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Cyber-police and Firewalls to Control Cuban Internet / 14ymedio, Orlando
Posted on February 19, 2015

14ymedio, Orlando Palma, Havana, February 15 2015 – Only a few weeks
after Barack Obama’s decision to allow American telecommunications
companies to offer their services on the Island, Raúl Castro’s
government is making it clear that the virtual world will not exist
without limits. Lately, official spokespersons have taken on the task of
explaining to the general public that low connectivity in the country is
not due to a government decisions, and this seems to be the purpose of
the First National Computerization and Cyber Security Workshop, which is
scheduled to take place on the 18, 19, and 20 of February.

According to the official newspaper Granma, more than 11,000 Cuban
computer scientists will participate in the event, “the majority
connected through videoconferences.” The quote is directed to sketch out
a countrywide regulatory cyber-police in a moment in which pressures for
full access to the web have gained force. Alternative phenomena, like
the distribution of audiovisual material in the so-called “combos or
packages” (flash memories containing foreign TV shows, etc.), have also
been pushing authorities from the Ministry of Communication to make
decisions in this respect.

On February 19 and 20, around “260 specialists will share their opinions
in commissions centered on four fundamental topics,” noted the Communist
Party’s official media. The agenda includes “the human and scientific
resources available in the country, electronic governance, cyber
security, and economy and legality.” Throughout the Island, 21
headquarters will be made available for users interested in taking part
in the debate and accessing the discussions. By visiting the website
www.mincom.gob.cu, they will be able to share opinions and ask questions
about the topics discussed, announced Ailyn Febles Estrada, Vice Dean of
the University of Information Sciences of Cuba (UCI), on the web portal

One of the most unique results of the event lies in the development of a
new social organization that will group together the country’s ICTs
(Information and Communications Technologies) professionals, into which
recent graduates from diverse backgrounds like Information Technology,
Computer Science, and Telecommunications could be incorporated. It is a
clear attempt to centralize Cubans who have ICT knowledge, many of whom
provide services in the private sector repairing computers and

The words cyber-security in the title of this article have also set off
some alarms, since in recent years the government has augmented its
ideological combat on the Internet. The implementation of a
Chinese-style model, with a potent cyber-police and extensive firewalls
aimed at censuring content and filtering sites, is being outlined as a
priority for Cuban authorities.

The announcement of this workshop is added to the recent promise made by
directives of Cuba’s Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) that 136 new
“internet cafés” will be opened in the year’s first trimester. The
majority of them will be found in the Joven Clubs de Computación (Youth
Clubs for Computing), where users will pay for connection time in Cuban
Pesos. On the close of 2014, 155 collective Internet cafés operated
throughout the country, with a total of 573 available computers offering
web access, a service that must be paid in Convertible Pesos.

According to the recently published report Freedom on the Net 2014,
which analyzed 65 countries between May 2013 and May 2014, Cuba is the
only country in Latin America designated “not free” in regards to
Internet access. The study points out the limitations in accessing the
world-wide-web as well as the censorship of certain webpages and the
high prices for connecting from public places.

Translated by Fernando Fornis

Source: Cyber-police and Firewalls to Control Cuban Internet / 14ymedio,
Orlando Palma | Translating Cuba –

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