Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Hacking Sandblast-arts.org...how rude!

Two weeks ago, our website www.sandblast-arts.org was hacked and has since been down. While our Web Team has managed to delete all "bad code", the problem could not be resolved to this day. Be assured, that they are on it.

Online censorship has been an issue since the world wide web has become more easily available for the public. National governments, multilateral corporations, hate groups and others have been trying to take control and thereby censor what and to what extent content is available online. To a degree, they have been successful, if you consider the restrictions on Google in China, Yahoo in France as well as the political economy of search engines on how users access the Internet. New phenomena, such as cyberterrorism, cyberbullying and trolling, have manifested and need to be addressed in a serious and informed manner.
While there is no evidence who attacked the Sandblast website and for what reasons, they succeeded in leaving us offline for at least two weeks (and counting). Being a British organisation, the UK government has not imposed (yet) any restrictions on our Internet presence. Being a transnational medium of communication, however, information and communication technology, just like the world wide web and social media (e.g. facebook), are subject to abuse and censorship that we may disagree with and contest as much as we can, but are still vulnerable to.

Attacks against organisations such as Sandblast, social movements (in Iran and Egypt), journalists (in Morocco and Tunisia)  and individuals with an opinion (in China) are manifold these days and we would like to draw your attention to organisations that highlight, monitor, and contest these problems:

    •    Global Voices Advocacy: Defending Free Speech Online
    •    Threatened Voices

And those providing a vast amount of information on why it is important for freedom of online speech to be protected:

    •    Net Freedom
    •    Save the Internet [American]
    •    Internet.Artizans

We will keep you posted about the development with the hacked website. Please get in touch with us with any queries and questions via email to cathrin@sandblast-arts.org, skype to sandblastarts, facebook, twitter...

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