Saturday, October 12, 2013

Freedom House report -- "Freedom on the Net, 2013"

Freedom House publishes an annual report on Internet freedom and Freedom on the Net 2013 was published last week.


The report "headline" is an Internet freedom score for each of 60 nations. The score is based on:
  • Obstacles to Access—including infrastructural and economic barriers to access, legal and ownership control over internet service providers (ISPs), and independence of regulatory bodies;
  • Limits on Content—including legal regulations on content, technical filtering and blocking of websites, self-censorship, the vibrancy/diversity of online news media, and the use of ICTs for civic mobilization;
  • Violations of User Rights—including surveillance, privacy, and repercussions for online activity, such as imprisonment, extralegal harassment, or cyber attacks.
Here are the controls in effect in the top and bottom five scoring nations:


The USA rank will probably drop next year, reflecting the ongoing revelations of the extent of NSA Internet surveillance. (For the full list of national controls click here).

While the index is interesting, the meat of the report is in essays on the state of the Internet in the various nations. These are concise and well referenced. They focus on developments during the year, but are a good starting point to understanding the Internet in a nation.

The report also includes graphic presentations of the data, for example, an interactive map in which data is displayed when the cursor hovers over a nation: