading »

Given his McCarthy-esqe methods, it’s easy to dismiss Wertham as a power-hungry quack. Some of his observations about air rifles and knives being advertised alongside violent comics, however, suggest layers of influence that go beyond even what we expect from videogames Wertham would have freaked to see Grand Theft Auto, but might have been consoled by the rarity of in-game advertisements.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/08/30/1624221/Library-of-Congress-Opens-Records-of-Anti-Comic-Book-Shrink?from=rss via Byline eldavojohn writes “Some light is being shone on comic book history today as the Library of Congress opens up the 222 boxes of a German psychiatrist’s evidence and papers against comic books. Dr. Fredric Wertham is well known by comic book fans as the author of Seduction of the Innocent, a bestselling book linking comic books and juvenile delinquency — leading to a full blown congressional investigation (some say witch hunt) of the comic book industry. Wertham was long involved with criminal trials before campaigning against comic books and promoting industry and government censorship for children. Ars adds a little more context for the younger crowd and notes that he later tried to move against television violence but couldn’t find the publisher backing he had against comic books.”

Encyclopedia Dramatica, a Meme encyclopedia, known to many internet power users as simply ED (genital pun usually intended) has had articles censored by google’s australian branch for distasteful content concerning the native people of Australia. Australia is well known for it’s iron fist of censorship. Many video games have to have special Australian versions.

It’s important to note that, just like Wikipedia, ED is a Wiki and therefore user edited. The fact that any one from google, regardless of region, would censor a wiki of any sort, is distasteful in it’s own right.

Encyclopedia Dramatica, a Meme encyclopedia, known to many internet power users as simply ED (genital pun usually intended) has had articles censored by google’s australian branch for distasteful content concerning the native people of Australia. Australia is well known for it’s iron fist of censorship. Many video games have to have special Australian versions.

It’s important to note that, just like Wikipedia, ED is a Wiki and therefore user edited. The fact that any one from google, regardless of region, would censor a wiki of any sort, is distasteful in it’s own right.

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http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/aprc8/google_agrees_to_take_down_encyclopedia_dramatica/

Encyclopedia Dramatica, a Meme encyclopedia, known to many internet power users as simply ED (genital pun usually intended) has had articles censored by google’s australian branch for distasteful content concerning the native people of Australia. Australia is well known for it’s iron fist of censorship. Many video games have to have special Australian versions.

It’s important to note that, just like Wikipedia, ED is a Wiki and therefore user edited. The fact that any one from google, regardless of region, would censor a wiki of any sort, is distasteful in it’s own right.

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