“ Shou Ji Shi Ming Zhi Jin Qi Shi Shi, Gou Ka Xu Chi Shen Fen Zheng” [Mobile phone real name system implemented today, SIM card purchasers have to present their ID documents], News 163, October 1, 2010, http://news.163.com/10/0901/00/6FF3HKF8000146BD.html (in Chinese).
Yeh Feng and Ji Ming, “Shanghai Yi Dong: Shou Ji Fa Song Huang Se Duan Xin Yi Jing Fa Xian Jiang Ting Zhi Duan Xin Gong Neng” [China Mobile Shanghai Branch: Mobile Phone’s Text Messaging Function Will be Suspended If Users Found Sending Vulgar Messages], Xinhua News, January 18, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2010-01/18/content_12833023.htm (in Chinese); Sharon Lafraniere, “Text Messages in China to Be Scanned for ‘Illegal Content,’” New York Times, January 19, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/technology/20text.html; People.Com http://ccnews.people.com.cn/GB/10793560.html ; Sina debate on real name registration, http://tech.sina.com.cn/focus/NetID_2005/index.shtml; http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5150374,00.html;
“Gong An Bu Jiang Jia Qiang Wei Bo QQ Qun Jian Kong Ying Dui Xing Mei Ti Ying Xiang” [New Media Faces Consequences of Increasing Control of Microblogging and QQ by the Ministry of Public Security], Wu Han Evening News, January 6, 2010, http://china.huanqiu.com/roll/2010-01/680180.html (in Chinese).
CHINA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net to 10 years in prison for attempting to organize a political party—private instant-messaging conversations or text messages have been directly cited in court documents.China has emerged as a key global source of cyberattacks. Although not all attacks originating in the country have been explicitly traced back to the government, their scale, organization, and targets have led many experts to believe that they are either sponsored or condoned by Chinese military and intelligence agencies. The assaults have included denialof-service attacks on domestic and overseas groups that report on human rights abuses, such as Human Rights in China, Aizhixing, Boxun, Falun Gong websites, ChinaAid, and Chinese Human Rights Defenders.116 Another notable target was the July 2009 Melbourne Film Festival, which showed a film about Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer. Some attacks have taken the form of e-mail messages to foreign correspondents and activists that carry malicious software capable of spying on the recipient’s computer.117 There have also been large-scale hacking attacks designed to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists and other information hosted by over 30 financial, defense, and technology companies, mostly based in the United States.118 Extensive cyberespionage networks have been detected extending to 103 countries in an effort to spy on the Tibetan government-in-exile and its contacts, including Indian government facilities and foreign embassies. The verdict against Guo Quan is available in English on the Dui Hua Foundation website at http://www.duihua.org/work/verdicts/verdict_Guo%20Quan_en.htm.
Maggie Shiels, “Security Experts Say Google Cyber-Attack Was Routine,” BBC, January 14, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8458150.stm; Gutmann, “Hacker Nation;” Persecution.org, “ChinaAid Websites Collapse Under Repeated Malicious Cyber Attacks,” December 2, 2010, http://www.persecution.org/2010/12/02/chinaaidwebsites-collapse-under-repeated-malicious-cyber-attacks/.
Andrew Jacobs, “Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China,” New York Times, March 30, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/world/asia/31china.html; Andrew Jacobs, “I Was Hacked in Beijing,” New York Times, April 9, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/weekinreview/11jacobs.html.
Andrew Jacobs and Miguel Helft, “Google, Citing Attack, Threatens to Exit China,” New York Times, January 12, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/world/asia/13beijing.html; Ariana Eunjung Cha and Ellen Nakashima, “Google China Cyberattack Part of Vast Espionage Campaign, Experts Say,” Washington Post, January 14, 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011300359.html.
Information Warfare Monitor and Shadowserver Foundation, “Shadows in the Cloud: Investigating Cyber Espionage 2.0,” April 6, 2010, http://www.scribd.com/doc/29435784/SHADOWS-IN-THE-CLOUD-Investigating-Cyber-Espionage-2-0;
Information Warfare Monitor, “Tracking Ghostnet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network,” March 29, 2009, http://www.scribd.com/doc/13731776/Tracking-GhostNet-Investigating-a-Cyber-Espionage-Network.
CHINA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net CUBA 2009 POPULATION: 11.3 million INTERNET FREEDOM Not Not INTERNET PENETRATION: 1 percent STATUS Free Free WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS BLOCKED: Yes Obstacles to Access 25 SUBSTANTIAL POLITICAL CENSORSHIP: Yes Limits on Content 30 BLOGGERS/ONLINE USERS ARRESTED: Yes Violations of User Rights 33 PRESS FREEDOM STATUS: Not Free Total 88 INTRODUCTION Despite a slight loosening of restrictions on the sale of computers in 2008 and the important growth of mobile-phone infrastructure in 2009 and 2010, Cuba remains one of the world’s most repressive environments for the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs). There is almost no access to internet applications other than e-mail, and surveillance is extensive, including special software designed to monitor and control many of the island’s public internet-access points.1 Nevertheless, a growing community of bloggers has consolidated their work, creatively using online and offline means to express opinions and spread information about conditions in the country.
Cuba was connected to the internet for the first time in 1996, and the National Center for Automated Interchange of Information (CENIAI), the country’s first internetservice provider (ISP), was established that year. However, the executive authorities continue to control the legal and institutional structures that decide who has access to the internet and how much access will be permitted.OBSTACLES TO ACCESS According to the last official report on the website of the National Statistics Office, there “Prestaciones efectivas para redes informticas” [Effective Features for Computer Networks], Radio Surco, April 11, 2009, http://www.radiosurco.icrt.cu/Ciencia.phpid=415; Danny O’Brien, “The Malware Lockdown in Havana and Hanoi,”CPJ Blog, June 8, 2010, http://cpj.org/blog/2010/06/the-malware-lockdown-in-havana-and-hanoi.php.
Ben Corbett, This Is Cuba: An Outlaw Culture Survives (Cambridge, MA: Westview Press, 2002), 145.
CUBA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net were 1.6 million internet users in Cuba in 2009, representing 14.2 percent of the population.3 However, only 2.9 percent of Cubans access the internet regularly and 5.percent routinely use email. Most internet users are only able to connect to a government intranet rather than the internet proper. Some sources estimate that only 200,000 residents have access to the world wide web.Most individuals who are able to access internet face extremely slow connections, making the use of multimedia applications nearly impossible. In January 2010, the government announced that it had expanded the national bandwidth and achieved a percent increase in international connectivity. According to official data, Cuba now has speeds of 209 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading and 379 Mbps for uploading. However, these high-speed connections are not available to regular users and officials also noted that the government’s plans did not include fostering private use of the internet.
Cuba continues to blame the U.S. embargo for its connectivity problems, saying it must use a slow, costly satellite connection system and is limited in the space it can buy. But in 2009, in a move that eased some aspects of Washington’s prolonged sanctions on trade with Cuba, President Barack Obama allowed U.S. telecommunications firms to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunication facilities linking the United States and Cuba and to enter into roaming agreements with Cuban providers.Cuba’s leaders reiterated their demand for a complete end to the embargo, and official media ignored this important change in the U.S. legal framework. The bilateral relationship was affected by another incident in 2009 that touched directly on the lack of open internet access in Cuba. On December 4, the Cuban authorities arrested an American independent contractor, Alan Gross, who was in the country to set up individual satellite-based internet connections as part of a U.S. government–funded project.
The Cuban government maintains tight control over the sale and distribution of internet-related equipment. The sale of modems was banned in 2001, and the sale of computers and computer accessories to the public was banned in 2002. This policy changed in early 2008, when the government began allowing Cubans to buy personal computers, and individuals can now legally connect to an ISP with a government permit. However, this permit is granted only to certain people, mostly Cuban officials or “trusted journalists.” High costs also put internet access beyond the reach of most of the population. A simple National Statistics Office, Republic of Cuba, Tecnologas de la Informacin y las Comunicaciones en Cifras: Cuba 2009 [Information and Communication Technologies in Figures: Cuba 2009] (Havana: National Statistics Office, May 2010), http://www.one.cu/ticencifras2009.htm.
Ray Sanchez, “Cuba Cutting Internet Access,” Sun Sentinel, May 7, 2009, http://www.sunsentinel.com/news/nationworld/sfl-cuba-internet-cutoff-050709,0,4376220.story; Reporters Without Borders, http://www,rsf.irg/article.php3!id_article26096.
Amaury E. del Valle, “Cuba, la red sigue creciendo” [Cuba, the Network Continues to Grow], Juventud Rebelde, January 6, 2010, http://www.juventudrebelde.cu/suplementos/informatica/2010-01-06/cuba-la-red-sigue-creciendo/.
“Fact Sheet: Reaching Out to the Cuban People,” The White House: Office of the Press Secretary, April 13, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Fact-Sheet-Reaching-out-to-the-Cuban-people.
CUBA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net computer with a monitor averages around 722 convertible pesos (US$780) in retail outlets, or at least 550 convertible pesos (US$594) on the black market.7 By comparison, the average monthly Cuban salary is approximately 16 convertible pesos (US$17).8 Computers are generally distributed by the state-run Copextel Corporation, which imports ICT equipment. Approximately 31 percent of Cubans report having access to a computer, but percent of those said that the computers were located at work or school.9 An internet connection in a hotel costs between 6 and 12 convertible pesos per hour.
Cuba still has the lowest mobile-phone penetration rate in Latin America, but the number is rising fast. There were 443,000 active mobile-phone subscriptions in 2009, a huge increase since 2004 when that figure was approximately 75,400.10 In part because family members frequently share a mobile phone, it is estimated that the total number of users currently exceeds one million.11 The government eased restrictions on mobile-phone purchases in March 2008, and reduced the sign-up fee by more than half, though it still represents three months’ wages for the average worker.
In another step to increase affordability, the state-owned telecommunications firm ETECSA announced a series of rate modifications in April 2010.12 Per-minute rates for calls on prepaid accounts will be reduced from 0.65 convertible pesos to 0.45 convertible pesos, except for 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., when a 0.10 convertible peso rate will apply. Also, international long-distance rates will fall, for both mobile and fixed-line accounts, by between 42 and 75 percent. Calls to the Western Hemisphere will now cost 1.convertible pesos per minute, except for the United States (1.85) and Venezuela (1.40), and calls to the rest of the world will be 1.80 per minute.13 In addition, a scheme will be introduced whereby either the caller or the call recipient will be able to indicate that they will pay the entire charge for a call. Ordinarily, both parties to a call pay 0.45 convertible pesos per minute, but under the new scheme, the party taking on the whole charge will pay 0.60 convertible pesos per minute.
Activation fees for new accounts have fallen from 120 to 60 to 40 convertible pesos.
Cuba has roaming agreements with 306 carriers in 128 countries, and 2.2 million people “Cubans Queue for Computers as PC Ban Lifted, But Web Still Outlawed,” Irish Examiner, May 5, 2008.
“Mobile Phone Use Booms in Cuba Following Easing of Restrictions,” Agence France-Presse, April 24, 2008.
9 National Statistics Office, Republic of Cuba, Tecnologas de la Informacin y las Comunicaciones en Cifras: Cuba 2009 [Information and Communication Technologies in Figures: Cuba 2009] There were 327,000 subscriptions in 2007. International Telecommunications Union (ITU), “ICT Statistics 2009—Mobile Cellular Subscriptions,” http://www.itu.int/ITUD/icteye/Reporting/ShowReportFrame.aspxReportName=/WTI/CellularSubscribersPublic&ReportFormat=HTML4.0&RP_ intYear=2009&RP_intLanguageID=1&RP_bitLiveData=False.
“ETESCA mobile phone users cross million mark,” cubastandard.com, July 14, http://www.cubastandard.com/2010/07/14/etecsa-mobile-phone-users-cross-million-mark.
The website of ETECSA, or Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA, can be found at http://www.enet.cu.
Amaury E. del Valle, “Rebajarn tarifas para llamadas de telefona mvil en Cuba” [Prices for Mobile Telephone Calls Will Fall in Cuba], Juventud Rebelde, April 21, 2010, http://www.juventudrebelde.cu/suplementos/informatica/2010-04-21/rebajarantarifas-para-llamadas-de-telefonia-movil-en-cuba/.
CUBA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net used those services in Cuba in 2010.14 The island’s mobile network already covers percent of Cuban territory, and further expansions are planned.15 Most mobile phones do not include internet connections, but it is possible to send and receive international text messages and photographs with certain phones.