“Wasl” Newsletter: The Sixth Issue

A non-periodical newsletter issued by Technology and Law Community “Masaar” on news and activities related to digital rights.

Bread&Net Forum Starts on November 23

The fourth edition of Bread&Net forum starts from 23 to 26 November, and Masaar – Technology and Law Community is one of the partners supporting the forum organized by Social Media Exchange – SMEX.

Bread&Net is an annual unconference that promotes and defends digital rights across Arabic-speaking countries. The Bread&Net themes for this year seek to capture the challenges facing the region, build on the progress, and discuss where we go next. The themes are: policy advocacy in difficult contexts, digital security in practice, resistance communities, and technology as a resource.

Bread&Net Regestriation | Bread&Net Website | SMEX Website

Masaar Participates in TechneSummit

Masaar – Technology and Law Community, participated in TechneSummit which was held in Alexandria from 2 to 4 October 2021. Techne Summit is an international multi-industry-focused Investment & Entrepreneurship event that aims to impact multiple sectors and stakeholders of the Startup Communities in The Mediterranean Region through showcasing different technologies and their application in each industry. The seventh edition of TechneSummit was attended by more than 600 startups, 180 investors, and 300 speakers from 70 countries.

TechneSummit Website

Masaar – Technology and Law Community Activities

1. Possible Legislative Alternatives.. About the Executive Regulations of the Personal Data Protection Law | Policy Paper

In July 2020, the Personal Data Protection Law was passed, a year after its publication, of which most of the rules stipulated are still suspended, for non–issuance of the executive regulations, where the law referred a large number of procedural aspects to the executive regulations. This paper focuses on the repercussions and effects of the delay in issuing the executive regulations of the Personal Data Protection Law, with a quick reference to the contexts and circumstances associated with the process of drafting the implementing regulations for the law, especially in the absence of a serious societal dialogue, concerning the exit of an executive regulation that is acceptable to the various parties.

Link for the policy paper: In English | In Arabic

During the recent few years, drones have had multiple uses, other than military use, where advancements in technology have led to expanding its use for civil and commercial purposes by many companies. Through this article, Masaar attempts to answer some questions related to the legal controls for using those aircraft in Egypt, and the effects of violating the limits drawn by the “Law Regulating the Use, Circulation, and Trade in Motorized or Wirelessly Powered or Remotely Operated Aircraft” which was published in 2017.

Link for the article: In English | In Arabic

3. Big Technology Companies and Freedom of Expression | Policy Paper

The tremendous importance gained by social media and their applications throughout the last years, has created a new reality lived by billions of people around the globe, thus affecting all aspects of their lives, and in particular enjoying their basic rights and freedoms, with the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression in the forefront. This has raised many questions about the power wielded by big tech companies owning and running the most used social media platforms, over the ability of their users to practice the right to freedom of expression through these platforms.

This policy paper discusses several axes such as how to judge a practice to be a preach of the right to freedom of expression, non-binding international treaties, and NGOs Efforts.

Link for the policy paper: In English | In Arabic

4. Fake News Verification Techniques and Initiatives

Fake news (false or misleading news) can spread through different publishing media, including media and news outlets or social media websites. Fake news is usually created for misleading, causing damage, or making gaining material or political profits. This article discusses false and misleading news, the difficulties of news verification, the tools that can be used for verifying and scrutinizing news, and the initiatives active in this area.

Link for the article: In English | In Arabic

5. How Can AI Applications Be Biased

Artificial intelligence (AI), contributes to such a huge evolution in all fields. However, one of the most important problems arising in the last few years was the discrimination practiced by some of the AI applications based on gender or race, to the extent that such applications violate the rights of individuals and control the course of their lives. This article addresses how AI works, and how it can be biased.

Masaar has also published two episodes of CONNECT podcast discussing the bias and racism of some of the AI applications and algorithms.

Link for the article: In English | In Arabic

Link for the podcast episodes:

6. Clubhouse: Security and Privacy Issues

In March 2020, Clubhouse was launched as one of the startup social media applications, it depends on direct audio communication only. The application acquired wide attention in many countries and communities. Now, around half a million rooms are created on the application every day. Masaar published a two-part article on Clubhouse, the first one addresses security and privacy issues in the application and recommends a number of steps that Clubhouse could take to enhance its security and privacy. The second part addresses accounts identities pitfalls and recommends some tools and behaviors that can help increase privacy and prevent surveillance on the Internet.

7. The Free Internet We Want

The Internet has grown a lot since the day when it seemed like a small far world we watch through the browser’s window on our desktop PCs. The Internet conquered our world, claiming one more part of it every day. We do much of our work through it, we communicate with our families, friends, and acquaintances through chat applications, we watch movies, TV series, and shows through streaming services, and we follow the news, comment on them, and discuss public issues through social media websites and applications, which we spend hours browsing every day.

Masaar discusses through a four-part article titled “The Free Interner We Want” the centralization of applications, how the Internet has become centralized and how this affects us, and what we mean by “Free Internet”. The fourth and last part of the series will be published soon.

  • The Free Internet We Want (1): How the Internet became centralized, and what that means?: In English | In Arabic
  • The Free Internet We Want (2): How Internet centralization affects us: In English | In Arabic
  • The Free Internet We Want (3): What do we mean by “Free Internet”?: In English | In Arabic

8. How the Cybercrime Law Imposes Several Responsibilities on Website Administrators

The Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes Law has specified a division for the crimes committed by website administrators and the penalties they might face in case such crimes were committed. These crimes vary between direct crimes that may occur through website activities, and in the form of crimes related to shortcomings in procedures that should be carried out by websites administrators. Masaar discusses in this article who are the website administrators meant by the law and their responsibilities, and what is specifically meant by the term “websites”.

Link for the article: In English | In Arabic

New at “CONNECT” Podcast

  • Episode (7): How Does COVID Passport Affect Rights and Freedoms? | Arabic Audio

Listen to the podcast on: Google Podcasts | Apple Podcasts | Anchor  | Masaar Website

  • Episode (8): About Open Source with JOSA | First Part | Arabic Audio

Listen to the podcast on: Google Podcasts | Apple Podcasts | Anchor  | Masaar Website

From Egypt

  • The Regional Center for Rights and Liberties published a report titled “Likee Application between Family Values and Human Trafficking”, the report sheds light on the “Likee” application owned by BIGO Technology and examines the company’s ownership, profit model, the size of its investments and its legal status in Egypt. It also discusses the impact of the “TikTok” girls’ case on the right to freedom of expression and creativity in Egypt, in addition to offering recommendations to improve the state of rights and freedoms on the Internet.

Link for  the report: In Arabic

  • The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression published a three-part paper titled “The Internet and the Law in Egypt” which deals with three topics, “centralization of telecommunications, digital media, and digital privacy” by addressing the laws that affect the use of the Internet, the parties that regulate it, and the penalties and risks that the user may face.

The Internet and the Law in Egypt Series (First Part: Centralization of Telecommunications): In English | In Arabic

The Internet and the Law in Egypt Series (Second Part: Digital media): In English | In Arabic

The Internet and the Law in Egypt Series (Third part: Digital Privacy): In English | In Arabic

From the Arab Region

  • SMEX published an article titled “Is Lebanese citizens’ data safe on IMPACT’s platforms?”, in this article, you’ll find a review of the privacy policy for IMPACT platform launched by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health to improve the response to the Coronavirus pandemic, as IMPACT handles and manages COVID-related services online, in partnership with MoPH: from mobility permits during lockdowns to vaccination registration.

Link for the article: In English | In Arabic

  • 7amleh – the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement launched 7or (Hurr), the first Palestinian digital rights violations monitor and the first open online platform to monitor, document, and follow-up on digital rights violations against Palestinian content. The platform comprises two main tools: a reporting tool and a tool to extract data about violations.

7or Platform

  • Titled “On Asceticism and Digital Hygiene in the Face of #Pegasus Panic,” Zanga platform published an article on concepts and terminology from the world of cyber-surveillance and malware, in addition to some tips for protection against malware.

Link for the article: In Arabic

  • The Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) discussed “Our Right to not Install Software without Our Consent, Ideologically and in Practice” in a blog post about Microsoft’s installing software on Linux servers within Azure without users’ knowledge, it also discusses the idea of free and open source software that gives the user authority over the software.

Link for the blog: In Arabic

  • JOSA has also published a blog post titled “Ads and Privacy Tomorrow”, which deals with cookies and how they have become a means of electronic tracking for advertisers and other parties that operate without the user’s knowledge.

Link for the blog: In Arabic