Freedom House: Internet freedom declines for 7th consecutive year

Freedom House has published Freedom on the Net 2017, which asses Internet freedom in 65 countries. The report identifies a number of key trends in Internet freedom in 2017: manipulation of social media to undermine democracy; shutdowns of mobile Internet services; government restrictions on live video; cyberattacks against journalists, opposition and human rights defenders; new restrictions on VPNs; and physical attacks against online journalists. These developments have led to the overall decline in Internet freedom for the 7th consecutive year. The use of social media to ‘advance an anti-democratic agenda’ has brought new challenges, as it is ‘more difficult to combat than other types of censorship…because it’s dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it,’ says Sanja Kelly, director of the project.