Freedom on the Net


For those who may not have read it yet, Freedom House’s publication entitled Freedom on the Net: a Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media and published in April 2009, provides a very valuable assessment of the balance of interests in the spread of the Internet and mobile telephony across the world.

As Freedom House’s blurb says, “As internet and mobile phone use explodes worldwide, governments are adopting new and multiple means for controlling these technologies that go far beyond technical filtering. Freedom on the Net provides a comprehensive look at these emerging tactics, raising concern over trends such as the “outsourcing of censorship” to private companies, the use of surveillance and the manipulation of online conversations by undercover agents. The study covers both repressive countries such as China and Iran and democratic ones such as India and the United Kingdom, finding some degree of internet censorship and control in all 15 nations studied.”

The overview essay by Karin Deutsch Karlekar and Sarah G. Cook argues that there is a growing diversity of threats to internet freedom and that governments have responded to the spread of new media by introducing new measures to control, regulate and censor content.  As they conclude “In a fast-changing digital world, vigilance is required if we are to ensure continued freedom on the net.”

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Filed under Ethics, ICT4D general

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