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Freedom House’s recent survey says Estonia has the greatest internet freedom in the world – and already for the 3rd time in a row.

This 3rd edition of Freedom on the Net provides analytical reports and numerical ratings for 47 countries worldwide. The countries were chosen to provide a representative sample with regards to geographical diversity and economic development, as well as varying levels of political and media freedom. The ratings and reports included in this study particularly focus on developments that
took place between January 1, 2011 and May 1, 2012.

The level of internet freedom was examined by taking into consideration three important fields:
1) Obstacles to access – including infrastructural and economic barriers to access; governmental efforts to block specific applications or technologies; legal and ownership control over internet and mobile phone access providers.
2) Limits on Content — including filtering and blocking of websites; other forms of censorship and self-censorship; manipulation of content; the diversity of online news media; and usage of digital media for social and political activism.
3) Violations of User Rights — including legal protections and restrictions on online activity; surveillance and limits on privacy; and repercussions for online activity.
The survey put Estonia at the top of the list – noting the country’s high developed online culture and the fact that content restrictions are among the lightest in the world.

The United States, Germany, Australia and Hungary followed Estonia at the “free” end of the scale, while Iran, Cuba, China and Syria bottomed out the list as “not free.”

About the authors
Freedom House is an independent private organization supporting the expansion of freedom throughout the world.

Read the full article

26 Sep 2012