An annual report tracking global Internet freedom has found that global Internet freedom has declined for the ninth year in a row,media reported. The report notes that more than half of the 65 countries assessed have seen a deterioration in Internet freedom. The annual report, Freedom on The Net, was published by House Freedom, a non-governmental organization that promotes democracy and civil rights.
Since 2009, the agency has been publishing an Internet Freedom Report every other year, and this year marks the tenth year. The report, which initially recorded only 15 countries, has since expanded to 65 in 2014 and remains to this day.
The report investigates three perspectives: access barriers, content restrictions, and violations of user rights. For the ninth year in a row, Internet freedom scores fell in most of the countries surveyed — 33 countries with an overall score of 100 points. Among the countries with lower scores were Iran (15 points), Vietnam (24 points), Egypt (26 points), Russia (31 points), turkey (37 points).
Brazil (64 points), Bangladesh (44 points) and Zimbabwe (42 points) have seen the biggest declines in the past year. Even the U.S. (77 points) has fallen as law enforcement has stepped up surveillance of social media platforms and electronic devices. This is the third year in a row that the report has found a decline in Internet freedom in the United States.
The report notes that the two biggest global factors contributing to the decline in Internet freedom are increased government surveillance of social media and election interference through digital media.
Social media monitoring is probably the biggest focus of the 2019 Internet Freedom Report. “The future of Internet freedom depends on our ability to fix social media,” Freedom House makes clear. “
“Because these are primarily American platforms, the United States must be a leader in transparency and accountability in the digital age,” said Adrian Shahbaz, director of technology and democracy research at House Freedom.