Freedom House has written a report analyzing how the freedom of expression on the internet has developed over the past year.
This year’s findings indicate that restrictions on internet freedom in many countries have continued to grow, though the methods of control are slowly evolving, becoming more sophisticated and less visible. Brutal attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are among the diverse threats to internet freedom emerging over the past two years. Nevertheless, several notable victories have also occurred as a result of greater activism by civil society, technology companies, and independent courts, illustrating that efforts to advance internet freedom can yield results.
The report is worth digging into. Mostly, the trend is negative in countries where we might expect it, but as the summary above explains, governments are getting ever smarter about how they can enforce restrictions. It’s also worrying that countries such as India or South Korea are among those where expression is increasingly restricted.
Even in the West, it is important that there are people keeping a close eye on our legislators. Otherwise the patchwork of regulation will grow more potent.