Bad news, Freedom House, a Washington-based independent research group, shows that Internet freedom diminished in the world for eight years in a row. Interestingly, three post-Soviet countries (Estonia and Georgia) made it into the top ten. Unfortunately, governments around the world, no matter if it is a democracy or dictatorship, are increasingly using technology as a tool for manipulating elections or their citizen’s beliefs.
Since 2018, Internet freedom has diminished in 60% of all countries in the world.
Authorities of More than 40 countries have developed sophisticated social network monitoring algorithms that identify user relationships and analyze their messages. Most of them do that to ban free porn videos or other corrosive to mind content. We know that China uses this collected data in its social credit system. Did you already imagine a dystopian world from the “black mirror” episode? Every year we are getting closer to it. As you probably guessed, China is ranked as the worst violator of Internet Freedom for the fourth year in a row. It looks like it will remain in the first place for a long time with all the protests going in Hong Kong for the anniversary of Tiananmen Square’s repercussions.
Iceland is the top-ranking leader of Internet Freedom in the whole world with solid protection for Internet users and no prosecutions in relation to online publications since June 2018. European countries usually rank very good compared to countries from other continents.
The highest deterioration rates of Internet freedom were seen in Egypt, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Venezuela. Most of it was related to banning porn videos and other adult content.
China exports its digital dictatorship technologies to the rest of the world.
China provided training and workshops for 36 of the 65 countries analyzed by Freedom House research.
The United States is also experiencing a decline in internet freedom.
With revoked “internet neutrality, “rules require service providers to treat all data streams over the Internet equally, regardless of their origin, destination, or nature. The modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, including Section 702, were upheld by Congress. This is a severe blow to civil rights and privacy advocates and prevents the possibility of reforming Internet surveillance capabilities. Even though the Internet is vibrant, diverse, and accessible in the United States, misinformation and polarizing information remain serious concerns.
Usual justifications are “fake news.” More than two dozen countries have passed or proposed legislation to restrict online and offline media activities. Reports indicate that 13 countries have brought criminal charges against citizens for allegedly spreading false information. Even a world-renowned country like Singapore used this tactic to silence some of its journalists.
Authorities want to keep control of your personal data. Since 2017 countries have strengthened oversight by avoiding independent regulations and weakening encryption to gain unlimited access to user data. At least 15 countries have updated their data privacy laws in the past year. This includes failed attempts to protect citizens by requesting that their data be held locally and not establishing safeguards against government meddling.