Feeds

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

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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 Outdated laws require case-by-case clearance by high-level officials for wiretaps, for example, but are insufficient to regulate a system capable of mass location-based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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.