Feeds

Syria orders cybercafe owners to ID customers

'Iron censorship' extended

Syria has ordered cybercafe owners to take down details of customers in an extension of its "iron censorship" of the web, according to monitoring group the Syrian Media Centre.

Proprietors are now obliged to record clients' names, ID card numbers and the time they spend online, and present the resulting data "regularly to the authorities".

The Centre's head, Mazen Darwich, told Reuters: "These steps are designed to terrorize internet users and spread fear and self censorship in violation of the right to privacy and free expression. The government has been methodical in extending the scope of its iron censorship."

The Syrian authorities have of late been flexing their muscles in cyberspace. Facebook, YouTube, Syrian opposition websites and Lebanese newspapers and Lebanese groups "opposed to what they call Syrian interference in Lebanon" are strictly off-limits to Syrian surfers.

The Syrian Media Centre claims "at least" 153 websites are blocked in Syria, "with bans expanding over the past few weeks to Googleblog and the Arab Maktoobblog". Darwich noted: "Open forums have been used by thousands of Syrians to launch a counter-offensive against the government's curbs on public expression."

The powers that be have responded by targetting outspoken individuals. Syrian human rights organizations say a poet is "facing trial... for publishing articles on a civic society forum", while "another writer spent a week in prison for an internet piece about fuel and electricity shortages".

A teacher from rural Reka province, meanwhile, is also due up before the beak for "criticising online what he described as patronage and nepotism in the state-run education system".

The government did not comment on the latest measure, but officials defended internet controls against "attempts to spread sectarian divisions" and "penetration by Israel". ®

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.