Category Archives: Eurasia Desk

German Court Rules Facebook May Block Pseudonyms

By webdesk@voanews.com (Reuters) Facebook may prevent its users from using fake names, a German court said on Thursday, overturning a previous order from the Hamburg data protection authority.

The ruling is a coup for the social network firm which has long argued its real-name policy ensures people know who they are sharing and connecting with and protects them from the abuse of the wide-open Internet.

The Hamburg data protection authority, which is responsible for policing Facebook in Germany, said last July that Facebook could not unilaterally change users’ chosen usernames to their real names, nor could it ask them for official identification.

A woman had complained to the Hamburg watchdog after Facebook blocked her account for using a pseudonym, requested a copy of some identification and unilaterally changed her username to her real name.

Forcing users to stick to their real names violated their privacy rights, the watchdog said.

The Hamburg Administrative Court ruled Facebook did not have to implement the order for the time being since its European headquarters are in Ireland it should therefore only have to

abide by Irish law.

A spokesman for Facebook said it could not immediately provide comment.

In an audit in December 2011, the Irish privacy watchdog concluded Facebook’s authentic name policy did not contravene Irish law and its reasons for the policy, such as child safety and the prevention of online harassment, were justified.

Privacy remains a sensitive issue in Germany due to extensive surveillance by Communist East Germany’s Stasi secret police and by the Nazi era Gestapo. Memories of espionage were stirred anew by Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of prying by the U.S. state.

Via:: Voice of America

Коаліція знищила десятки ракетно-пускових установок ІДІЛ

Міжнародна коаліція, яка діє на чолі зі США в Іраку і Сирії проти терористичного угруповання “Ісламська держава”, впродовж минулої доби нанесла 29 ударів по терористах, знищивши живу силу, бойові позиції, техніку бойовиків, у тому числі кілька десятків ракетно-пускових установок.

Via:: Ukrinform

Australian Cardinal Admits Negligence, Vows to Help Abuse Victims

By webdesk@voanews.com (Sharee Devose) A top Vatican official vowed Thursday to work to better protect children in his Australian hometown acknowledging he failed to act on an allegation of clergy sexual abuse decades ago.

Pope Francis’ top financial adviser Cardinal George Pell met with victims of abuse who traveled from Australia to Rome to witness his four days of testimony delivered to Australia’s Royal Commission via satellite.

The commission is investigating how the Catholic Church, as well as other institutions, handled cases of sex abuse of children over a span of decades.

Pell was called to testify each night from around 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. about his time as a priest in Ballarat and an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne. The 74-year-old cardinal said that he was a junior priest at the time that an unnamed student at St. Patrick’s College reported that Christian Brothers teacher Edward Dowlan was “misbehaving with boys.”

Testimony to the Royal Commission revealed that members of the Christian Brothers religious order preyed on dozens of children who attended its schools, which operated from the 1960s into the 1980s.

When asked by commission chairman Peter McClellan how he responded to the 1974 allegation, Pell admitted: “I didn’t do anything about it.” He acknowledged that “evil was done” and that he should have done more.

Pell added that he eventually raised concerns over the allegation to the school chaplain. Dowlan was later removed from the school but went on to abuse schoolchildren elsewhere until 1985.

The cardinal denied that he angrily dismissed another schoolboy’s accusations against the same cleric and that he tried to bribe one victim to keep quiet.

After meeting with nearly a dozen survivors at a Rome hotel, Pell in a statement pledged to help his hometown of Ballarat – a heavily Catholic city of 100,000, in Victoria – to recover from the string of suicides amongst sex abuse victims, noting that even “one suicide is too many.”

“With the experience of 40 years later, certainly I would agree that I should have done more,” Pell said, later adding: “I commit myself to work with the group…so that suicide is not seen as an option for those who are suffering.”

Via:: Voice of America