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Tue 12 Mar 2013 04:27 PM

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Media watchdog names and shames ‘enemies of internet’

Activist organisation listed five companies on the occasion of what it said is a World Day Against Cyber-Censorship

Media watchdog names and shames ‘enemies of internet’

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has named what it
says are companies that have sold or are providing software that is used for
surveillance and intelligence gathering of people using the internet.

The activist organisation listed five companies on what it said is a World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, dubbing the
entities 'Corporate Enemies of the Internet', describing them as
“digital era mercenaries”.

They include Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue
Coat.

The companies "sell products that are liable to be used
by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information,"
Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on its website. The list is not
exhaustive and will be expanded in the coming months, it said. 

It also provided a list of five countries which it said were
'State Enemies of the Internet', whose governments "are involved in
active, intrusive surveillance of news providers, resulting in grave violations
of freedom of information and human rights".

The company's "products have been or are being used to
commit violations of human rights and freedom of information", the
organisation said.

"If these companies decided to sell to authoritarian
regimes, they must have known that their products could be used to spy on journalists,
dissidents and netizens," it added. "

If their digital surveillance
products were sold to an authoritarian regime by an intermediary without their
knowledge, their failure to keep track of the exports of their own software means
they did not care if their technology was misused and did not care about the
vulnerability of those who defend human rights."

The organisation went on to add that just as reporters covering conflicts resort to helmets and protective gear when on assignment,
internet users should also take measures to protect their privacy and
communications. It published in several languages an 'Online Survival Kit' that
provides guidelines that can aid people in circumventing censorship and
securing communication.

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