coco fusco on Sat, 10 Jan 2004 06:19:17 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Cuba Tightens Its Control Over Internet

The extent to which measures such as the one described
below can actually be enforced is extremely difficult
to ascertain, since those who obtain internet service
"illegally" in Cuba do so with the technical support
of the same people who are officially charged with
controlling their access. But what measures such as
these can do is generate a context in which it is much
easier to selectively penalize those who government
officials seek to harass for whatever reason they

Coco Fusco

Cuba Tightens Its Control Over Internet
By ANITA SNOW, Associated Press Writer

HAVANA - Cuba tightened its controls over the Internet
on Friday, prohibiting access over the low-cost
government phone service most ordinary citizens have
at home. 

The move could affect hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
Cubans who illegally access the Internet from their
homes, using computers and Internet accounts they have
borrowed or purchased on the black market.

Cuba's communist government already heavily controls
access to the Internet. Cubans must have government
permission to use the Web legally and most don't,
although many can access international e-mail and a
more limited government-controlled intranet at
government jobs and schools.

Now Cubans will need additional approval to access via
the nation's regular phone service. Since few Cubans
are authorized to use the Internet from home  only
some doctors and key government officials  the new
law amounts to a crackdown on illegal users.

The law states that the move is necessary to "regulate
dial-up access to Internet navigation service,
adopting measures that help protect against the taking
of passwords, malicious acts, and the fraudulent and
unauthorized use of this service."

As for foreign firms and individuals, most are
authorized to use the Internet in Cuba, usually via a
more expensive telephone service charged in American
dollars and already off limits to most Cubans.

E-net, the Internet service of the Cuban telephone
company Etecsa, told customers in a letter Friday the
new law would take effect late Saturday. It affects
all other Internet service providers in Cuba as well.

E-net is the largest of a handful of Internet
providers in Cuba  all of them heavily monitored and
controlled by the government.

E-net customers who do not have the dollar phone
service can keep accessing the Internet with the
ordinary phone service with special cards sold at
Etecsa offices, the letter says. 

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