What you need to know
Freedom House has been rating the degree of Internet freedom from 2011. Iran has placed last in the last four reports, but this year China has surpassed Iran and is now the country that offers least freedom on the Net.
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Liberty Times reports, Freedom House, an international NGO issued a Freedom on the Net 2015 report on October 28. The report points out 32 out of the 65 countries that were evaluated have seen a drop in the freedom of the Internet since June last year. This is especially noticeable in the Middle East because increasingly more governments are repressing dissidents with electronic surveillance.
Storm Media reports, Freedom House has been rating the degree of Internet freedom from 2011. Iran has placed last in the last four reports, but this year China has surpassed Iran and is now the country that offers least freedom on the Net. According to statistics, 34.3% of Internet users over the world are in suppressed countries while 31% are in countries that offer complete freedom. China, the US and India have the most amount of Internet users, and freedom of the Net has a significant effect on the GDP of a country.
China Times reports, three main indicators of the report include Obstacles to access, Limit on content and Violations of user right. 65 countries (not including Taiwan) were evaluated, with 0 being best and 100 being worst. Results show China scored 88 and is the country that has least freedom on the Net.
Sound of Hope reports that the People’s Republic of China has the power to convict content that has more than 5,000 views or is shared by over 500 Internet users.
The report points out that 61% of the global population lives in countries that censor speech, including criticism of the government, military or the ruling family. 58% of the population lives in countries where people will be imprisoned if they discuss political, social or religious issues. More and more countries are implementing Internet censorship, deleting or blocking content authorities are discontent with. In addition, many governments are now pressuring online platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove content of the opposing side.
CNA reports, Sanja Kelly, project director of Freedom House, says, “Governments are increasingly physical pressures and the private sector to take down or remove offensive content, as opposed to relying on blocking and filtering.” “They know that average users become more technologically savvy and they are often able to circumvent the blocks imposed by the State,” she says.
Liberty Times reports, the survey finds that most blocked content is relevant to criticizing authorities and exposing scandals. The fall of Internet freedom is especially serious in the Middle East and North Africa, which reverses gains in the Arab Spring, a democracy movement launched through the Internet.
Freedom House calls on people from all industries to focus on relevant legislation and policies. For example, the French government asks Internet companies to hand over metadata, including the online communication time, source and target of Internet users. These requests violate the privacy of Internet users, and also goes over the proportional principal when combating terrorism.
Translated by Wen-yee Lee and Olivia Yang
Edited by Olivia Yang