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Internet Freedoms Continue to Decline Amid Tech Crackdown

Freedom House releases an annual report on internet freedoms around the world, and this report has consistently shown a decline in freedom on the internet for over a decade. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this year is no different, since the crackdown that is being seen on big tech companies around the world by nation states has resulted in a shifting in power which consequentially causes a further decline in online freedoms and the like.

The study that led to this report involved an analysis of 70 countries that happen to represent the vast majority of internet users in the world or 88% to be precise. It turns out that 52 out of these 70 countries have taken legal action against people for the things that they said on online platforms, leading to arrests and even convictions.

21 out of these countries have gone so far as to block access to a number of sites. This usually occurs if there is unrest on a political scale because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up preventing people that are taking part in protests to organize in an efficient enough manner. What’s more is that these nation states often want to restrict access to information, something that the internet and many social media platforms are starting to make it exceedingly difficult for them to successfully accomplish.

The biggest target for government officials is Facebook with 42 instances of speech on the platform being targeted that have been noted in the report. Facebook is also a notorious source of misinformation which is an aspect of the platform that not all that many people are currently familiar with.

While a tech monopoly is not automatically going to be conducive to a free and fair internet, it should be noted that a lot of countries that have autocratic regimes might make things even worse for their citizens if they take power back from tech companies and the like. There is a massive grey area here that is often noted, and the frequency with which so many countries are cracking down on speech based on what they see on the internet is truly alarming if you think about it. This is going to result in an even wider range of problems down the line.


H/T: Axios

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