The 2014 version of the important “Enemies of the Internet” list includes two disturbing – and not so surprising – additions: the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Media freedom watchdog group ‘Reporters Without Borders’ released the annual report to determine internet freedom across the world, revealing which countries have the most and the least unregulated access to the World Wide Web.
Censorship champions such as China, Russia andIranare a common sight in the list. However, the inclusion of the U.S. and the U.K. – if not shocking – is a bit embarrassing, at least for the democratic administrations running the two countries that boastfully purport to be the bastions of the liberty and independence.
RWD states the governments as a whole are not responsible for making it to the list. But theiragencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are primarily to be blamed.
As the readers might’ve guessed the cause by now, the data mining documents leaked by ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden haveruined the United States’ reputation – both online and otherwise.Theexpose on decades-old mass surveillance on phone records and online activities of American citizens and people around the world caused global outrage last year in June.
Moreover, the RWD report comes at a time when sources close to Snowden have revealed that the NSA built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place.
A similar report entitled “Freedom on the Net” released in October, 2013 found that massive spying programs negatively affected U.S. ranking in the list.
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, stated in an article about web censorship that across the world, governments will increasingly seek control over the internet.
The latest RWB reportwith two additions of democratic world champions definitely reinforces Schmidt’s analysis.