Information and communications technology (ICT) companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are vitally important to billions of users around the world, not only in their day-to-day personal and professional lives, but also in their ability to shape social and political reality. Yet there is a pervasive lack of clarity around the policies and practices that govern user engagement on these platforms and sites, and the values that undergird them. This information is of great importance to policy researchers and civil society advocates, particularly in the wake of numerous recent events that have put the relative power and opacity of ICT companies in the spotlight. Access to information about them is often incredibly difficult to obtain, when it is available at all. These difficulties are faced by many categories of people interested in researching ICT companies, from academics to journalists, and from civil society advocates to policy researchers.
Freedom of expression and opinion online is increasingly criminalised with the aid of penal and internet-specific legislation. In this special edition of GISWatch, the Association for Progressive Communication brings together analysis on the criminalisation of online expression from six Asian states: Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand. The IPO provided support for the extension of the project to include Malaysia and Thailand and work with researchers within these countries to produce the country reports.
By Usama Khilji & Saleha Zahid
The tempo of technological change in Pakistan is constantly escalating. Millions of users are getting online for the first time, using an ever-expanding array of new services and devices, and governments and policy-making bodies are struggling to respond to this influx of users and new technologies. This research study attempts to provide a mapping of the policymaking process in the information technology sector in Pakistan during this critical time.
Turkey’s Internet Policy After the Coup Attempt: The Emergence of a Distributed Network of Online Suppression and Surveillance
By Bilge Yesil, Efe Kerem Sozeri, and Emad Khazraee
In July 2016, Turkey was shaken by a bloody coup attempt. Although the would-be putschists failed, their insurgency led to an unprecedented reshuffling of Turkey’s political economic and socio-cultural landscapes. Notwithstanding the critical reverberations on the army, judiciary, law enforcement and civil society, the abortive coup set in motion a massive purge of civil servants, closure of media outlets, arrests of journalists, and blocking of websites and social media accounts.