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[liberationtech] New Citizen Lab Report: The Canadian Connection: An investigation of Syrian government and Hezbullah web hosting in Canada

Irene Poetranto irene.poetranto at utoronto.ca
Thu Nov 17 11:24:19 PST 2011


A new  <http://citizenlab.org> Citizen Lab report, entitled
<http://citizenlab.org/canadian-connection> The Canadian Connection: An
investigation of Syrian government and Hezbullah web hosting in Canada, has
found that websites of some ministries of the Syrian government, Syrian
television station Addounia TV and Hezbullah media arm Al-Manar are being
hosted on Canada-based web servers. As these three entities are all subject
to Canadian sanctions, there are legal questions concerning the provision of
web hosting services to these organizations.

This report continues  <http://citizenlab.org> Citizen Lab research into the
intersection of the private sector, authoritarianism, and cyberspace
regulation, turning our attention to a component of the Internet that does
not typically receive the same amount of attention as filtering,
surveillance, and computer network attack products and services: web hosting
services.

Summary of main findings:

*	Websites of the Syrian government, including the Ministries of
Culture,Transport, and others, are hosted on Canada-based web servers
through intermediary companies, one of which, called "Platinum
Incorporated," advertises that it has co-location servers in Canada.
*	The Syrian TV station Addounia TV, which is sanctioned by Canada and
the European Union for inciting violence against Syrian citizens, uses
Canada-based web servers to host its website.
*	The website for Al-Manar - the official media arm of the Lebanese
political party, Hezbullah - is hosted on Canada- and US-based web servers
and employs Canada-based web servers to stream its TV broadcast globally.
Al-Manar satellite broadcasts have been banned by the US, France, Spain, and
Germany as well as the European Union. The United States includes Al-Manar
on its Specially Designated Nationals List, a list of entities with which
U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing, and the assets of which
are blocked. Canada currently classifies Hezbullah as a terrorist
organization.
*	There are legal questions concerning the provision of web hosting
services to each of these organizations. As the Syrian government, Addounia
TV, and Hezbullah are all subject to Canadian sanctions, services provided
by Canada-based hosting providers to these entities may fall within the
scope of the sanctions.
*	Any consideration of the removal of an organization's website from
web hosting services, however, must be treated as a potential infringement
on freedom of speech and access to information, with due process and proper
accountability mechanisms clearly articulated and followed.

Ron Deibert, Director of the  <http://citizenlab.org> Citizen Lab and
<http://www.munkschool.utoronto.ca/canadacentre/> Canada Centre for Global
Security Studies, at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of
Toronto, remarks:

"Our findings peel back the layers of a complex, highly nuanced, and often
seamy world of web hosting. That Syrian government websites, including a
Syrian state-backed television station known to be inciting violence, are
hosted in Canada, is at minimum in contradiction to Canada's stated foreign
policy and possibly material support to a regime that is now globally
condemned for its repression and violence. We encourage governments, civil
society, and the private sector to seriously consider how best to handle the
expanding responsibilities of web hosting companies and how due process and
proper accountability mechanisms can be normalized in ways that protect free
speech and access to information, while avoiding support for human rights
abuses and repressive regimes in ways that we document in this report."

The full report can be accessed here:
<http://www.citizenlab.org/canadian-connection>
http://www.citizenlab.org/canadian-connection

--

About the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies
The  <http://www.munkschool.utoronto.ca/canadacentre/> Canada Centre for
Global Security Studies is an interdisciplinary unit at the Munk School of
Global Affairs, University of Toronto that engages in advanced research and
policy development around global security issues including cyber security,
global health, and region-specific concerns, such as the Arctic, Europe and
the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia, and the changing face of the
Americas.

About the Citizen Lab
The  <http://citizenlab.org/> Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory
based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto,
Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of
digital media, global security, and human rights. The Citizen Lab's ongoing
research network includes the Information Warfare Monitor, the OpenNet
Initiative, OpenNet Eurasia, and Opennet.Asia.
 

 

Irene Poetranto

Communications Assistant

Citizen Lab

Munk School of Global Affairs

University of Toronto

 <http://www.citizenlab.org> www.citizenlab.org

Follow us on Twitter @citizenlab





 

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