Internet Freedom Continues To Decline Around The World, A New Report Says

from The Verge

Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world.

“The clear emergent theme in this report is the growing recognition that the internet, once seen as a liberating technology, is increasingly being used to disrupt democracies as opposed to destabilizing dictatorships,” said Mike Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, in a call with reporters. “Propaganda and disinformation are increasingly poisoning the digital sphere, and authoritarians and populists are using the fight against fake news as a pretext to jail prominent journalists and social media critics, often through laws that criminalize the spread of false information.”

In the United States, internet freedom declined in 2018 due to the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. Other countries fared much worse — 17 out of 65 surveyed had adopted laws restricting online media. Of those, 13 prosecuted citizens for allegedly spreading false information. And more countries are accepting training and technology from China, which Freedom House describes as an effort to export a system of censorship and surveillance around the world.

More here.

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  1. As human beings around the world continuously have access to the internet, the cyber world is increasingly becoming regulated. However, these regulations are becoming a hazard toward citizen’s internet freedom. The internet was supposed to be a designated space where a human can speak freely and obtain access to the correct facts and information. However, in today’s age around the world, a variety of governments is using the internet to keep their citizens in check, propaganda, and false news. Any government who has power over the internet should not use it for their own purpose, but it should be a neutral ground. Especially with different countries, putting journalist and social media critics into jail for what they do or write on the internet. I believe this to be very wrong as they are speaking what is on their mind. These journalists or anyone who speaks their mind on the internet should be allowed freedom of speech. In my eyes, this is a given human right to every single human being on planet earth. Another aspect, that I find very horrifying, is that some governments around the world increase their state of surveillance so they can keep a watchful eye over their citizens. China has a social credit system that has a watchful eye on a city or group of citizens of what they do in their lives. If they happen to do anything negative, these citizens would not be able to purchase or travel to places because of their negative action. A system that China implemented to keep their citizens in check which is very smart but scary as every citizen can be watched under the government. Many other countries attempt to do this or have such a system. The purpose of this is to have total control over their country and their citizens. In order for nothing bad to happen and the country goes a down the road that the government wants. A very manipulative move that most governments in the world’s history have attempted and some have suggested. However, it is a terrible plan that will negatively affect the citizens and the country itself. In my opinion, it will make the country and the citizens oblivious to the truth. Also reading this article, written by Casey Newton, I have learned a couple new facts that I had no clue about. For example, they had a report that stated, “Governments in 18 countries increased state surveillance between June 2017 and now, with 15 considering new “data protection” laws, which can require companies to store user data locally and potentially make it easier for governments to access”. I believe that no government should have access to internet data or user data for the purpose of constant surveillance when it is not needed. Governments around the world need to put regulations and laws to protect user’s privacy and internet rights. However, many of them are not doing that and if anything, they are exposing a user’s internet history and how they speak on the internet. I am happy to read that Freedom-House has been monitoring the world’s internet freedom and that have a good watch over the world’s internet. We need more organization that monitor and fight for internet freedom around the world. All our private information and how the world works, it is connected to the internet in some shape or form. I encourage more of my netizens around the world to fight for internet freedom and strict government regulations.

  2. This article brings up the continuous discussion between security and privacy. In today’s day and era we live in a society where we are continuously blurring the line between necessary security, and the right to freedom. This article brings up various statistics all concluding to one fact: that our freedom is at risk. Internet freedom nowadays is just like any other type of freedom because of how much of an influence the internet plays in our lives. As a university student I know for a fact that there is not one day of the school year where I am not accessing the internet. The reason for this is because nowadays the internet is like a necessity for us to carry out our everyday lives. It’s not just college students, it’s nearly every single individual that has access to technology. Because technology is an evergoing dependence in our natural lives, it begs the question whether or not we are able to draw a line between what is our right to keep to ourselves, and to what extent we should be willing to give up a piece of our freedom for the security of a nation? The problem with this statement is that more often than not our freedom is not being used for our own protection, but rather for manuplistic motives. The vast number of cases and companies that have been caught participating in some type of illegal data snatching all leads us to believe that our freedom is at the expense of our protection. As we move towards a continuously adaptive world this discussion will only continue to escalate, and will most likely not find a resolution until both the freedom of users and the security of the world align with each other.

  3. The world is always changing and the internet is no exception from that. The problem for the internet however since its real emergence in 1983 it has arguable became one of the most useful tools to the everyday person. Everything from trying to solve certain problems, research different topics, or get a message across the internet is there for 55% of the population or 3.2 billion people and is increasing every day. There is a problem that this article points out that is halting the progress of the internet and its intended uses, that problem is governments around the world. Media in countries is being hindered big time on the internet, with governments preventing or getting rid of what they consider fake news. It has reached the point, at least in 13 countries, that people are prosecuted for supposedly spreading false info on media. There is an issue with false information on the internet but for the most part these countries that go after what they call false information is normally information that negatively talks about that government or makes them look bad. Of course this censorship and filtering of content on the internet can be helpful in preventing things like in Sri Lanka and India when false information spread causing mods to form and a religious conflict to arise causing people to be murdered. While censorship could be very useful in a country like Myanmar where hate speech is taking over especially on Facebook that is causing people to be killed and religious conflict is ensuing. The problem is that things like religious hate and people who are giving out information on the internet with the intent to cause problems or confuse people are not the ones that are currently being stop. It is the ones who are trying to do well, get the truth out there about their oppressive governments and issues within their country. The internet is something that deserves to be free for everyone with the ability to use it freely and comfortably. That’s is in danger with governments using the negatives to also help what might be a positive but is against them or their ideas.

  4. As alarming as it is, it honestly isn’t surprising to know that the government is taking control over the data of Internet users. In Internet has been traditionally as something liberating or something that represented freedom. It was a resource that granted its users to use it in a variety of ways and access what they needed and wanted to access with major issues. Now that net neutrality has been removed from the US, internet users are bound to have more difficulty using the Internet in the future if not any time soon. Despite how a person may feel exhausted from hearing the term “fake news” being thrown around constantly, it appears there is some form of deception and use of misinformation occurring on multiple media platforms that causes major disruption and interference in a country’s politics. As dismal as America’s internet freedom may be looking at the moment, other countries have arguably worse situations.
    Seventeen out of sixty-five countries in the world have adopted legal policies that restrict forms of online media. Eighteen have acquired state surveillance laws since last year and fifteen are considering new data protection laws. Governments in thirty-two countries have apparently been engaged in paying commentators, trolls, bots to manipulate online conversations to revolve around desired topics or steer away from unwanted ones. Even messaging apps are now involving these manipulators. It is concerning to know how anyone online could be used by someone to push or direct a desired political agenda or plant an idea into someone’s head and how these acts are mostly being committed by large and powerful political entities. Internet freedom is definitely declining and change needs to made to save it.

  5. Although I want to think we live in a world of freedom, this thinking is just not what we see or hear anymore. There is an obvious decline in online freedom making it the eight year we have seen this decline. One would think that we can search anything and only that would come up. But most people know if you search one thing you get results for numerous different things, including stuff you did not type in. Propaganda seems to find its way on to every site you look at. People are unknowingly being influenced by what they see on the internet. Sometimes this even includes us seeing fake news, swaying what we think of certain high-profile people such as politicians, CEO’s, and journalists. I personally think the spreading of fake news is a very big issue since so many people use social media and it spreads quickly.
    The most interesting part of this article for me is when it talks about other countries adopting laws restricting online media. This to me is very surprising as it is a big part of our lives. I must not realize how easy it is for me to access the internet. I have to be on my laptop for every class I take as well sometime internet with the media as well. I could not imagine being restricted when I am allowed to use the internet as countries like India have done. Internet for Americans have become a huge part of our everyday lives no matter how young or old. It is used for so much more than being a gateway to spread fake news. I am glad to learn at the end there have been bright spots for media use as it has been used to help put pressure on prime minsters to release prisoners and help resolve a revolution this year. I think the internet does more good than harm, but the bad always outweighs the good.

  6. There are definitely positives along with negatives when it comes too internet freedom which can cause multiple arguments and opinions with users all around the world. When the internet first came out it was endless the possibilities someone was able to look up or create. As it is a resource to be able to use the internet for finding information that is endless like our minds. It is also a way for us to be connected as one world, seeing news or trends from any part of this earth that has access to the internet. It is absolutely seen as a right and a freedom of speech what we can say an access over the internet, a way where an individual can express themselves. This freedom can also bring plenty of controversy and cases that can bring some people to be hurt in real life, which is why there are new restrictions on the internet that was not available before. That if someone is expressing their opinion on any type of topic, someone over the internet can start harassing them or even find them in real life. It is a shame that a place where we should be allowed to express our opinion has become unavailable since other individuals do not know how to respect someone else’s viewpoint. Personally, if the internet restriction is for a reason of safety in this matter for protecting others, this is something I can respect. Although some countries that do not allow individuals to express their opinion or even access the free world that the internet is; this is something I cannot respect. As those countries are looking to silence their people and cause them to miss out or not be able to view what joy the rest of the world has. The line between security and silencing users is something that is still being developed but definitely should not be ignored since our society is so plugged into the internet.

  7. Internet freedom is declining and it would seem that most users either don’t know or care that their online activity is being restricted. When the net neutrality law was passed, millions of people voiced their outrage but in the recent months I have heard almost nothing about it. The internet can be used for almost any application imaginable and that makes it potentially dangerous, but for most users it is a way to stay in touch and informed in the modern day. Even to this day I don’t fully understand every aspect of the net neutrality debate, but the fact that my information is more accessible to government agencies makes me slightly uncomfortable. The internet should not be regulated and restricted by the government, some people including myself see that as a direct violation of their privacy rights.

    In the 2016 presidential election outside influences bought ads on Facebook and used them to manipulate public opinion. These problems are not strictly happening in the United States either, countries like India have had to cut off access to the internet because of violent mobs attacking people over false news stories. Drastic measures like that have not been taken in America, but it would seem that in the near future we may be faced with similar circumstances. The author of this article claims that internet freedoms have been declining over the last eight years, which dates before the net neutrality decision. It would appear that a difficult decision is presented with the internet now so easily accessible, how and if the government should intervene with regulations and restrictions.

    More and more countries are adopting laws that restrict the freedoms of internet users, but is it necessarily a bad thing? Our first amendment right in America includes freedom of speech, but now it seems that the internet has become a bit of a grey area in that regard. If a journalist is accused of spreading fake news with the intention of disrupting democracy, they can be imprisoned in countries with more restrictive internet laws. The President has already made questionable remarks about the media and news outlets that criticize him, so do we really want to allow free speaking and thinking news outlets restricted or face jail time over news stories that they publish online? With no definitive answer it would seem the only way to make your voice heard on the subject is to get out and vote, don’t allow another election to pass without doing your civic duty.

  8. I can definitely see both sides of the “Internet Freedom” debate. The Internet in today’s world is a legitimate source of information for users, but in the US and many other countries it is not regulated like TV and other sources of media. The non-regulation of the Internet has caused a multitude of safety issues in the US; people access anti-government sites through social media and become influenced to cause terror across the nation. Regulation of terrroristic and anti-government websites in the US would definitely prevent people from being influenced in a negative fashion. The Internet should also receive the same treatment as TV and radio due to its prevalence in today’s society as a source of news. Governments should monitor the information on the Internet in order to ensure false information is not spread.

    Unfortunately, authoritarian governments are abusing Internet regulation to silence protestors and opponents of government leaders. Dictators and other leaders of these countries are able to arrest and prosecute protestors for simply disagreeing with them. The Internet has frequently been a source of un-regulated and un-biased information for people to make their own decisions about leaders in their governments. If governments are given more regulatory power over the Internet, citizens could more or less be influenced to believe certain facts about leaders that may not necessarily be true.

    Data protection, censorship, the safety of citizens, and the freedom of speech all come into play when governments are deciding how to regulate the Internet. There should be a collective effort by governments in organizations such as NATO, G20, and the UN to come up with a solid framework on how to provide free information while keeping their nations safe from harm.

  9. First world country governments want more data and more control over their citizens via the internet. What was once limitless and free is now regulated and censored, or at least beginning to become censored. The article continues to mention the suppression of dissent, this is merely a tactic by governments to impose laws and keep control over information. The rollback of net neutrality laws here in the United States will tarnish the reputation of ISPs but they don’t care because they get to line their pockets with more money. The throttling of internet connection is one of the first steps to companies and the government maintaining control over our use of the internet. A huge problem is the average person’s inability to detect fake news from real news. People will unfortunately believe what they read on the internet without fact checking and this problem has led to riots and mobs in countries like India and Sri Lanka.

  10. Hearing about some of the restrictions that are occurring in other countries, I am reminded how lucky we are that freedom of speech in the US is such a highly valued and protected right. I may not agree with the restrictions being used by some other countries but I do understand the temptation to try to restrict speech because of the misinformation and hate speech that makes its way on the internet. Germany recently enacted legislation ( went into effect Jan 1 2018 that requires social media to remove posts containing hate speech and other illegal content within 24 hours or face hefty fines. For more complex cases, the social media has a week to resolve the issue. I think one of the problems here is figuring out what constitutes hate speech/illegal speech. I don’t think Germany (or the US) has a clear definition of what constitutes hate/illegal speech and so we are relying on the social media sites to decide what this is. That doesn’t seem like a good course of action. Given that they may face hefty fines, I expect they would be more likely to take down anything suspicious than not. It is concerning that other countries are pointing to Germany as an example to follow – not sure that is a good idea. In the US, we seem to criticize social media when they don’t quickly remove some posts that might be hate speech or misinformation but there is that fine line between not allowing them to post some information and violating their right to free speech – and again we seem to be relying on social media to decide that. In the US the courts have often used the “imminent lawless action” standard for deciding what constitutes free speech. I think most misinformation or hate speech on the internet would not likely meet this standard. Maybe the internet will force us to revisit that standard

  11. Fake news is a huge issue we have in our world today. Most people tend to believe everything they see on the internet, and this should not be the case. If there was a way for the government to get rid of fake news as soon as it appears to the public, such as online, this would make our community stronger and have more accurate opinions on how we should feel. Although I do believe that the internet should be a place to freely speak our own opinions, big names such as CBS news, Fox, etc. shouldn’t necessary be one-sided in what they are telling people. Small names such as individual people certainly do have the right to say whatever they feel, but when big names get involved, it simply only causes controversy and causes people to sway their opinions because of this. The problem with this is, however, that if big news names were open to both sides, then there would be no results in the end mainly because they wouldn’t be able to gain followers. The solution with this would be to simply only support what they believe, and not put others down and create false information so they are able to jump ahead.

  12. The use of internet is a privilege for most citizens of the world. It a very helpful communication system but all systems have their faults. It’s not surprising that countries around the world are starting to limit and restrict the use of internet. This article highlights key points about why a country would want to limit the use of internet within their borders because the internet, while providing endless data and seemly light speed communication, can be at risk to security breaches along with fake news. Fake news used to be humorous because of the fact that people “believe everything that’s on the internet” because “if it’s on the internet it has to be true.” This used to be the case when only facts were presented on the internet but in today’s age it is almost impossible to believe what the news says. Freedom House seems to be on the side of the people when they support the freedom of using the internet without restrictions. As they said there are trade offs between freedom and security. It’s one of the oldest challenges for governments around the world. The balance between freedom and security. We give the people the option to do whatever they want, and the potential for disaster in increased, but when the government provides restrictions on citizens freedom, it is in the best interest of the citizens to be safe from violence and in this case, false news.

  13. I believe that a decline in internet freedom can be looked at as a good and bad thing. First, it is a good thing because governments are saying that they are trying to get rid of the fake news aspect of the internet. This is a good thing because even though the internet is great and has a ton of great things with it, it also has a lot of stuff that people just put on there that have very little truth to it. It bothers me a lot whenever I am using the internet to search a topic or something of that nature and I come across a website that you can tell is not a legitimate one. There are a lot of people out there that will put fake news reports or breaking news in sports up just to get attention. I remember the one time I was using twitter and somebody copied the profile of a well-known sports reporter and said that there was some breaking news happening that a player was traded or something like that. I got excited because it was a very interesting move, but then I looked into it and found out that was a fake account. Getting rid of fake news like that will be very nice and make the internet a better place.
    The bad aspect of taking away some internet freedom is the fact that some of the internet is being taken away. In my opinion, I feel that the government will take the fake news category and stretch it in ways that will benefit them. So, instead of just getting rid of the obvious fake news articles and such, they will try to get rid of anything that they do not like and believe should not be out there for the world to see. If the government were to go down this path then it would be a very bad thing and leave us without some aspects of the internet that make it so great. The internet is a place where everybody should be able to voice their opinion freely, to a certain point, and not worry about being regulated by the government. The internet is something special and hopefully the government will not take that away and make it into something that people no longer enjoy.

  14. The exponential growth and power of the Internet has caught the attention of many governments across the world. More and more countries are starting to implement censorship in online media, as well as put forth tainted, propaganda like news to influence readers. To me, this is a dangerous area to find ourselves in as a society. There is no way to tell what news is actually the truth. The article mentioned a program being put forth by China to supply technology and training to other government agencies in order to fight “fake news”. The Freedom House, a liberal free media group, stated that this act by China is very dangerous and could lead to mass censorship in several countries. I could not agree more with this statement. Giving the power of supplying and teaching nations how to control the media in their countries would be dangerous in the hands of anyone, especially China. This is dangerous because if China does follow through with this plan, they have the potential to omit anything from the media, whether it is the truth or not, in not only China but also all of the nations they supplied the training to. As a society, I feel it is our duty to fight against censorship in all forms. If we give the government power to censor the media arbitrarily than we would be forced to adhere to their news and media as fact, when the likely chance is that it is not. The first step in fighting censorship is making the people affected by it aware of it. The more people fighting against the issue the better.

  15. The internet freedom discussion is one of polarizing debate. Given the world’s ever-growing reliance on technology, this is an issue that is just beginning. First-world countries and their respective governments are aiming to use user data in order to provide means of oversight and security, however there are people who think that doing so is an invasion of privacy.

    With governments in 18 countries increased their surveillance, it is evident that the “big brother” mentality is on the rise. For those who believe that the surveillance is a bit overbearing, this is an area of grave concern and is a direct infringement upon basic human rights.

    The topic of fake news has gained traction in the latest political cycle, and thwarting such news is important, but only to an extent that is within reason. Hopefully, “digital authoritarianism” will not become too frequent to a point where citizens of countries become unsafe, because above all else, safety should be a number one priority.

  16. Today, using the internet is the best way to obtain and share information. Someone can go on their smartphone and use the internet to search for whatever it is that they want to know. Of course, the only way that people could find the information that they want is if someone shared the information on the internet first. In this way information is constantly being exchanged through the technological innovation that is the internet. However, there are some governments around the world that seek to restrict the exchange of certain types of information in order to advance their own agendas. By doing this these governments are causing a worldwide decline in online freedoms that is detrimental to the future of our world.

    Recently, according to Freedom House, the way that governments have been going about trying to take control of user’s data is by enacting laws that are nominally to address “fake news”. By enacting laws like these governments have the ability to claim any piece of information that is shared on the internet as “fake news”. This also gives them the ability to potentially jail people who post information that they determine to be “fake news”. Therefore with laws like these in place, if a person shares information that is against the agenda of their government they can potentially go to jail for it. By enacting these type of laws governments are abusing their power and their citizens are helplessly taken advantage of.

    Laws like these do not exist in the United States due to the citizens of the United States having the right to freedom of speech, but our online freedom is declining as well. The reason that our online freedoms are declining in 2018 is due to the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. Due to net neutrality laws being repealed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now have the power to block access to certain sites without getting the approval of government authorities. This can be potentially dangerous because this means that ISPs have the ability to block access to political websites that they don’t agree with. That could potentially mean that we would only be able to access the websites that contain the political viewpoint of the ISP.

    The internet in its nature is a liberating technology and should remain that way. Governments should not be able to oppress the internet freedoms of their citizens by making one or two laws. The oppression of internet freedoms gives way to communist dictatorships that favor the wealthy and prey upon the poor. By oppressing internet freedoms governments can spread political propaganda, suppress political ideology that counters theirs, and an extensive list of other things. The spreading of propaganda and the prohibition of certain ideas is the way that communist countries are born. The online freedoms of people around the world need to be protected in order to ensure the future of democracy itself.

  17. Internet freedom is something that is very concerning all over the world. I remember when the US was starting to push toward getting rid of net neutrality, and the huge about of resistance that ensued as a result. However, in the US we still have the freedom to speak freely over the internet and no one will be prosecuted for the spread of misinformation. What I find particularly interesting about this article is that countries are beginning to take notes out of China’s book on how to monitor technology. Before reading this I never really made a connection between how there is such surveillance over how technology is used in China, but nonetheless, the people of this country use the internet and their technology for just about everything. WeChat, in particular, is one of the most common means of payment within China.
    I find it very concerning that there is such an urgency for countries to regulate how we use the internet because it is such a versatile and useful tool. I think that just as with any other form of regulation, regulating the internet will just discourage people from using it as much as they do. I agree with the reasoning for it because, the spread of misinformation is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed, but I feel as though there should be a better solution to the issue that allows for some sort of middle ground to be reached. The current means of “squashing this bug” seems almost hypocritical as countries are hiring trolls and bots to manipulate how people receive information over the internet.

  18. Knock, knock! It’s the government open up! Imagine that at your front door and they just barge in with no warrant not cause of action and take a look at all your personal thing a sensitive information keep safe inside your house. Sounds like an act of the government taking away your rights. We love to think that in our great country we are free and have rights. Over the years, though we have had advancements I technology and other aspects of society. Ever since the patriot act was enacted in, two thousand and one we have seen a steady decline in our privacy over the internet. The patriot act was enacted in response to the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, Congress swiftly passed legislation to strengthen national security. On October 23, 2001, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 3162 incorporating provisions from a previously sponsored House bill and a Senate bill also introduced earlier in the month. The Act passed by the House the next day and they had a vote of 357–66.t. On October 25, the Act passed the Senate by a 98–1 vote, the only dissident being Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. This was because the country was in fear and this seems like the best solution to make us feel safe again. Little did we know this act is now part of the reason the government is able to take away our internet privacy. I can say I was not shocked at what I read in the above article that is hyperlinked to the actual one on a different domain name. We have allowed this to go on and we need to speak up. Now we make not have it as bad as India but the reason for us to speak up now is so we can prevent ourselves from winding up like that country and not having any rights. I am all for the government doing severance for counterterrorism but we need to find a middle ground now where the safety of the United States and the rights of its citizens are both upheld.

  19. While reading this article, I understood the reasoning to why they may need to put in place stricter internet restrictions. The example they gave was India. In India, they had to cut off the internet completely in response to the outbreak of ethnic and religious conflict. There are 18 countries with increased state surveillance and 32 countries pay commentators in a an effort to manipulate online conversations. I can picture these restrictions in place in countries that do not have as much freedom as the United States. I believe that if security measures were put into place in America, many people will be outraged and there are many reasons. First of all, some people use the internet to express how they are feeling. For example, social media is prevalent on the internet. Social media gives people the platform to express their thoughts. If the United States took that right away, there will be many cases where people believe they are getting their right to freedom to speech taken away. Now, there are instances where there is the spread of fake news. Some people may suggest to implement a security setting to a certain degree but those being restricted will believe that they are getting singled out and would want the rule to be enforced to everyone or no one. Also, people will believe that this will be an invasion of privacy. If we have the government tracking what we share people may feel as if they have no privacy. I do not this would fly in the United States. We base our country on freedom. The internet gives us the freedom to research what we want, to find answers immediately, post whatever we want, and have a sense of privacy. If the government takes any of those rights away, then Americans will feel as if they are taking away their rights.

  20. The push to combat so called fake news in recent years is most likely at least partially motivated by a desire to censor political opponents. Of course, censorship of opposing viewpoints would not go over well with the American public, so it has to be sold as a way to protect American Democracy. The phenomenon of false information being spread through news media is nothing new, according to, “…intentionally misleading news has been around since before the invention of the printing press… [The founding fathers] saw that while it was tempting to censor fake stories, ultimately the truth was more likely to be abused by an all-powerful government arbiter than the filter of unimpeded popular debate,” This is why the First Amendment was created. Although modern technology has enabled misinformation to reach a much larger audience and to be produced in a much larger volume, the same could be said for truthful information. Correct information is able to be more widespread than ever before. This fact is often overlooked by those who call for the censorship of fake news. Modern technology makes it more difficult for major news organizations and governments to control the narrative of any particular event. Thus, censorship of so called fake news could be used as a way to regain control over the spread of information.
    The term fake news is what would be colloquially a buzzword. It’s an ill-defined term that is used by different people to mean different things. As the website Vox puts it, “There are some cases in which the falseness of a news claim will be inarguable…But in other cases, one person’s fake newsmaker is another person’s bold truth-teller,” In our polarized society, there are many contentious and highly controversial issues. Regulation of fake news could be easily used to attack those who have opinions that are opposed to the opinions of those in power. Thus this will allow those in power to attack their political opponents while claiming to protect democracy. Thus, any attempt to regulate fake news in the age of the internet would not get rid of misinformation, it would do a better job of hiding political dissent. This censorship is not limited to governments, it is also being pursued by social media companies, “There are some cases in which the falseness of a news claim will be inarguable…But in other cases, one person’s fake newsmaker is another person’s bold truth-teller,” With how integral social media is to our modern lives, these tools could be used to effectively censor any content that goes against the political leanings of the Facebook management. Since there aren’t many viable alternatives to these websites, social media sites could essentially cut off alternative news outlets from their audience. This is just as much of a danger as government regulation of fake news.

  21. The internet has become so large and powerful that it is practically an extension of many people’s lives. With this being said, I believe that internet freedom is an extension of many freedoms that each nation and society has. This could explain why internet freedom is declining in many countries. It is a reflection of their laws, morals, and values. Censorship is another way of shutting down free speech and press. It is understandable that there is a need for some sort of control on the internet. It is getting to a point that is concerning however. The internet can be a place for open thought, entertainment, learning, and so much more. It is worrying that many countries around the globe are putting many restrictions on internet access and media as Newton states. It comes down to more than just internet freedom. As stated before, I feel as though this trend is a reflection on freedom in general.
    Newton writes that in 2018 alone, 17 countries have already made laws restricting online media. This trend does not seem like it is going away anytime soon. This might be due to the rise of “fake news”. I have always wondered to myself who considers what is real and what is not. I believe that all information, as long as it is not promoting violence should be allowed. This promotes true freedom on the internet and forces users to make choices based on what they hear. Censorship on the internet decreases freedom and thought. Anyone should be able to have their own thoughts and ideas without having to be targeted for it. In Armenia and Ethiopia, there were two positive cases of what internet freedom could bring. Especially in Armenia, internet freedom helped to ensure a peaceful revolution according to Newton. Increasing internet freedom would benefit society long term. The internet was designed to be a place of freedom away from the physical world. Given its power, it will be interesting to see how internet freedom either evolves or devolves in the coming years.

  22. As access to the internet becomes more widely available, the freedom that it provides is slowly decreasing thanks to new laws being put into action and some new regulations being put in place. A big example of regulation rollback in the US is the repeal of net neutrality which allows ISP’s almost unlimited power over the internet. Also in the European Union, the new General Data Protection Regulation will aim to restrict internet services for EU citizens, but will also have an affect on the rest of the world. This is not however a new thing. Internet freedom has been in decline for eight straight years now.
    This trend of a more controlled internet brings up an interesting dilemma. How much is control is too much? While it may seem like the US lost a lot of internet freedom, other countries had it much worse. 17 out of 65 countries that were polled in a survey adopted new internet restrictions, and 13 of those also prosecuted citizens for the spread of false information. This movement of controlling the internet seems to take away the internet’s primary use. An open place to communicate and share ideas. If there are more and more restrictions put on it, it may become nothing more than a stream of government controlled information that could limit the wealth of knowledge that we have access to as of now. The other side of this argument is that more restriction improves the privacy of those who use the internet and its services. These regulations will most certainly limit the risk of unwanted data usage by corporations but at the expense of the experience that they create on the platform.
    Personally I am not in favor of heavy regulation of the internet. It is meant to be an open place for the sharing of ideas and also communicating with each other. There does need to be some, but that should only be for objectively wrong things, like publishing false information for the purpose of swaying peoples opinions. Many people do not fully research what they look up on the internet, so some regulation could prevent the spread of too much false information. However, things like the EU’s GDPR go too far in taking away the power of independent creators or publishers which removes the primary purpose of the internet. I feel that there is a middle ground that would satisfy the needs of a majority of internet users that needs to be found.

    Works Cited

    Newton, Casey. “Internet Freedom Continues to Decline around the World, a New Report Says.”
    The Verge, The Verge, 1 Nov. 2018,

  23. The internet is an amazing technological feat that can connect individuals worldwide with a click of a button. It’s important to note how for many people under the age of 25, the web has been in existence and easily accessible for the majority of their lives. For most the thought of having to pay for websites and applications that have been (and should be) free is ludicrous. However as this article points out, it’s an ongoing possibility that seems to be favoring charging users. In addition the thing that is most worrying to me personally is the idea of internet service providers (ISP’s) throttling. This is the process of slowing down internet speeds and requiring their customers to pay a higher premium to access internet speeds that most have likely grown accustomed to today.

    However the part of this article that interested me most was when Casey Newton discussed the following implications of countries that repealed net neutrality, he went on to state “Other countries fared much worse — 17 out of 65 surveyed had adopted laws restricting online media. Of those, 13 prosecuted citizens for allegedly spreading false information.” This quote is terrifying, the internet has always been a place where individuals can freely express their opinions often allowing others to add input. Without this freedom of censorship the government would have an excess of power and authority where they have complete control over what news stories are published for the world to see. It’s important for citizens to be properly educated on the implications of the repeal of net neutrality. The government may have already put words into actions, although if enough people protest any changes handed down from their ISP’s they will be hard pressed to continue to implement them. Without this, our future could resemble nations who blindly allowed these changes to occur, like Portugal:

    Newton, Casey. “Internet Freedom Continues to Decline around the World, a New Report Says.”
    The Verge, The Verge, 1 Nov. 2018,

  24. The internet is an amazing technological feat that can connect individuals worldwide with a click of a button. It’s important to note how for many people under the age of 25, the web has been in existence and easily accessible for the majority of their lives. For most the thought of having to pay for websites and applications that have been (and should be) free is ludicrous. However as this article points out, it’s an ongoing possibility that seems to be favoring charging users. In addition the thing that is most worrying to me personally is the idea of internet service providers (ISP’s) throttling. This is the process of slowing down internet speeds and requiring their customers to pay a higher premium to access internet speeds that most have likely grown accustomed to today.

    However the part of this article that interested me most was when Casey Newton discussed the following implications of countries that repealed net neutrality, he went on to state “Other countries fared much worse — 17 out of 65 surveyed had adopted laws restricting online media. Of those, 13 prosecuted citizens for allegedly spreading false information.” This quote is terrifying, the internet has always been a place where individuals can freely express their opinions often allowing others to add input. Without this freedom of censorship the government would have an excess of power and authority where they have complete control over what news stories are published for the world to see. It’s important for citizens to be properly educated on the implications of the repeal of net neutrality. The government may have already put words into actions, although if enough people protest any changes handed down from their ISP’s they will be hard pressed to continue to implement them. Without this, our future could resemble nations who blindly allowed these changes to occur, like Portugal:

    Newton, Casey. “Internet Freedom Continues to Decline around the World, a New Report Says.”
    The Verge, The Verge, 1 Nov. 2018

  25. A major component of the internet’s success is its openness to let users decide how it should be used. I believe it is crucial that the government remains cautious when regulating the internet by implementing statutes only when necessary. When the internet is burdened with increased regulatory demands, the platform becomes less attractive as website providers are faced with increased liability costs, as well as risks, that can ultimately drive down usage. Furthermore, this article addresses the recent “repeal of net neutrality rules” implemented by the Federal Trade Commission, which could pose a threat to the freedom and accessibility of the internet. Another concerning issue this article outlines is foreign governments “using laws nominally intended to address ‘fake news’ to suppress dissent,” which illustrates the complexity involved in regulating the internet. For example, in the United States, there is complexity involved in regulating “fake news” since the Constitution protects the freedom of speech.

    In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Glenn Reynolds cites how the Communications Decency Act allows mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to be treated as platforms, rather than publishers ( As a result, these websites are not responsible for content posted by users. This statute is crucial in protecting the incentives for platforms for like Google and Facebook to operate. In fact, if Facebook was legally regarded as a publisher, like The New York Times, for example, then the responsibility of monitoring every user’s post would become too burdensome and costly to manage. In turn, these social media platforms will cease to exist due to the legal risks involved. However, these protections are also dangerous because it gives platforms like Twitter and Facebook the freedom to censor their user’s content in a manner similar to publishing platforms.

    Reynolds Wall Street article also addresses the recent controversy where Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist, was suspended on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube for speech regarded as anti-Semitic. Apple also removed Alex Jones’s podcast, InfoWars, from its app store. Despite Alex Jones’s extreme and controversial theories, this form of speech, under the United States Constitution, is protected under the First Amendment. I think it is dangerous when platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter take an active role in censoring their user’s content. Because these platforms have such a substantial user base amount, the task of censoring content in a fair and consistent manner is almost impossible.

  26. Why does the government get involved in the Internet’s freedom? Because of what the Internet has to offer. While global connection is an interesting feature, it is the vast amount of data that can be collected which makes the Internet the king of all kings on our government’s list. As more users continue to surf the web, the more attention is required from the government by the web. Through this regulation, businesses are granted some leeway in the sense that they are able to regulate their consumer’s activities through clickwrap, browsewrap, and shrinkwrap agreements. This is a huge factor of our consumer’s freedom because we are limited to their rights in order to use their websites and in order to access their websites, we are required to sign off our rights unknowingly through the complicated fine print in the terms and conditions of the click, browse, and shrinkwraps. With the combination of the wrap agreements and the government trying to collect our data at all times, consumer protection becomes a huge thing in today’s world because we are unaware of the consequences that come. However, there is a different side to this argument. Throughout this past week, we have discussed the consequences of businesses entangling their agreements so the limitations on consumers stay cutthroat. However, what would happen if the consumers knew all of the stuff going on in the world? Mr. Myrstad explains this concept very well in his TED Talk found here: (
    Mr. Myrstad explains that while companies should lessen the complexity of the contracts found within the wraps, society should see a different side of the spectrum where the question is how people would react if they knew one hundred percent about the activities that go on on the Internet. If people were to know the full consequences of such actions, they would start to censor themselves. If people knew that others are watching them, they would watch what they are saying online. If they knew that businesses use their personal information to help better themselves, they would stop participating on the internet as a whole.
    This is where the argument of privacy becomes controversial. If we restrict the consumers too much, we will be losing our basic humans rights by unknowingly agreeing to sign away our rights. If we inform the populations about the abilities of businesses online, we would present false data in the name of privacy. This will also cause many problems because if we present false data on the Internet, there would be a breakout of confusion because we wouldn’t know who was who. The secret to obtaining the perfect balance of privacy and credibility is through the protection of private information. Without cybersecurity, our internet freedom is as good as gone.

  27. The article discusses the decline of internet freedom. At first I was surprised by this article since most of the articles that I come across focus on the various internet issues due to lack of regulation. This article brings up the idea that the internet has lost its purpose of liberating technology. It states that “Propaganda and disinformation are increasingly poisoning the digital sphere, and authoritarians and populists are using the fight against fake news as a pretext to jail prominent journalists and social media critics, often through laws that criminalize the spread of false information. While I agree that various group have utilized the internet with wrong intentions, I believe that there should be more regulations placed. As internet spread around the world, it has been integrated into our everyday lives. Due to today’s technology, a large part of our lives and jobs depends on the internet. Therefore, in order to guarantee a controlled environment on the internet, regulations and laws must be set in place. That is the only way that the users and their information can be reasonably secured and protected. This article brings up that the spread of false information and propaganda has been on an increase. This is exactly why we need to increase regulations as to what can be published online.

  28. As we advance further into the age of technology, we as a society expect to be able to access the internet wherever and whenever we want. If our phones or laptops cannot connect to the internet for more than a couple of seconds, we freak out and think that something is wrong. However, this luxury may not be as great as we think it is, and the internet can be as much a weapon as a tool. According to this article “digital authoritarianism” is on the rise. Basically, governments spread across the world are working on getting their hands on their citizens data in order to control what they say and see. This, on the surface level, can be seen as a helpful way to quell dissent when necessary, but on the other side is government censorship that is reducing the freedom of speech over the internet.
    Social media has long been seen as a way for a wide variety of messages and values to be spread around the world. This messages can sometimes be extreme and lead to major change, like what happened with the Arab Spring and the various revolts that came with it. This type of event would be a lot harder without the internet, since there is no other way to spread a message at that type of speed. The internet is able to spread propaganda (both pro- and anti-government) at the snap of a finger.
    Many current governments have begun going after citizens for how they act online, with 17 of 65 surveyed for the article creating laws that specifically restrict online media, and 13 prosecuted people for spreading false information
    Sri Lanka and India are notable examples of countries with internet censorship, because they have shut off internet access completely in times of major conflict in order to stop the spread of ideas. Personally I completely disagree with this type of decision, because the internet is such a vital part of daily life that cutting it off suddenly is not only rude in a time of need but can be dangerous because people do not know what is really going on. Then, when people don’t know what is happening, they fill in reality with their own ideas that are even worse than what is actually occurring.
    Overall, I am wary of any type of internet censorship or anything because it is such an important part of humanity at this point, and the positives outweigh the negatives for the people who use it correctly.

  29. With all the problems that have been coming with the internet, there is no possible way that you will be able to accurately weed out the fake news from the real. “It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world,” which proves that we have an ongoing problem occurring with the internet. The internet alone has been a part of one of the largest controversies in the world, The Election of 2016. The Russians were accused of interfering with the voting making it in favor of Donald Trump. There are both pros and cons when it comes to the internet some more than the other, but even with that being said there is no possible way that we could cancel the internet. It is used all the time whether in college, social media, workplace; you virtually cannot get rid of it. “Cutting off internet service is a draconian response,” which is true because it is such a necessity in today’s day in age. I feel as though the only way to fix this problem is for a change in a server or a brand new server. If there were a server to weed out the fake news, it would be great. A server that would virtually be able to only allow full truth things to be shown. For example, if there was a scandal out about a celebrity, instead of putting all of the news reports up, it can go through and scan most of them for the things they have in common and write their own story on it. If not then they can use the most reliable source and use it. For research and what not, they can only post scholarly articles or the ones who have the credibility to be posting about whatever topic they are speaking on. The internet is such a controversial topic mainly for the fact of we cannot get rid of it. I believe that it will start to pose a big problem when the government starts to give us little to no privacy.

  30. After reading this article, I find it to be no surprise as to why countries in turmoil (politically and socially) take complete control of the internet as best as they can.

    Let’s first start off by looking at the positives (albeit extremely limited) about this up rise in digital authoritarianism: countries can use this as a way to censor out hate speech from the citizens acting out against each other (like Sri Lanka and India), as hate speech and accusations can carry a long ways and could end up causing unnecessary death or destruction. This authoritarianism, even though it being a drastic decision and a concept that I don’t think is appropriate, can be seen as some type of remedy.

    However, this authoritarianism is also restricts one of the most basic rights that humans have: the freedom of speech. I know that every country is different and some countries do unfortunately have different laws, but ultimately this is one of the worst things any human can experience in this day of age. The internet doesn’t only just serve as a purpose of spreading information or expressing opinions about certain topics, but the internet also serves as one of the most accessible ways of communicating to other humans around the world. With the heavy restrictions on internet coming from this type of authoritarianism, for this reason alone it can be deemed extremely unethical.

    Take a country who has had to deal with an uncanny and tragic amount of conflict, Yemen, for example. The country of Yemen has been tore up between the wars on terror and have been struggling to cope with the effects and tragedies of this conflict. The country is currently torn between two different services of internet, one stemming from the Houthi rebels and the other stemming from the government themselves. The reason they fight so hard to have complete control is to project whatever they want, whenever they want to the public, no matter if someone believes that the ideas are sensible or dense. Because of this fight for authoritarianism, Yemen has had an extremely hard time restoring order, getting aid for their people, rebuilding the country, and stopping the conflict.

    Sure, digital authoritarianism may seem like a smart move, but when looking at a closer scope, the authoritarianism just seems to make things so, so much worse.

  31. This article discusses the decline in internet freedom among the world, and the author is not wrong in this scenario. This article brings the ongoing discussion about technology and privacy and how it is having a negative effect on many individuals today. Every time one logs into a website, the organization has the information by just going into the website. Seventeen out of sixty-five countries in the world have adopted legal policies that restrict forms of online media. Eighteen have acquired state surveillance laws since last year and fifteen are considering new data protection laws. Governments in thirty-two countries have apparently been engaged in paying commentators, trolls, bots to manipulate online conversations to revolve around desired topics or steer away from unwanted ones. Individuals today are beginning to be restricted from these websites and social media due to hackers and privacy issues that many companies are beginning to follow. Relating this to the past few TIDs we discussed, technology and privacy are two things that seem to begin relating each other. What I mean by this is usually when people are on websites or sign up for an app, there are privacy agreements that the company has. Most of them you do not know what the user is getting themselves into. For example, by simply accessing a website, strict privacy laws have the power to take data from you without even knowing. There is no line anymore between privacy and technology as companies are restricting these freedoms from individuals. Although this is tough to understand. The company cannot be blamed for implementing these laws as hacking is becoming an issue for many. However, some companies may want to access their users information for another reason, which should seem unethical for most. Applications such as snapchat are apps that have data from the first time the user used the app. Snapchat for example says that they do not store data, but they have track of all the messages and pictures the user ever sent. And even websites now are giving less leeway to their customers. As a result, this is going to become the norm of many businesses and most likely, this right to privacy is not going to get any better.

  32. Although with technology a certain amount of caution has always been in the back of the minds of its users, it is becoming more even more of a concern in today’s world. When looking back at where technology was in the past to where it is now, there is a big gap in how much more issues are surfacing and affecting people globally. The Freedom House which is a non-governmental organization that advocates for the democracy and freedom all over the world have made a statement basically stating that governments are being put in a place where they want to promote more regulation and authority over users’ data. This will include implementing laws that they see fits best. Another fact that came from the Freedom House is that this is “the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world” (Newton). This is a linear decrease in internet freedom which is not a favorable result because the users are in real danger because as technology is expanding, one’s privacy is being exploited.
    The big issue that gets presented in this idea of having the government intervene and begin to set laws out that will attempt at protecting user’s information is the fact that there cannot be freedom and security. To some extent, part of the issue with putting limitations on the internet especially done by the government makes it seems that it is taking away from democracy and promotes dictatorship. This does make sense in that regulations cause censorship for what individuals are capable of accessing. In the article, it discusses how there are many countries now looking into how China operates its technology. This does not seem like a positive solution because Chinese citizens are very isolated from what they are able to access and they are monitored by China’s government. So far it seems that the EU’s GDPR laws are the best because it is keeping these people’s information safe while also giving them more control over what happens with their data. Countries especially the United States should move into these laws because it is the most updated set of rules in place along with gaining the reputation of having data protected. One the main aspects of GDPR is that they make it a priority to keep the data within the EU and the only way the release information to outsiders is if they see them fit by having certain credentials.
    Overall, the situation in regards to the internet is a blur throughout the entire world because no one knows how to contain or adapt to this new way of life. Countries such as Sri Lanka and India have taken their own initiative to shut down or limit access to the internet. This was not the best idea of these countries behalf because that is just taking the other extreme and most likely affected business and other processes. Although it was due to ethnic and religious reasons, there might have been some other way to handle that situation. The world is so much based on the internet that it seems that a solution needs to come about and it might take cooperation from the world.

  33. The basic principle of Net Neutrality is that access to all websites and web services should be equal and that anyone can start their own website/service and make it accessible to anyone with internet access, just like any other website/service. Without Net Neutrality, your Internet Service Provider like comcast could arbitrarily block whatever websites it didn’t want you to access (e.g. perhaps blocking you from accessing competitors’ websites). It could also mean your service provider purposefully degrades access to certain websites or services and/or forces you to pay extra to access certain websites or services . In the US, however, there isn’t really competition like this. Many homes have only one broadband internet service provider to choose from (e.g. their local telephone company) and some people are lucky enough to have two providers (e.g. telephone and cable company) or in very rare cases three providers (e.g. telephone, cable and independent fiber/fibre company). Basically though, there is hardly any competition which means that if one service provider starts violating the principles of Net Neutrality, many customers are completely powerless (since they have such a limited or perhaps no alternative selection for ISPs). The cost of internet service is dependent, to a large degree, on estimates of how much data each customer will use if they purchase a particular speed. As you say, if everybody used their connection all the time, maxing out their connection, then they would have to perform costly upgrades. The cost can either be passed onto the consumers of internet service or to the websites that have such high data requirements.

  34. The internet may be cesspool full of fake information and misguidance, but it has become so prominent in our daily lives that it’s freedom being jeopardized is quite frightening. I do understand that governments feel the need to monitor what is spread through the inter webs. After all, the welfare of the human race can always be threatened by cyber security attacks and having suspicious activity acted upon is definitely important. However, this article also highlights that globally, general internet freedom is down for the wrong reasons. We have already seen here in America the FCC repealing net neutrality rules.
    We use basic freedoms of speech on social media. It has become second nature for many of us, and in some countries people cannot even publicly voice their opinion. That is one of the beauties of democracy abroad. Of course attacking others, threatening people, and proclaiming false information all come with that. However, it gives people chance to speak their mind respectfully without punishment. With many governments trying to “fight fake news” and in turn cleanse the “digital sphere” these freedoms are disappearing. Governments may be doing this in their best interest and try to convince people the reasoning behind it is logical. Unfortunately, it is hard to look past them controlling information and suppressing free speech.
    The most frightening aspect to me is the surveillance aspect. People always casually make snark comments about being watched from their computer and phone cameras. That is starting to become a scary possibility if not a reality already. The fact that 32 countries willingly attempt to manipulate online conversations is astonishing. These days, there is really no privacy on the internet. Morally, the government may justify it by attempting to seek out and destroy the predators and terrorists of the world. Yet everything any of us has ever said online has probably been read by someone we did not intend for it to be read by. It creates a feeling of vulnerability if you really think about it.
    Dictatorships have abolished the internet in some places. The people of those areas are completely held from all the benefits the internet offers. Even in the “freest” of democracies our use of the worldwide-web is beginning to be manipulated. One must question; is the internet a privilege of the people, subject to regulations by governments as they see fit? Or is it a natural right to all global citizens at this point?

  35. It is quite obvious that the development of the internet has led to the world being a completely different place. It has led to many opportunities for people all over the world to interact with one another along with being able to access information with the click of a button. Yet, with every good thing, there comes a down side. As mentioned in this article written by Casey Newton from The Verge, the use of the internet is continuously starting to be more of a means for many to manipulate, misinform, or harm others. The internet now is being ridden with numerous false news sources that spread propaganda in order to further a political ideology. Personally, I have become more and more aware of these hazardous sources of information through social media. Many times, I will find myself scrolling through twitter and will happen upon a story or article that is presenting a story or news in a way that can be easily twisted. One example of this would be only a year ago when Twitter had banned hundreds of Russian-linked accounts who were spreading propaganda and were promoting “malicious activity” ( Russia’s use of the internet on its own is a perfect instance of what Newton is trying to explain the world of in her article. This is the reason in which many countries are finding themselves limiting internet privileges and placing certain bans on the internet as they are finding it is causing more harm to the people rather than opportunities. As I watch the internet be twisted and warped for certain groups to attempt to brainwash the general population, I am saddened to my core. I have, like many others, found the use of social media to be an opportunity for people all over the world to act in a way that they never would have been able to. A few great examples could be found only recently in the last few years. In early 2017, thousands of women across the world connected together to protest for certain legislative actions for women rights, reform, and general human right issues. Eventually, we began to call this movement the “Women’s March” as we watched millions of people and dozens of celebrities and high figures connect with one another to promote a positive change. I had not been aware of this march occurring until I saw the hashtag of this worldwide movement trending all over Twitter and Instagram. Relatively, social media was a great factor in connecting people all over the middle east to partake in the Arab Spring which led to the essential liberation of millions ( The use of social media and the internet has allowed people all over the world to reach certain opportunities that they never would have been able to reach before. Today, it is incredibly heartbreaking to watch the internet be taken more and more advantage of as it has been proven to create changes in the world and assist those who are in desperate need.

  36. The Government is trying to get rid of fake news that has occurred all over the place on various internet and social media platforms. To me, the privacy of individuals are decreasing and I would almost feel as if the Government is trying to spy or stalk on me. I do not think that this is fair for anyone who uses the internet and social media on a daily basis. In other words, everybody is affected by this.
    Now, I can understand that the Government is trying to increase security throughout the country. However, at the same time the Government is trying to help the situation, they are only making things worse by not granting everyday citizens to their privacy rights. The Government is even making laws trying to reduce the freedom of what we as people can use the internet for and what we can search for within the internet platform. Some of the consequences that people have to deal with because of the reduction in internet freedom are terrifying and I was completely shocked when I first read the article. As an example from the article, the author states that “citizens were being murdered by mobs that had encountered misinformation spread through social media”. This feels unjust to me because these are innocent people that are being killed. It probably was not even their fault that the information in social media was inaccurate. It could be anybody who has done something of this magnitude to lead to unfortunate ends of lives. This just proves that social media and the internet in general can be a bad place if one is not careful with what they say or do on the internet. People who misuse social media or the internet can get themselves into a whole lot of trouble.
    When I think of using social media, whether it is Instagram or Snapchat, I would usually post things about all of the good things that are happening in my life and to not hurt anyone in any sort of way. However, there are those who decide to say controversial things on the internet that can affect someone directly or indirectly. The Government wants to try to take that sort of controversial stuff going on social media and the internet away and by doing that it reduces the amount of freedom that citizens have to use these different platforms. The only good thing that I could find is that people are going to be more secure when it comes to the internet, but that does not take away the fact that fake news will continue to come up on a daily basis. Whether or not this will end, well that remains to be seen. I personally don’t see this stopping anytime soon.

  37. The internet’s global expansion over the 21st century has been remarkable and has offered the world universal access to information on a scale never seen before. However, as the internet advances as a technology, the use of it does as well, and the biggest of governments, including the US, are finding ways to limit the general population freedom in using it. From my own perspective, the first example of this was the repeal of Net Neutrality. In an attempt for the FCC and big corporate America to cash in on the internet use of American Citizens, they took a 3 person vote in the FCC that took away internet freedom from 300 million Americans. In other countries around the world, government regulation is in place to control the search preferences of citizens and pollute their computers with propaganda and false information as a means of governmental-control. My personal theory as to why we are seeing more and more violations of internet freedom by governments may be to the age of the politicians in charge. Considering that most of the world’s politicians are fairly old(especially in the US), the ones who held office when the internet began its rise were oblivious to how it worked and how to manipulate it. As our politicians have changed and gotten younger, they are more adept to the workings of the internet and are more knowledgeable in the subject. Additionally, their apparent inability to protect the interests of their citizens should signal a stark change in how we vote for who represents us. Politicians will soon be campaigning on promises to keep our internet data safe and our internet free, and it is our duty to learn about and vote for politicians who are technologically advanced in their thinking. Internet privacy also happens to be a federal issue, and I believe that we may see many different internet privacy cases brought up in the Supreme Court that change the landscape of the internet. We as a society have to fight against the corporate manipulation and control of the internet, and I believe through the voting process is how we decide the future we want to have.

  38. As year pass by technology is always improving and updating constantly, but the access the community and citizens have to it is limited. According to Freedom House, a report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House is a pro-democracy think tank that said “today…. governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world.” Freedom House recommends that lawmakers implement stronger data protection laws, enforce international human rights law and impose sanctions on companies involved in surveillance. With this Freedom House called on the U.S. to introduce the Global Online Freedom Act, (GOFA )which was introduced by Republican Christopher Smith of New Jersey, he has been trying to approve this act by Congress from February 2006 to 2014 but it has failed to be approved. This act would allow internet freedom to those who are limited to internet access and would impose penalties on actions that restrict internet freedom by making sure no items can be used to carry out censorship, surveillance or internet freedom restrictions which are exported abroad. Falsified content is a genuine problem, some governments are increasingly using ‘Fake News’ as a pretense to consolidate their control over information and suppress dissent. Propaganda and fake news are poisoning the digital sphere, cutting off internet service is a draconian response, particularly at a time when citizens may need it the most to dispel rumors, talk to their loved ones, or avoid dangerous areas. Whatever the case may be internet access may serve to keep the public informed of the events going on in their country, but many governments control the information that their citizens are allowed to view and monopolize their country. Technology is supposed to be a user-friendly but as countries accept training and technology form China, Freedom House describes this as “an effort to export a system of censorship and surveillance around the world. The Chinese government implemented a sweeping cybersecurity law and introduced surveillance technology over the past year. As freedom conclude, if democracy is to survive the digital age, technology companies, governments, and civil society must work hand in hand to find a real solution to the problems of social media manipulation and abusive data collection.

  39. Technology used to be used as a tool to make our lives easier. Instead of reading newspapers we could listen to the radio; instead of having to do math by hand, we could use calculators. It was an alternative. But now it is how we run our lives and using it has become a necessity. So being able to trust technology has never been more important. When we hear words like fake news get thrown around we get nervous. We want to be able to trust the information that is in front of us. So I personally have been all for increasing the laws against fake news. I figured that the biggest problems from creating these laws would be related to how the journalists get the information. But I never imagined that it would backfire like this.
    Mike Abramowitz’s quote about how, “authoritarians and populists are using the fight against fake news as a pretext to jail prominent journalists and social media critics” really surprised me. I know that politicians are far from good but I never expected them to treat our right to true information so carelessly. I’ve been hearing about political corruption and wrongdoing all my life. Nothing from Watergate to Rob Ford has surprised me. But the fact the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is actually losing some of its freedoms is just jaw-dropping.
    This really makes me wonder how much information we are actually clueless to. People come up with ridiculous conspiracy theories like the Flat Earth Theory, and the New World Order Theory because they don’t trust the information they are given and are trying to find their own answers. We laugh and say it’s ridiculous, but after reading this article, I don’t know how much I trust it either.

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