About us / Staff

Walid Al-Saqaf

Walid Al-Saqaf

PhD

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Contact information

Walid Al-Saqaf
Senior Lecturer
Alfred Nobels allé 7
Södertörns Högskola
Flemingsberg
Phone: +46 8 608 5197
ME 324 Moas Båge
Publications

Journal of Cyber Policy 2017, 2 (3): 338-354.

While much has already been written about blockchain applications and prospects in the FinTech industry, little research has been done to explore blockchain technology’s user-centric paradigm in enabling various applications beyond banking. This article is an effort to contribute to that body of scholarship by exploring blockchain technology’s potential applications, and their limits, in areas that intersect with social impact, including human rights. This article explores whether blockchain technology and its core operational principles – such as decentralisation, transparency, equality and accountability – could play a role in limiting undue online surveillance, censorship and human rights abuses that are facilitated by the increasing reliance on a few entities that control access to information online. By doing so, this article aims at initiating a scholarly curiosity to understand what is possible and what is to be concerned about when it comes to the potential impact of blockchain technology on society.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Nicolas Seidler

Walid Al-Saqaf

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2017

School/Centre

School of Social Sciences
Journalism

Research area for doctoral studies

Annat forskningsområde

In: Freedom of Expression and Media in Transition:. Gothenburg : Nordicom, 2016. 135-143.

Previous research has identified information control as one of the most common traits of authoritarian regimes. With the advent of the Internet, however, attempts the ability to maintain a total blackout of selected types of information, such as anti-regime messages, dissident videos, etc., has weakenedve weakened. This article uses Syria as a case study to illustrate that despite the country’s regime’s pervasive Internet censorship methods of blocking dozens of websites, access to those websites remained possible. This was due to the emergence of censorship circumvention tools, which the present author argues are a form of liberation technology.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Walid Al-Saqaf

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2016

School/Centre

-

-


Research area for doctoral studies

-

Media and Communication 2016, 4 (1): 39-50.

Studies have shown that authoritarian regimes tend to censor the media to limit potential threats to the status quo. While such censorship practices were traditionally aimed at broadcast and print media, the emergence of the Internet and social media in particular, prompted some authoritarian regimes, such as the Assad regime in Syria, to try and exert a similar level of censorship on the Internet as well. During the Arab Spring, the Syrian regime blocked hundreds of websites that provided social networking, news, and other services. Taking Syria as a case study, this paper examines whether Internet censorship succeeded in preventing Internet users from reaching censored online content during 2010−2012. By analyzing the use of Alkasir, a censorship circumvention tool created by the author, the paper provides empirical evidence demonstrating that users were in fact able to bypass censorship and access blocked websites. The findings demonstrate that censorship circumvention tools constituted a threat to the information control systems of authoritarian regimes, highlighting the potential of such tools to promote online freedom of expression in countries where Internet censorship is prevalent.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Walid Al-Saqaf

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2016

School/Centre

-

-


Research area for doctoral studies

-

This dissertation explores the role of Internet censorship and circumvention in the Arab world as well as Arabs’ views on the limits to free speech on the Internet.The project involves the creation of an Internet censorship circumvention tool named Alkasir that allows users to report and access certain types of censored websites. The study covers the Arab world at large with special focus on Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.This work is of interdisciplinary nature and draws on the disciplines of media and communication studies and computer science. It uses a pioneering experimental approach by placing Alkasir in the hands of willing users who automatically feed a server with data about usage patterns without storing any of their personal information.In addition to the analysis of Alkasir usage data, Web surveys were used to learn about any technical and nontechnical Internet censorship practices that Arab users and content producers may have been exposed to. The study also aims at learning about users’ experiences with circumvention tools and how such tools could be improved.The study found that users have successfully reported and accessed hundreds of censored social networking, news, dissident, multimedia and other websites. The survey results show that while most Arab informants disapprove censoring online anti-government political content, the majority support the censoring of other types of content such as pornography, hate speech, and anti-religion material.Most informants indicated that circumvention tools should be free of charge, fast and reliable. An increase in awareness among survey respondents of the need for privacy and anonymity features in circumvention solutions was observed.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Stig-Arne Nohrstedt

Walid Al-Saqaf

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2014

School/Centre

-

-


Research area for doctoral studies

-

In: Liberation technology. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. 124-138.

A book chapter describing how censorship patterns emerged in the Arab world during and just before the Arab Spring with some highlights of the early research done around censorship circumvention.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Walid Al-Saqaf

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2012

School/Centre

-

-


Research area for doctoral studies

Annat forskningsområde

Coauthor, Södertörn University

Year of publication

Type of publication

Type of content