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September 27, 2012

UK has poor record on internet freedom: report

Trailing behind the likes of Estonia and the Philippines when it comes to internet freedom

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK has been placed eighth in terms of internet freedom, which includes access to the internet and free expression, according to a new report. That places it behind countries like Estonia and the Philippines.

Washington-based NGO Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2012 report says that Estonia has the highest level of freedom on the internet, followed by the US and Germany.

The report revealed that the UK executed poorly in terms of restrictions on online activity, surveillance and privacy when compared to Estonia and the US.

Freedom House Freedom on the Net project director Sanja Kelly said the findings clearly show that threats to internet freedom are becoming more diverse.

"As authoritarian rulers see that blocked websites and high-profile arrests draw local and international condemnation, they are turning to murkier — but no less dangerous — methods for controlling online conversations," Kelly said.

Within the next few months, the Government will debate controversial surveillance proposals, which could see every Briton’s online activity and mobile phone use recorded. The proposals, part of the Communications Data Bill, have been dubbed a "snooper’s charter."

According to the report, eleven other countries including Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Thailand have attained Not Free ranking, while 20 of the total 47 countries monitored experienced low internet freedom since January 2011.

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Worldwide governments are reacting to the rise in influence of the new medium by seeking to control online activity, limiting the free flow of data and or infringing on user rights, the report said.

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