India tops Internet shutdown chart for its users across world

Frederick Owens
November 3, 2018

The report goes on to stress that the US should reintroduce the Global Online Freedom Act, which would give the Secretary of State the power to label and penalize countries that engage in restrictions against online freedom. Of the 65 countries assessed, 26 experienced a drop in online freedom, with nearly half of all declines relating to elections.

The 65 countries represent 87 percent of the world's internet users, the group said.

But rather than wait for others to follow, Xi has actively been pushing his intense level of "digital authoritarianism" on the world, the report found. Much of the problems came from election related issues. And Chinese foreign investment and influence efforts are not new.

Chinese companies have reportedly installed internet and mobile network equipment in at least 38 countries. Observing that the Supreme Court judgment on fundamental right to privacy in August 2017 was a victory for internet freedom, the report said it has been "plagued by security breaches".

Out of the 65 countries assessed, 26 are said to have experienced a deterioration.

Less than a year earlier, Moscow imposed restrictions on virtual private networks (VPNs) in an effort to block users from accessing banned sites hosted overseas.

It is not always clear what transpires during such seminars, according to Freedom House, as it underscored that months after Beijing hosted a training for Vietnamese officials in April 2017, Hanoi introduced a cybersecurity law that closely mimics China's own law.

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It cites Kazakhstan, where media portals Ratel and Forbes.kz faced criminal charges for disseminating "false information" after a former minister who is now a businessman, Zeinolla Kakimzhanov, filed a complaint over stories that accused him of involvement in corruption.

"The coverage period saw fewer reports of violence in reprisal for online speech, although there was a resurgence in a disturbing trend of unknown actors manipulating Facebook posts to instigate attacks on religious minorities", the report said.

"Of course, there are tradeoffs between freedom and security", says The Verge. By this logic, authoritarianism becomes unsustainable once the barriers to the free flow of information are removed.

Internet as means that people use to express themselves and share ideas should be regulated but not stifled because it is a means to advocate for political, social, and economic reform.

That rating released research organization Freedom House.

The House is now criticizing the United States for doing so.

The Magnitsky Act, originally passed in 2012, imposed visa and asset bans and asset freezes on Russians thought to have been involved in the death of whistle-blowing accountant Magnitsky and was expanded in 2016 to apply more globally.

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