Threats to the Open Net: June 3, 2011

Every week, the OpenNet Initiative provides a weekly news roundup (dubbed "Threats to the Open Net") in addition to our usual in-depth blog posts. If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for our newsreel, our entire blog, or our weekly roundup, you may do so; you are also free to republish the feed on your own site, with attribution to the OpenNet Initiative.

* Syria shut down most of its Internet connections with the outside world this week as protests swelled. The Internet has been a highly contested space in the country since protests began earlier this spring; a report by Helmi Noman on pro-government hackers in the Middle East highlights the activities of the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that is actively targeting political opposition and Western websites.

* According to a North Korean defector who spoke at a cybersecurity conference in Seoul this week, North Korea has been preparing a cyber army by sending as many as 3000 computer programs abroad for training.

* The Chinese government is blocking search results for "Inner Mongolia" after protests broke out in the region. The protests were prompted when a truck driver ran over a shepherd; the truck driver and shepherd were of different ethnicities. Chinese instant messenger service QQ has been shut down in the region, and social networking site Renren is also preventing mention of the words "Inner Mongolia."