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What We're Watching: Cuba's internet crackdown, Erdogan woos Ethiopia, Merkel's Russia-Ukraine tour

Cuba's internet crackdown: Just weeks after Cubans used social media to mobilize the biggest anti-government protests in decades, the communist regime will now criminalize using social media to criticize the government. The new law states that Cubans cannot use any telecommunications to undermine the country's "public order," and that internet providers must monitor users' activities and even shut down service when deemed necessary. Clearly, this move is a guise for the government to crack down on all dissent, and to codify what they've already been doing. But many emboldened Cubans, who only got online on their smartphones in 2018, say they will not back down on criticizing the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel for lack of food, medicine and general economic stagnation that's thrust millions into poverty. During recent mass protests, the government staged a brutal crackdown and shut down the internet, prompting the Biden administration to sanction Cuban officials and the police force for human rights abuses. The US has also said that it's looking for alternative ways to provide internet access to Cubans, possibly through VPN technology, a workaround solution that could not be penetrated by the draconian Cuban regime. But they are not there yet, the Biden administration says.

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Cuba Internet Censorship Amid Protests | Pressure Grows Against Huawei | Cyber In :60 | GZERO Media

Cuba internet censorship amid protests; pressure grows against Huawei

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cuba has curbed access to messaging apps amid protests. How controlled and censored is Cuba's internet?

Well, any debate and criticism is tightly controlled in Cuba, including through information, monitoring and monopoly. But activists such as blogger Yoani Sánchez have always been brave in defying repression and making sure that messages of Cubans reached others online across the world. Now mobile internet has become accessible to Cubans since about two years, but accessing it remains incredibly expensive. But the fact that the regime in Cuba once again seeks to censor people through shutting down internet services actually shows it is its Achilles' heel. As Yoani has said, the Castros have lost the internet.

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Will the Next President Bridge the Digital Divide? | Tech In :60 | GZERO Media

Will the next president bridge the digital divide?

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, helps us make sense of today's stories in technology:

What are the biggest tech questions that will be facing the next president after the election and will they do anything about them?

I think the biggest question might be the digital divide. In an era of the pandemic where schools are online, medicine is moving online, work is moving online. It is a tragedy that there are 160 million people in this country who do not have good broadband access. And that's a failure of policy in many, many ways. That is a huge issue. I also think the tech dynamics with China are a huge issue, and I think that figuring out the government's role in regulating and supporting startups in artificial intelligence is huge. Will the candidates do anything about them? Joe Biden might do something about the digital divide. Donald Trump has actually been okay on AI, but tech policy has been a disaster under Trump and probably won't be a priority under Biden.

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The Graphic Truth: How free is the internet?

As more human activities go online to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus has actually made the internet less free than before in many parts of the world. Freedom House warns that political leaders are using the pandemic to suppress access to information under the guise of combating fake news, to justify online surveillance that otherwise would be deemed too intrusive, and to break up the World Wide Web with so-called "cyber sovereignty" regulations that are drawing national borders on the online distribution of information. We take a look at the state of internet freedom in 68 countries, highlighting the top five that have improved and declined the most.

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