The Free Internet Project


The Right to Be Forgotten -- explained

The right to be forgotten is a fundamental right recognized in the European Union. The Court of Justice of the European Union interpreted Article 12(b) of the EU Data Protection Directive to include a right for people in the EU to request from Google and other search engines the delisting of links to articles from searches of their names if the articles are

  • "inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing,"
  • "not kept up to date, or … kept for longer than is necessary."

​For example, at the request of a woman in Italy, Google removed links to "a decades-old article about her husband’s murder, which included her name."

FCC net neutrality rule PDF download

The FCC issued its net neutrality rule in a 400 page document titled "Open Internet FCC-15-24A1." The rule itself is only 8 pages, but there is a lot of explanation. The rule can be downloaded by clicking here

FCC Chairman Wheeler follows Pres. Obama's lead and proposes strong net neutrality rule in U.S.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, following the lead of Pres. Barack Obama, proposed a strong rule to protect net neutrality.  As Wheeler explains in a Wired article, he will seek the FCC to reclassify broadband service as a telecommunications service subject to common carrier requirements under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934

Zuckerberg visits Colombia to launch free app, 1st country in Latin America

Mark Zuckerberg visited Colombia and President Juan Manuel Santos to launch a free app for smartphones that will enable subscribers of local phone service Tigo to get free Internet access to a limited number of free services, including Facebook and several government sites such as "Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación, an education assessment service and Agronet, a service that provides information on agriculture and rural development."  The list of free services includes:

24 Symbols
BabyCenter & MAMA
Girl Effect
Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación
Para la Vida
Su Dinero


China censors cleavage in popular TV drama "The Empress of China"

China has reportedly censored female cleavage out of the popular drama "The Empress of China."  According to the Daily Mail, the show was pulled last month and resurfaced this week with all shots of female cleavage cropped out.  

Iran starts "smart filtering" of Instagram, may lead to unblocking Facebook, Twitter, YouTube in 2015

According to The Guardian, Iran has started a trial of a "smart filtering" of Instagram photographs, allowing Iranians access to the site but selectively blocking certain posts, such as those by @RichKidsofTehran, which shows wealthy, young Iranians "flaunting their wealth."  If the smart filtering proves successful, Iran may deploy the system on other popular social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which currently are blocked in Iran. 

“Presently, the smart-filtering plan is implemented only on one social network in its pilot study phase and this process will continue gradually until the plan is implemented on all networks,” Mahmoud Vaezi, the Iranian Communications Minister, said.

The goal is to have the system in place by June 2015.  Some Iranians expressed fear that the Iranian government would start cracking down on virtual private networks (VPNs), which already allow people in Iran to bypass the blocking of popular websites and social media.

China blocks Gmail

Reports out of China indicate that Gmail service is being blocked since last Friday, the day after Christmas.  Google's own Transparency Report shows a steep decline--a virtual flatline--to Google Gmail service out of China as depicted in Figure 1 below.

Thus far, China's government denies blocking the Gmail service.  Users of Gmail in China may have to use a virtual private network (VPN) to get access to their emails in China. Google services have reportedly experienced major disruptions in China since the summer. 



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