Here’s some bad news: Internet freedom worldwide is in decline. That’s according to Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2013 report, which found that 34 out of 60 countries studied saw Internet freedoms decline between May 2012 and April 2013.
But there’s also good news: According to a new PEW study, the majority of people in emerging countries believe that Internet freedom is an important issue.
The situation in Turkey is a perfect example of this dichotomy. Prime Minister Erdogan’s blocking of Twitter illustrates the deterioration of Internet freedoms. But the pushback by the people, and the skyrocketing numbers of tweets by users who were easily able to get around the block, are refreshing examples of the fact that despite restrictive governments, people are psyched for freedom and the technology that helps enable it.
Of course, now Turkey has clamped down even more, as it appears Twitter users there can no longer shoot off their 140 characters without the help of a VPN or the TOR network. (This might be a good time for the Turkish people to use their 7-day free trial to Freedome.)
At F-Secure, we’re completely stoked to see technology being used to advance freedom and democracy. We have no tolerance for government censorship. We’re proud to have created tools that people can use to fight for not just their Internet freedom, but their political freedom as well.
As Turkish blogger and political scientist Binnaz Saktanber put it in a recent article, “Recent history around the world and in Turkey shows that social media is a serious threat to autocrats. Ancient censorship mechanisms, archaic politics and Orwellian threats do not work in the face of technological dissent and the voice of the streets.”
In most of the countries polled for the PEW study, young people were especially likely to consider Internet freedom a priority. That bodes well for the future – as the report says, support for Internet freedom will only become more widespread with the passage of time.
Image courtesy Keoni Cabral, flickr.com. Modified.
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