Tag Archives: facebook

#No more ghosts: Facebook campaign sparks revolution in education sector

By Sameer Mandhro

SINDH – KARACHI: What the Sindh government could not do with all its resources and powers, a few concerned individuals have managed to accomplish with a little spark of ingenuity and the help of modern technology.

The campaign against ‘ghost teachers’ that has gone viral on Facebook since it started last month has sparked a kind of revolution in the provincial education sector. The campaign has by now exposed hundreds of prominent figures, including journalists, political and social activists and nationalists who were drawing salaries from public schools but never bothered to attend even once.

The campaign

The major focus of the campaign was on those affiliated with the media. TV channel and newspaper owners were urged to take action against such journalists who were ruining the futures of hundreds of children.
A month on, the campaign has attracted the attention of almost 30 groups of individuals who collect data, including pictures of ‘ghost teachers’ from different areas and share the information on the page under the inscription, ‘He is also a ghost teacher’. The data is then viewed and shared by those subscribed to the page. The remarkable success of the campaign can be gauged from the fact that people from all over Sindh have started posting information on ‘ghost teachers’ on the page.
With the exception of a few, most of the ‘ghost teachers’ are male. They are individuals who are quite prominent in their professions. Interestingly, the moderators of the page claim that the number of female ghost teachers is far higher than their male counterparts.

The profiles are shared from one person to another, and within hours, the accused inevitably finds out that they have been identified. Below the profiles follow a string of comments from users, urging the person to do justice to the profession. The comments are shaming, with the users having carefully picked their words to touch a nerve. ‘Go ghost go’, ‘Don’t destroy the future of our children’ and ‘You are not from among us’ are some of the popular messages to the ghost teachers.

The campaigners

“The first rally for education started in 2012 from Mithi,” recalled one of the senior campaigners, Liaquat Mirani. He is a teacher at a private school and has been threatened several times to stop the campaign. “The campaign has somewhat achieved what millions of rupees spent by the government and donor agencies could not do,” he said, adding that several teachers have started joining their duties after the drive was launched on the social media. “It is a social media revolution.”
Mirani is one of the campaigners who directly shares posts regarding ghost teachers on his personal Facebook profile. He has also asked others to come forward and help him point out those who cheat the nation.

Suhail Memon, who is himself a journalist, is among those who expose ghost teachers on social media. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Memon said that around 40,000 people have been declared ‘ghost teachers’ by the provincial government. “We are also collecting data of how many ghost teachers have been identified on our pages,” he explained.

What they hope to achieve

“Believe me, no one will dare to be absent from schools in the future,” he said. “There will be no compromise on education.” Memon added that the bhatta in the form of salaries taken from the government will not be tolerated. Social media had become the most powerful tool of information in the world. “Its impact is being felt in Sindh now.”

One of the individual campaigners, Shahnawaz Mandhro, remarked that the response was tremendous. “Common people whose complaints were not being entertained by the education department now contact us and share information on ghost teachers,” he said. “The school from where I got my primary education is now closed. It pains me that there is no mechanism to make schools functional again,” he commented.

Interestingly, the provincial education department has requested campaigners to share data with the department, with the promise that guilty teachers would be removed from their jobs after proper scrutiny.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2014.
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/793902/no-more-ghosts-facebook-campaign-sparks-revolution-in-education-sector/

Facebook under fire for blocking pages in Pakistan

By New York Times

By Declan Walsh and Salman Masood 

LONDON: Facebook said Friday that it had blocked users in Pakistan from access to the pages of a popular Pakistani rock band and several left-wing political pages, drawing sharp criticism from free-speech activists who accused the US company of caving in to government censors.

Members of the band, Laal, whose members have frequently spoken out against the Taliban, confirmed that their Facebook page, which had more than 400,000 “likes,” had been blocked.

After an outcry on so ..

Facebook wants to give gift to the entire world

Facebook-led project seeks Internet access globally for all

By Reuters

New York (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google Inc.

The project, called Internet.org, is the latest move by an Internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fibre connections will expand connectivity.

Internet.org, which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world’s population – who do not have Internet access, come online, the company said in a statement.

It added that so far, only 2.7 billion people around the world have Internet access.

The partnership’s potential projects will include the development of lower-cost smartphones and the deployment of Internet access in underserved communities as well as working on ways to reduce the amount of data downloads required to run Internet applications, according to Facebook.

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The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

It’s High Time We Abolished the Department of Homeland Security

It’s the path to national sanity.

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

And, as a result, it’s time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach.

Last Wednesday, the  Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone “metadata” over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.

We now also know that what the  Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies.

President Obama – who promised the “most transparent administration ever” – now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy. That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named “PRISM.”

PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies – including Facebook, Google and Apple – the NSA has access to millions of users’ personal data, including emails, chats and videos.

Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about “foreign individuals” suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens

As the  Washington Post pointed out:

“Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in.”

These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who’s the  Guardian‘s source?

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/thom-hartmann-abolish-homeland-security

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source – Guardian

A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

The Guardian quotes Mr Snowden as saying he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, where he holed himself up in a hotel. He told the paper: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.

Asked what he thought would happen to him, he replied: “Nothing good.” He said he had gone to Hong Kong because of its “strong tradition of free speech”.

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Free speech values not yet standard in Greece either!

27-Year Old In Greece Arrested For Blaspheming A Monk On Facebook

By: Joe Weisenthal

Evidently in Greece, blaspheming a monk on Facebook is an arrestable offense.

Via @lolgreece and Peter Dimitrakos, here’s the Google Translated version of the arrest announcement for a 27-year old who blasphemed a famous Greek monk (Elder Paisios) using the mocking name Geron Pastitsios.

Pastitsios is a Greek pasta dish (hence the picture from the Facebook page showing the monk with a big plate of pasta)

Unconfirmed, but according to twittererers, his arrest was agitated by Golden Dawn nationalist types, and the government apparently complied.

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Social media is lying to you about Burma’s Muslim ‘cleansing’

By: Faraz Ahmed

Social networking sites are abuzz with news about Muslims being killed in Burma.You can see the sporadic posting of pictures by different people with captions like ‘Muslims killing in Burma’, ‘Muslims slaughtered by Buddhists in Burma’ and so on.

Thus, I took on the mission to sort the truth out for myself once and for all and researched some pictures that I felt were dubious. Below are a few pictures and their original copies. You can evidently see the gross difference between them and how they are thrown out of context.

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“Censor” Republic of Pakistan.

“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.” “What makes this kind of censorship so insidious is that they always use national security, pornography or blasphemy as an explanation for blocking other kinds of speech,” Ms. Saleem said, adding that her site had been blocked for several months in 2010 when it made reference to a ban on Facebook. ….

Read more » ChagataiKhan

Fighting the Great Firewall of Pakistan

How an unlikely free-speech campaign defeated the censors.

It takes a strong stomach and a thick skin to be a female activist fighting online censorship in Pakistan. Sana Saleem has both.

The 24-year-old founder of a Karachi-based free expression group Bolo Bhi has been accused of supporting “blasphemy.” On Twitter, a chilling message made the rounds last month: “this @sanasaleem is a prostitute who feature in porn movies #throwacidonsana.” Her photo was posted in pornography forums.

None of this has fazed Sana, who in conjunction with several other young Pakistani blogger-activists had launched a successful campaign that has shamed the government into halting plans for a national Internet censorship system. A long-time contributor to the international bloggers network Global Voices Online, in March Saleem joined forces with other groups including the Pakistan-based social justice group Bytes For All and other activists like the dentist-blogger Awab Alvi, a.k.a. “Teeth Maestro,” who has been campaigning against censorship since 2006. Their success is a victory for free speech, and not only in Pakistan. It holds lessons for activists around the world who are fighting uphill battles against censorship schemes initiated by governments that claim to be acting in the public interest, and who have support from influential political constituencies. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

Pakistan’s largest telecommunication company “PTCL Internet Blackout in Pakistan”

Pakistan’s largest telecommunication company,PTCL, is suffering a country word service blackout. Users took to twitter to report service suspensions, they are unable to reach out to customer support for any explanation on the blackout.

Google , Facebook, YouTube and loads of other services not working in Pakistan. surprisingly twitter is the only site that’s working on PTCL right now, facebook is not even opening.

Read more » http://storify.com/BoloBhi/ptcl-internet-blackout-in-pakistan?awesm=sfy.co_mLa&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=t.co&utm_content=storify-pingback

New York Times – Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

By ERIC PFANNER

PARIS — Many countries censor the Internet, but few spell out their intentions as explicitly as Pakistan.

In an effort to tighten its control over the Internet, the government recently published a public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system.”

Technology companies, academic institutions and other interested parties have until March 16 to submit proposals for the $10 million project, but anger about it has been growing both inside and outside Pakistan.

Censorship of the Web is nothing new in Pakistan, which, like other countries in the region, says it wants to uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy. The government has blocked access to pornographic sites, as well as, from time to time, mainstream services like Facebook and YouTube.

Until now, however, Pakistan has done so in a makeshift way, demanding that Internet service providers cut off access to specific sites upon request. With Internet use growing rapidly, the censors are struggling to keep up, so the government wants to build an automatic blocking and filtering system, like the so-called Great Firewall of China.

While China and other governments that sanitize the Internet generally do so with little public disclosure, Pakistan is being surprisingly forthcoming about its censorship needs. It published its request for proposals on the Web site of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund and even took out newspaper advertisements to publicize the project.

“The system would have a central database of undesirable URL’s that would be loaded on the distributed hardware boxes at each POP and updated on daily basis,” the request for proposals says, referring to uniform resource locators, the unique addresses for specific Web pages, and points of presence, or access points.

“The database would be regularly updated through subscription to an international reputed company maintaining and updating such databases,” according to the request, which was published last month.

The tender details a number of technical specifications, including the fact that the technology “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URL’s (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”

Following the Arab Spring, which demonstrated the power of the Internet to help spread political and social change, Pakistan’s move to clamp down has set off a storm of protest among free-speech groups in the country and beyond.

Opponents of censorship say they are doubly appalled because they associated this kind of heavy-handed approach more with the previous regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf than with the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”

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Bangladesh Army says it foiled a coup via Facebook

- Intelligence sources say the Bangladesh coup attempt last month was fueled by retired officers campaigning to introduce sharia law. The news raises concern about political instability in the region.

By Anis Ahmed, Reuters

Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Army said on Thursday it had foiled a coup attempt by retired and serving officers last month that intelligence sources said was driven by a campaign to introduce sharia law throughout the majority Muslim country.

Army intelligence discovered that Major Ziaul Haque had fled the barracks and was contacting fellow officers and ex-officers through Facebook and by cellphone to encourage them to join the plot, Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq said.

“Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance,” he told reporters.

He said around 16 former and active officers were involved. Some had been detained and would appear before a military court.

Impoverished Bangladesh has a history of coups, with army generals running the South Asian nation for 15 years until the end of 1990.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took power in early 2009 and has since faced threats from Islamist and other radical groups.

A revolt in the country’s paramilitary forces in February 2009 started in Dhaka and spread to a dozen other cities, killing more than 70 people, including 51 army officers. The revolt was quelled after two days but the country has since been shadowed by fears of further uprisings.

Sources in the army said the coup attempt was made late last month. “The attempt has been effectively controlled and now the process is on to punish the culprits,” one military official said.

Intelligence sources said the coup attempt was fuelled by a retired officer and associates in active service who were campaigning to introduce sharia law.

Intelligence officers also said it appeared to have been planned over weeks or months by officers having close links with what they described as religious fanatics within and outside the military. ….

Read more » CSMONITOR.COM

Fighting in the Fifth Dimension

Innovations in technology are changing the tactics of modern-day conflict, turning the cyberworld into a new frontline. ….

Read more »  aljazeera

New bill in congress against alternate media

New Bill In Congress Could Turn Alternative Media Outlets and YouTube Singers Into Felons

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

SB 978 is just one more bullet in a broader government effort to end the web as we know it.

In June, Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced SB 978, specifically “to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.” ….

Read more » AlterNet

The rise of people’s media

- By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

A piece of news or information is no more the property of the so-called ministries of information or media barons. New technologies have set free the information from official controls and ‘mainstream media’ newsrooms.

Often called liberating technologies, the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have assumed the role of new modes of disseminating information. They have allowed every citizen to become a publisher or a journalist. Today the first source of information is a mobile, instead of newspapers or TV channels, where one receives breaking news. ….

Read more → Manzoor Chandio’s Blog

Drivers of social change & mass awareness

by Waseem Altaf

The social media is now impacting the political scene in Pakistan too. The press conference of Zulfiqar Mirza and the recent speech of Altaf Hussain are thoroughly being discussed on the social media. Earlier the murder of Governor Salaman Taseer turned Facebook into a battleground between his supporters and opponents

Earlier civilizations relied on the oral tradition to pass on advice and knowledge from one generation to the next. The human development took a giant leap when man developed writing systems around 3200 BC. Human experience could now be preserved to be transmitted to posterity in a more organized and systematic manner. However handwritten material was restricted to a privileged class with tremendous influence of the clergy on the content. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Facebook Launches Video Calling

Facebook Launches Skype-Powered Video Calling

by Jason Kincaid

Confirming our report last week, Facebook has just announced a major new feature that it’s launching in tandem with Skype: video calling.

It’s a feature that’s been rumored for quite a while, and it’s one that Facebook is putting a lot of weight behind. Now, whenever you browse to a friend’s profile, you’ll see a new button nestled between the ‘Message’ and ‘Poke’ buttons that says ‘Call’. Click that, the other user will see a popup asking if they want to accept a call, and you’ll be immediately connected (you’ll need to install a small plugin the first time you use the service).

You’ll also see video calling integrated into Facebook’s Chat product. Really, you can’t miss it — Facebook is launching a new chat sidebar today that by default it takes the entire right side of the screen, and the first time you click on any user you’ll see a prompt asking if you’d like to make your first video call. If you try to initiate a video call and the other user doesn’t respond, you’ll be prompted to send them a video message.

So why is this a big deal? Facebook emphasized the fact that users will not have to create new Skype accounts to make calls, and that this will allow users to call their friends and family with a very minimal amount of setup (the flow for installing the applet only took a few seconds).

Read more → TechCrunch

The great war of the 21st century?

Gerald Celente, the man behind the famous Trends Journal, is Max Keiser’s guest for this edition of Press TV’s On the Edge. The main focus the show is on the relationship between Middle East uprisings and financial changes as a result of such political transformations. Enjoy.

- You Tube

 

BREAKING NEWS from EGYPT

Jokes about Hosni Mubarak circulating on Facebook

A SPEECH WRITER OF PRESIDENT MUBARAK RUSHED INTO HIS OFFICE AND SAID “MR. PRESIDENT,THIS IS YOUR FAREWELL SPEECH TO THE NATION.”

PRESIDENT MUBARAK REMARKED, “WHY? ARE THE EGYPTIANS LEAVING THE COUNTRY?”

Al Qaeda using Facebook to enlist ‘Friends’

By Jana Winter

EXCLUSIVE: If you’re on Facebook, Al Qaeda wants to friend you.

Terrorist groups are using Facebook to share operational information and to target, recruit and radicalize members of the general public, according to a Department of Homeland Security report obtained by FoxNews.com.

The DHS report, “Terrorist Use of Social Networking Sites: Facebook Case Study,” notes while terrorists have been using social networking sites for quite some time, their strategies for exploiting Facebook have evolved and that they have learned “the inherent value in exploiting a non-ideological medium.”

According to the November report, terrorists and jihadists use Facebook as:

— a way to share operational and tactical information, including bomb recipes and weapons maintenance;

— a gateway to extremist forums;

— a media outlet for propaganda;

— a source of remote reconnaissance for targeting purposes.

“Every person who connects to the Internet with a computer needs to take this issue seriously,” says Steve Graham, senior director for EC Council, a cybersecurity certification membership organization. “Reports like this show we are figuratively sitting next to terrorists. So are our friends, our kids and anyone else who types http://www.”

Read more: Fox News

About banning Facebook, YouTube & Twitter in Pakistan

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

More than meets the eye – Dr Manzur Ejaz

- BBC Urdu bulletins were banned in Pakistan without any justification

- WICHAAR

In the garb of performing a pious act by banning the most popular internet sites, the government has knocked out its critics. Now, Pakistanis are left at the mercy of the government or corporate media overwhelmed by religious ideologues

Pakistan has done it once again. From Morocco to Indonesia, nowhere did the public come out against the abominable act of depicting cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) except in Pakistan. Other than Pakistan, no other government, including theocracies in Saudi Arabia and Iran, keen on condemning the US in any way, have hurriedly shut down Facebook, YouTube or Twitter and several hundred sites on the pretext of the repulsive cartoons. Both Pakistan’s government and demonstrators have agendas other than reacting to these said cartoons.

The question was raised in my column a week back why most jihadis throwing bombs in other countries are traced back to Pakistan. Another question to raise is, why do only Pakistanis feel hurt when a lunatic publishes something in other countries? Are Pakistani Muslims the most honest, pious and God-fearing in the entire world? Every Pakistani knows in his or her heart that Pakistanis’ honesty and reverence for religion is a myth that is broken every day by corruption, nepotism, underhand dealings, cruelty to the poor and women and overblown greed. Therefore, Pakistanis taking the pain of safeguarding the entire Muslim world is quite hypocritical.

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Pakistan’s jihad against the Internet

Drawing a line: Pakistan’s jihad against the Internet – By Urooj Zia

- HIMAL

A couple of months ago, when self-styled ‘security analyst’ Zaid Hamid’s anti-India vitriol started getting out of hand, a group of Pakistanis got together on Facebook to condemn his hate speech and calls for war against ‘Hindu Zionists’. There were jokes about ‘Jihad-e-Facebook’ and ‘Ghazwa-e-YouTube’ because, like former dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, that’s where an overwhelming majority of Hamid’s supporters were anyway. No one could have thought at the point that an organ of the state would declare jihad against Facebook, but that is exactly what has happened. On 19 May, on a petition filed by a group calling itself the Islamic Lawyers Movement, the Lahore High Court ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block Facebook in response to the perceived blasphemy of a single page about ‘Draw … Day’.

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YouTube & FaceBook the mass media for common people in Pakistan blocked

Pakistani court orders Facebook blocked in prophet row

A court in Pakistan has ordered the authorities temporarily to block the Facebook social networking site.

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What would we do without Google, Twitter and Facebook!

..Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way communicate with each other… -President Barack Obama’s message on Education to students