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Apple and Google Should Account for Limiting Access to Election Information

Apple and Google capitulated to Russian authorities last week when they removed access to the Navalny Smart Voting app on the eve of the weekend’s parliamentary election. The move helped undermine Russian voters’ ability to access information about…
Police officer wearing face mask stands on duty at the polling station on July 1, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
News

Robust Data Security Safeguards Should Be Put in Place

Last week, Russian media reported a major personal data leak of Covid-19 patients admitted to Moscow hospitals, as well as Muscovites who had been ordered to self-quarantine, or fined over violating the self-quarantine regulations. According to the…
A woman wearing a face mask looks at her smartphone as she walks through a street in Moscow, Russia, November 23, 2020. 
News

Parliament Should Reject Bill, Ensure Access to Information Online

On November 19, a draft law was submitted to Russia’s parliament that would give authorities power to block websites that have censored Russian state media content. The bill claims these websites violate Russians’ right of access to information.…
A man checks his smartphone while waiting to board a subway in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2019. 
News

Activists File an Application to European Court of Human Rights

Activist Alyona Popova and politician Vladimir Milov have lodged a complaint over Russia’s use of  facial recognition technology during protests to the European Court of Human Rights. Their lawyer, Kirill Koroteyev, said this would be the…
Two surveillance camera are seen in a street in Moscow, Russia
News

Entire Country’s Personal Data to Be Stored in One Place

Update: On June 8, President Putin signed the bill into law. The law will enter into force incrementally, starting January 1, 2022. A new law for creating a “uniform federal database” in Russia infringes on the right to privacy and weakens…
A Russian state flag waves on top of a hammer and sickle at the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, headquarters in Moscow, Russia
News

COVID-19 Provides Excuse to Extend; New Monitoring Technology

Moscow’s officials are forging ahead with installing one of the world’s biggest surveillance camera systems equipped with facial recognition technology, despite protests from activists. The system is ostensibly to help in the fight against…
Two surveillance camera are seen in a street in Moscow, Russia
News

Abuses Persist Five Years After Coup

Since Thailand’s military seized power on May 22, 2014, the country has faced unending repression of fundamental rights and freedoms. Five years after the coup, Thailand is nowhere near the “return to democratic, civilian rule” the National Council…
Soldiers line up for voting in general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, March 24, 2019. Nearly five years after a coup, Thailand was voting Sunday in a long-delayed election that sets a military-backed party against the populist
News

Crackdown on Social Media Broadens

Update: On April 2 a Yeysk court fined Alexander Korovainy 5,000 rubles ($77) for his Facebook post under Article 20.33 for distributing materials from an “undesirable” organization. Last month, Alexander Korovainy shared an image on his…
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News

Still No Justice for Somchai Neelapaijit and Other Victims

Fifteen years ago this week, I received a phone call in the middle of the night with the news that Somchai Neelapaijit had gone missing. At the time, Somchai was chair of Thailand’s Muslim Lawyers Association and vice-chair of the Human Rights…
A sketch of Somchai Neelapaijit.
News

Concerns Over Government’s Increased Control of Online Speech

An acquaintance living in the United States asked me if it was true that Russia is about to “cut off its Internet” from the rest of the world. He sounded panicked - his family still lives in Russia. He was concerned about recent reports…
The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017.
News

London-Based Dissident Targeted for Arrest for Criticizing Military Rule

Before Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha meets UK Prime Minister Theresa May in London this Wednesday, the junta’s long arm of repression has already reached there, targeting critics of the government.  Thai authorities issued the…
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures as he leaves Thai Union company in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
News

Opposition Politician Alexei Navalny and Campaigners Sentenced

This afternoon, a court in Moscow sentenced the press secretary of Russia’s leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, to 25 days in jail for “repeated violation” of regulations on public rallies, an administrative offense. …
Policemen detain opposition supporters during a protest ahead of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration ceremony, Moscow, Russia May 5, 2018.
News

Policymakers, Soldiers Escape Accountability for Violence Against ‘Red Shirts’

Eight years ago my colleagues and I watched as the streets of Bangkok were covered with blood in one of Thailand’s most violent political confrontations. Yet there is still no justice for the at least 98 people killed and more than 2,000 injured…
On August 30, 2017, Phayao Akhard wears the bloody nurses gown worn by her daughter, nurse Kamolkate “Kate” Akhard, when she was killed by Thai Special Forces soldiers while tending wounded persons at the front of Wat Pathum temple on May 19, 2010.
News

The Russian Government Versus Telegram Messaging Service

Last weekend, I attempted to buy new sneakers online for my 5-year-old, but Amazon’s website was down. My husband wanted to look up traffic updates on Google, but Google Search was down. I tried to check in online for my Monday morning flight, but the…
Tanya Lokshina’s own paper plane for Internet freedom. Moscow, April 22, 2018.
News

Moscow Court Rules to Block Access to Telegram Messenger in Russia

This morning, Moscow’s Tagansky District Court issued a ruling to block access to Telegram, a popular messaging service with close to ten million users in Russia, and close to 200 million worldwide, for failure to hand encryption keys…
A man poses with a smartphone in front of a screen showing the Telegram logos in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina November 18, 2015.
News

Authorities Threaten to Block Twitter, YouTube Over Open Russia Accounts

This week, Russia’s state media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, issued a warning to Twitter, giving it 24 hours to remove allegedly unlawful content – the Twitter account of opposition group Open Russia, led by Russian former oil tycoon and…
A photo illustration interweaving the Russian flag with the Facebook and Twitter logos taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 22, 2015.
News

Facebook Post About Sexual Health for LGBT People Triggered Investigation and Trial

Update - October 27, 2017 On October 18, 2017, Evdokiya Romanova was found guilty of spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using the Internet" and fined 50,000 roubles (about US$865).…
Interior Ministry officers guard the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community rally "VIII St.Petersburg Pride" in St. Petersburg, Russia August 12, 2017.
News

Russia Should Amend its Anti-Extremism Legislation

A Russian YouTuber recently noted that internet users in Russia today, “have one foot in jail.” Less succinctly but with greater gravitas, the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination last week said that Russia needs…
A photo illustration interweaving the Russian flag with the Facebook and Twitter logos taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 22, 2015. Russia's media watchdog has warned that Google, Twitter and Facebook could be blocked if they do not comply with
News

Free Expression Hampered by Climate of Fear

Thai junta leader, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, says he is ready to listen to the Thai people about the country’s future. So, starting this week, the Prime Minister’s Office will dutifully report public opinions every 10 days…
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News

Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…