Feeds

Block, censor, ban: India the biggest loser in online freedom stakes

Freedom House report has bad news for world's largest demoracy

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

India has recorded the biggest year-on-year decline in online freedom of any country, with the US firmly planted in the chasing pack, according to not-for-profit Freedom House’s latest annual Freedom on the Net report.

As the name suggests, the report examines trends in internet freedom in 60 countries across the globe, with each assessed and scored in three overall areas: “obstacles to access”, “limits on content”, and “violation of user rights”.

The world’s most populous democracy recorded a “significant” downward trajectory of eight points, with the US, Venezuela and Brazil dropping 5 points.

India is still ranked as “partly free”, compared to Asian countries like China, Pakistan and Vietnam which are described as “not free”, but now sits just one point above Rwanda in the overall rankings and a point behind Cambodia.

However, it was criticised over the year for “deliberate interruptions of mobile and internet service to limit unrest, excessive blocks on content during rioting in north-eastern states, and an uptick in the filing of criminal charges against ordinary users for posts on social media sites”.

On the latter, the report points out that at least 11 users were charged under the “IT Act” for posting or liking posts on Facebook, because they were deemed “annoying, offensive or menacing”.

Freedom House also expressed concern at the lack of transparency surrounding the controversial Central Monitoring System:

The system’s potential for abuse – already widely documented under the existing surveillance regime – is also disquieting as is its inadequate legal framework. Outdated laws require case-by-case clearance by high-level officials for wiretaps, for example, but are insufficient to regulate a system capable of mass location-based cellphone monitoring.

The report also criticises “misguided court orders” which have resulted in harsh content blocks – for example in February this year when over 100 web sites became inaccessible.

For the record, Asia as a whole is not doing too well according to Freedom House, with only Japan and the Philippines rated as “free”.

Despite the “significant” decline in the ranking of the United States thanks to the NSA surveillance revelations, it still remains a “free” country and in joint third in the report, with Australia in fifth place and the UK in tenth. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.