New information reaching us shows that internet freedom around the world has fallen consecutively for eight years. Moreover, digital authoritarianism is seen to be on the rise because governments are cracking down on online freedom. This is also very much applicable to the United States of America.
The reason for the fall of internet freedom in the US has been attributed largely to the repeal of net neutrality laws. This information emanates from Freedom House.
65 countries were assessed. However, 26 experienced a drop in online freedom. Much of the problems came from election related issues. There were those who used paid commentators, bots and trolls to try manipulating online conversations. Furthermore, almost a third of the countries passed or proposed new legislations to restrict online media. According to these sources, they are fighting “fake news.”
In addition, 18 governments increased surveillance in a bid to strive to weaken encryption to gain unfettered access to data.
The worst case scenario comes from China. That country used many means to cripple internet freedom in 2018. Furthermore, Chinese officials help to train other country officials how to make use of digital authoritarianism by holding seminars with reps from 36 out of the 65 countries reviewed. The findings are not palatable for the future.
In Armenia, social media, apps, and also live streaming services assisted in enabling peaceful revolutions in 2018. Also, Ethiopia received thumbs up because a new prime minister is bold enough to release jailed bloggers from prison. The prime minister also promised to ease restrictions on online communications.
What is Internet Freedom?
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) works to advance the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms online through a diverse set of internet freedom policy and programming activities.
Internet as means that people use to express themselves and share ideas should be regulated but not stifled because it is a means to advocate for political, social, and economic reform.
The Global Internet Freedom Consortium is determined to the big names in repressive internet censorship. The consortium includes a few leading companies and grassroots bodies formed to raise the bar of internet freedom.