Wednesday, October 9, 2013

U.S. Ranks Fourth in Internet Freedom as Surveillance Grows Worldwide

Network World (10/04/13) Colin Neagle 

Although U.S. Internet freedom has decreased over the past year due to surveillance, the United States still ranks fourth in a recent Freedom House study of 60 countries. The study measured obstacles to accessing information online, content limitations, and violations of user rights. In addition, the study cites issues such as government blocking of specific Internet content, surveillance measures, and actions taken against online dissidents to governing or religious bodies. Iceland claimed the top spot on the list as the most free nation on the Internet, followed by Estonia, Germany, and the United States. The remaining top 10 included Australia, France, Japan, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Surveillance has grown more advanced and pervasive in 35 out of the 60 countries examined, according to the study. The most restrictive countries were Iran, China, and Cuba. However, the study notes 16 countries, including Morocco, Burma, and Tunisia, that have increased Internet freedom. Meanwhile, Freedom House says India showed the biggest drop in Internet freedom over the past year. Freedom House said the drop was due to "deliberate interruptions of mobile and Internet service to limit unrest, excessive blocks on content during rioting in northeastern states, and an uptick in the filing of criminal charges against ordinary users for posts on social-media sites."