Is VPN Legal in Your Country? published a study of whether or not VPNs are legal in 196 countries around the world.  There is a summary for each, and some links to details of the research.

VPNs are legal, generally.

It depends largely on the country you’re physically sitting in while using a VPN. But even then, their laws and restrictions are often opaque.  What’s legal vs. illegal is not always clear.  Some activities, while frowned upon, are still shrouded in grey area.  In this research we fact-checked 196 countries laws and their opinions on VPNs.

VPNs are illegal in: China, Turkey, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Belarus, Oman.

VPNs are some-what illegal in: Iran, North-Korea, Turkmenistan.

P.S.: If you can’t access the links above, VPN is probably illegal (or at least blocked) in your country or region.

Paphos court orders Facebook to remove offensive comments


Cyprus News reports that :

The Paphos District Court has issued an injunction against social media giant Facebook, ordering the company to remove a number of offensive comments posted on a local business profile, aimed at a local man.

The comments, posted on February 4, accuse the man of criminal activities. The original post was still on Facebook on Wednesday morning.  It has over 1,000 shares.

Charalambos Savvides of the Ch. P. Savvides & Associates LLC law firm, which handled the case, told the Cyprus Mail that Facebook was not only required to remove the comments but also take steps to ensure that future related comments were taken down immediately.

In-Cyprus has a few more details:

The case concerns comments on Facebook made against a bar owner from Paphos who became the target of a hate campaign which attracted thousands of users who shared and liked the page. The man in question was, according to those who had got the ball rolling on popular social media site, committing various crimes around the town and especially against competing bars.

He was also accused of being a police informant that was getting special protection in the town despite his ‘known illegal activities’.

The man has denied all the allegations against him.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Project Shield – a DDoS protection layer from Google

Project Shield is not a mainstream service yet, just an idea that Google is trying out, but still, I think it’s worth a mention.

Project Shield is an initiative launched by Google Ideas to use Google’s own Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack mitigation technology to protect free expression online. The service allows other websites to serve their content through Google’s infrastructure without having to move their hosting location.

There is also a video:


On policy making and profit protection

TorrentFreak runs an inspirational piece, which touches upon civil liberties, policy making, and profits of the large companies involved in movie and music making.

The job of any entrepreneur is to construct a use case and a business case that allow them to make money, given the current constraints of society and technology. They do not get to dismantle civil liberties, even if they can’t make money otherwise. That goes for Blackwater Security as well as the copyright industry as well as every other entrepreneur on the planet. needs more PR

I’ve recently made a donation to and also bought some stickers from them.  Since I put the sticker on my laptop, I am getting this question all the time: “What is“.  I even get this question from people who I thought were very familiar with EFF’s work. Well, here is an answer to that question from the web site:

EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.

EFF stands for Electronic Frontier Foundation.  In a nutshell, they are the good guys.  They’ve done a lot of good over the last few years, and they are still at work.  Check their web site for what they have done, and see if you can help in any way.

And if you want a sticker, I have a few to pass around.

On copyright, fair use, and free speech

TechCrunch has an excellent cover of the “photograph in the video” story that has been going on all over the web in the last few days.  Basically, somebody wrote a funny song and made a video for it.  In that video a bunch of images were used including one that was downloaded from Flickr without permission of the photographer.  The photographer got really pissed off and such.  The video was re-edited to remove the offending image, but there was plenty of discussion on how is right and who is wrong in this story.  Some really important questions on copyright, fair use, and free speech were asked, and some really smart people tried to answer them.

The rights of the copyright holder have always been balanced against the more fundamental right of free speech. And free speech in the Internet age, more so than ever before, goes way beyond words and text. The way people express themselves on the Web increasingly involves images, video, animations, and other rich media, often in mash-ups of pre-existing works. That is how people communicate today. Both copyright law and industry standards need to evolve to take that into consideration.

While I support the (copy)right of the author to command the usage of his or her work, I think that this particular case wasn’t handled properly by the photographer.

Why all the Google-China fuss

You’ve probably heard a lot about Google in the last few days. The company was all over the media because of two important issues.

The first one had something to do with their profits, and experts’ expectations of those profits. That’s all very boring unless, of course, you are a shareholder. Which I am not. So I’ll just ignore that one for now.

The second one is a bit more catchy. It’s the rise of an old question – “What happens if Google will go evil?”. Google has access to such much information that it can easily change lives of so many people both to the good and to the bad. And I am not only talking about all that information that is so easily found with Google’s search engine. Just in case you forgot or never knew – Google knows who is looking for what, where are you coming from, which languages you can read, and what browser do you use. It has also a pretty good idea about websites that you visit – which ones and how often (by means of Google advertising and Google web statistics). If you use Google Mail, they know a lot more about you, than you probably do about yourself. And so forth.

Until now though Google was pretty descent in most its politics. But a few days ago they did something in China that many people saw as an evil act.

The thing with China is that it is still a very much controlled state. There are things like government firewalls that prevent people from accessing all sorts of resources – from pornographic to political. There is a lot of censorship – who can say what and when, etc. That’s on one hand. On the other – more than a billion people. In English that means – a huge market.

So there is no surprise that everyone and anyone are trying to get their hand on China. Doing so though requires a lot of manouvering around Chinese government and its existing policies. And here is where Google came to light recently. Instead of supporting free speech and other democratic civil rights, they agreed to do a lot of filtering on the results they provide for certain keywords.

How bad is it? Well, consider an example. Bad. Very bad.

Why should you care? I don’t know. You decide for yourself.