Freedom on the Net 2015 Report released

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Who: Freedom on the Net 2015 report
What: Released by Freedom House
When: 28 October 2015

Freedom House, a non-government watchdog, on 28 October 2015 released the Freedom on the Net 2015 report. The report was released on the theme-Privatizing Censorship, Eroding Privacy.

As per the annual report, global online freedom declined for a fifth consecutive year as governments, including some advanced democracies, continue to clamp down on dissidents using social media platforms on the internet.

With respect to India, the report found that freedom on the internet is partly free with a total score of 40 on a 0 to 100 scale with 0 representing the best level of freedom on the net progress and 100 the worst.

Key findings of the report

Top & Bottom 3 countries: While citizens of Iceland (score-6), Estonia (7) and Canada (16) enjoy the most freedom in the online space, in Syria (87), Iran (87) and China (88) the freedom is sparse

Decline in online freedom: Internet freedom around the world in decline for a fifth consecutive year as more governments censored information of public interest while also expanding surveillance and cracking down on privacy tools.

Content removals increased: Authorities in 42 of the 65 countries assessed required private companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing with political, religious, or social issues, up from 37 the previous year.

Arrests and intimidation escalated: Authorities in 40 of 65 countries imprisoned people for sharing information concerning politics, religion or society through digital networks.
Surveillance laws and technologies multiplied: Governments in 14 of 65 countries passed new laws to increase surveillance since June 2014 and many more upgraded their surveillance equipment.

Governments undermined encryption, anonymity: Democracies and authoritarian regimes alike stigmatized encryption as an instrument of terrorism, and many tried to ban or limit tools that protect privacy.

About the report

The report was prepared by Freedom House with the donations from Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. The 2015 ratings reflect the period 1 January 31 December 2014.