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Freedom Trends and Assumptions


  Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges
              George W. Bush Institut...
FREEDOM TRENDS AND ASSUMPTIONS

• Post-Cold War period brings greater freedom


• Open, democratic standards dominant


• ...
TESTING THE ASSUMPTIONS

• Economic Growth = Greater Freedom


• Globalization = Greater Freedom


• Internet = Greater Fr...
NEW ASSUMPTIONS

• Controlling everything is neither
  essential, nor desirable


• Censorship can be “commercialized”


•...
NET FREEDOM:
A Global Assessment of Internet
      and Digital Media

 Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges
 ...
What is Net Freedom?

• What techniques are used to
  control and censor online
  content?

• What are the main threats to...
HOW DO WE MEASURE NET FREEDOM


• Obstacles to Access


• Limits on Content


• Violations of User Rights
WHAT WE FOUND:
MORE NET FREEDOM THAN PRESS FREEDOM

• Every country
  except the UK
  scored better on
  FOTN than
  Freedom of the
  Pre...
GROWING CIVIC ACTIVISM
Bloggers and other internet
users are using digital media
in creative ways to mobilize:

• Facebook...
BUT ALSO…GROWING THREATS

• Conditions deteriorated
  in many countries over
  the review period.

• 11 of the 15 countrie...
LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS AND VIOLENCE
• Legal repercussions:
  – Use of general media legislation
    against online activities...
RESTRICTING ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS
 • Seven of the 15 countries
   studied had blocked „Web 2.0‟
   applic...
CENSORSHIP
• Some censorship in
  every country studied,
  though not always
  political/social content.

• Wide range of ...
WHAT CENSORSHIP LOOKS LIKE
We compared the results from three
searches using Google, a top search
engine in the U.S. with ...
FREEDOM HOUSE
FALUNDAFA
TIANANMEN SQUARE
GOING THE DISTANCE FOR ACCESS
Would you travel over 600 miles just to check your email?




Residents in the Xinjiang prov...
RECOMMENDATIONS
• Foresight and creativity needed from
  democratic countries to establish policies
  to protect free expr...
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports the
expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom Hou...
Freedom Trends and Assumptions - A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media
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Freedom Trends and Assumptions - A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media

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Freedom Trends and Assumptions
Net Freedom: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media

Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges
George W. Bush Institute, Dallas, Texas
April 19, 2010

Published in: News & Politics
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Freedom Trends and Assumptions - A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media

  1. 1. Freedom Trends and Assumptions Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges George W. Bush Institute Dallas, Texas April 19, 2010
  2. 2. FREEDOM TRENDS AND ASSUMPTIONS • Post-Cold War period brings greater freedom • Open, democratic standards dominant • Onset of “Freedom Recession”
  3. 3. TESTING THE ASSUMPTIONS • Economic Growth = Greater Freedom • Globalization = Greater Freedom • Internet = Greater Freedom
  4. 4. NEW ASSUMPTIONS • Controlling everything is neither essential, nor desirable • Censorship can be “commercialized” • Authoritarianism 2.0 and the Internet
  5. 5. NET FREEDOM: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges George W. Bush Institute Dallas, Texas April 19, 2010
  6. 6. What is Net Freedom? • What techniques are used to control and censor online content? • What are the main threats to internet and digital media freedom? • What are the positive trends and uses of these technologies?
  7. 7. HOW DO WE MEASURE NET FREEDOM • Obstacles to Access • Limits on Content • Violations of User Rights
  8. 8. WHAT WE FOUND:
  9. 9. MORE NET FREEDOM THAN PRESS FREEDOM • Every country except the UK scored better on FOTN than Freedom of the Press • Differences most noticeable in partially free countries.
  10. 10. GROWING CIVIC ACTIVISM Bloggers and other internet users are using digital media in creative ways to mobilize: • Facebook activists in Egypt • Use of Twitter for political change in Moldova • Text messages report election violence in Kenya • “Sneakernets” in Cuba
  11. 11. BUT ALSO…GROWING THREATS • Conditions deteriorated in many countries over the review period. • 11 of the 15 countries censored some political content. • Six of the 15 countries sentenced a blogger or online journalist to prison. • Five introduced new internet-restricting legislation.
  12. 12. LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS AND VIOLENCE • Legal repercussions: – Use of general media legislation against online activities as well as development of internet- specific legislation – “Libel Tourism” a danger in the UK • Extra-legal harassment and violence: – Detentions, intimidation, torture – Technical violence: hacking, DDoS attacks, Cyber espionage • Surveillance and infringements on privacy in a wide range of environments
  13. 13. RESTRICTING ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS • Seven of the 15 countries studied had blocked „Web 2.0‟ applications such as: – Facebook – YouTube – Twitter – Flickr • Iran restricts broadband and Mobile SMS
  14. 14. CENSORSHIP • Some censorship in every country studied, though not always political/social content. • Wide range of techniques for removing content: – Technical filtering – Manual removal because of government directives, judicial orders, intimidation • China‟s apparatus is the most sophisticated, multi-layered, and includes censored SMS. • Significant lack of transparency in censorship procedures, including in some democracies.
  15. 15. WHAT CENSORSHIP LOOKS LIKE We compared the results from three searches using Google, a top search engine in the U.S. with results from Baidu, the top search engine in China. The search terms were: •Freedom House •FalunDafa •Tiananmen Square
  16. 16. FREEDOM HOUSE
  17. 17. FALUNDAFA
  18. 18. TIANANMEN SQUARE
  19. 19. GOING THE DISTANCE FOR ACCESS Would you travel over 600 miles just to check your email? Residents in the Xinjiang province of China faced crippling restrictions of email, SMS, and the Internet after the government clamped down on civil unrest in the area. Business owners and residents of Xinjiang were forced to travel 24 hours by car and hundreds of miles by train and airplane to reach the nearest internet café.
  20. 20. RECOMMENDATIONS • Foresight and creativity needed from democratic countries to establish policies to protect free expression online. • Legislation such as GOFA would help prevention of technology transfer to repressive regimes. • Funding for research and monitoring at both international and national levels. • Support for in-country activists.
  21. 21. Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom House supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights. For more information visit: www.freedomhouse.org Support the right of every individual to be free. Donate now.

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