SEE Digital Rights Network – June Newsletter

SEE Digital
Rights Network 
Digital Rights Falter Amid Political and Social Unrest: What Now?
At this event, BIRN and SHARE Foundation will discuss the state of digital rights in Southern and Eastern Europe, together with other members of the newly established SEE Network.


In August 2019, BIRN and SHARE foundation started a unique monitoring process of the state of digital rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, collecting more than 1500 cases of digital rights violations in a public regional database. Their annual digital rights report will also be presented at the event.


The event will gather representatives of CSOs, experts (both tech, legal and sociological), students, activists, tech enthusiasts and other interested parties in order to open a broad discussion on the growing challenges we face and the steps we need to take to counter the further deterioration of citizens’ digital rights, and press for policy change.
Two weeks ago, the Government of the Republic of Serbia presented the ‘Smart Serbia’ – a new state platform for mass data collection and processing. According to the officials, these data represent the ‘brain’ of the state, based on which decisions can be made and strategies devised, as well as the ‘necessary basis for the development of artificial intelligence’.


What could go wrong?


The guest of the fourth episode is Vladan Joler, professor of new media and founder of the SHARE Foundation. With Vladan, we will demystify what is ‘artificial’ and what is ‘intelligence’, talk about the economics of surveillance, the quantification of human lives, how algorithms manage society and individuals, and whether we should uncritically accept any new technology.


Please note that unfortunately the event will be in serbian only. In addition to the live stream, the good news is that Cyberama 4 will be happening in real space for the first time after a long break due to pandemic.
We would like to use this opportunity to present SHARE Monitoring, the database developed by SHARE Foundation and BIRN as a regional overview of digital rights and freedoms violations in six countries in Southern and Eastern Europe. For each individual country issues, please check the pages for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.


If you haven’t had a chance to see it until now, please take a moment to look at it. We would be also grateful if you see any violation in your country to let us know, so we can include it to our database. Below you will be able to find Key Online Violations during June 2021
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Member of Military Sentenced for Online Hate Speech
After posting news on Facebook in August 2019 that she was banned from presenting her book Huzur at a festival in Čitluk, ambassador to Prague Martina Mlinarević received threatening messages full of hate speech. One was sent to her by a soldier, Jurica Pavlović, calling her, among other things, a ‘traitor’ to her people and an ‘enemy of the Croats’. The Municipal Court in Ljubuški issued a final verdict against Pavlović, a member of the Armed Forces of BiH, for the message.
Croatia – Woman Defrauded by Fake Bank
Croatian police reported that a 24-year-old woman filed a criminal complaint for computer fraud. According to the police, she first received a text message on her mobile phone, which seemed like a credible message from her bank, with a request to update the internet banking application. She opened the link on her mobile phone that led to alleged bank’s website, where she then put in her personal and financial information, which she authorized with a fingerprint. Shortly after, the bank informed her of suspicious money transactions from her bank account.
Hungary – Scientist Spreads Falsehoods about COVID Vaccines
In a video uploaded to Facebook, retired researcher Zsuzsanna Bardócz claimed that all COVID vaccines are “experimental gene therapies” except for the Chinese vaccine. The video has been flagged as fake news by AFP’s fact-checking team because of this and several other false claims.
North Macedonia – Activist Targeted with Hate Speech, Fake News
Twitter users have targeted an unnamed activist in North Macedonia, spreading hate speech and fake news. During the last week, an image of a fake tweet appeared on the social network, and was attributed to the activist. What followed was a tirade of abuse and hate speech. Subsequently, it was confirmed that the image of the tweet was fake and that the activist had nothing to do with it.
Romania – Erotic Pictures of Teen Circulated Online 
Romanian police are investigating a potential case of child pornography after erotic photographs of a 15-year-old were found in the cellphones of her high school colleagues. The discovery was made after the teenager was found at her high school in a near alcoholic coma. A teacher is being investigated for locking the intoxicated girl in a sport hall instead of calling an ambulance.
Serbia – Phishing Campaign Targets Serbian Net Users
Internet users in Serbia reported a phishing email, attempting to extort from them. The attacker, in badly written Serbian, claimed to have gained access to the recipient’s device and recorded an intimate video of them. The attacker demanded a payment in Bitcoins not to release the video.
***We would like to invite you to help us build this newsletter in following months by sharing news and important information coming from your organizations. We want to include the important work that you all do as well. 

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