On Thursday, Freedom House released Freedom on the Net 2013, the organization’s fourth annual report examining access to ICTs, violations of user rights, limitations on online content, and policy developments that affect Internet openness. The report includes narrative profiles and Internet freedom “scores” for 60 countries around the world, with an emphasis on countries where Internet openness and user rights have historically been at risk. CDT provided comments and insight for the report’s United States profile.
In this year’s edition, Freedom House reports a decline in Internet freedom in 34 of the 60 nations profiled, due primarily to widespread government surveillance, new content controls, and repression of social-media users. The report specifically calls attention to deteriorating conditions in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Venezuela. China, Cuba, and Iran are at the bottom of the list for the second year in a row. Despite the overall drop in scores, the report highlights that Internet freedom activists are stepping up efforts to fight repressive laws and practices, and have had notable successes in a number of countries.