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The Internet Social Networks

Internet Freedom Wanes As Governments Target Messaging, Social Apps ( 60

Roughly two-thirds of the world's internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank. The report adds that internet freedom declined worldwide for a sixth consecutive year in 2016 with the governments increasingly crack down on social media services and messaging apps. From a report on NPR: "In a new development, the most routinely targeted tools this year were instant messaging and calling platforms, with restrictions often imposed during times of protests or due to national security concerns," the report says. WhatsApp emerged as the most-blocked app, facing restrictions in 12 of the 65 studied countries. The report's scope covers the experiences of some 88 percent of the world's Internet users. And of all 65 countries reviewed, Internet freedom in 34 -- more than half -- has been on a decline over the past year. Particular downturns were marked in Uganda, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador and Libya. Facebook users were arrested in 27 countries, more than any other app or platform. And such arrests are spreading. Since June of last year, police in 38 countries have arrested people for what they said on social media -- surpassing even the 21 countries, where people were arrested for what they published on more traditional platforms like blogs and news sites. "Some supposed offenses were quite petty, illustrating both the sensitivity of some regimes and the broad discretion given to police and prosecutors under applicable laws," the report says.
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Internet Freedom Wanes As Governments Target Messaging, Social Apps

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  • by BigBuckHunter ( 722855 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @03:04PM (#53283845)
    If only a completely invisible network existed where people were not only anonymous, but had built in protections so that government's/ISPs couldn't tell if you were connected to the network in the first place..... Oh... Wait... We've had it for a decade.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      that was before you wanted every one to see your ducklip pics to gain some measure of worth.

    • I have a hard time believing that anyone thinks that any network is anonymous. Here is a hint: it ain't. If a network was anonymous it wouldn't be able to route data.
    • Freenet [] is for the technological elite, not for normal people. If it ever becomes popular, it will be easy to squash by making it a crime to have the software installed on your device, or to forward messages. Governments can infiltrate Freenet just as easily as they infiltrated TOR. Most likely, they already have.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Yes what was once a task for the NSA and GCHQ is now a per case budget for the federal police in most nations.
        Collect it all is now policy on any network.
  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @03:11PM (#53283919)

    I could see WhatsApp using this in advertisements to promote that they are so good at spreading information that repressive governments try to shut them down. They could advertise free speech. Wait, aren't they owned by Facebook? Nevermind.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @03:19PM (#53283973) Homepage Journal

    You have no idea how much we unconstitutionally spy on you.

    No, it's worse than you even think you know.

    Welcome to the Stasi of the 21st Century.

    • What a joke. The corporations have been "spying" on you for decades and you never gave a shit then. Why start now?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Corporations don't have the authority to send armed thugs to your house and throw you in jail.
        (wait for it)
        They have to bribe, er, lobby the government for that.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well, surely, with for profit prisons, we only need to add for profit police to fully allow corporations the authority to send armed thugs to your house. Of course, the defense contractors that are currently suppling protective services to our military in the middle east (Black Water) would love to expand their market to the USA.

      • The corporations have been "spying" on you for decades and you never gave a shit then. Why start now?

        When corporations spy on me, it means I am more likely to see advertisements for products I like.

        When governments spy on me, it means men with guns are more likely to kick down my front door at 3am.

        I can control which corporations I interact with. I have far less control over my country of citizenship.

        • I can control which corporations I interact with.

          That's not really true. They share info all the time. And if you look at their investment portfolios they share ownership also, so your money spreads far and wide. And strangers can post your name and picture on facebook or any other site.

          We can vote in or out the government of our choice. We can choose politicians that aren't led around by the nose by a corporate master and stop reelecting the ones that are, if we so choose.

        • Except corporations sell their data about you to the government. And teh fact that it's their data about you, not your data, means there are no 4th amendment violations.

          And you don't really control what data corporations gather about you. They've successfully turned so many people into willing informants that they primarily collect what other people post about you. Even if you're an avid facebook user, what you post is never going to give facebook as much data as your friend graph and the data it has on

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            Even the domestic fix just offers more color of law fun.
            "NSA Can Access More Phone Data Than Ever" (Oct 20, 2016,) []
            "As a result, the NSA no longer has to worry about keeping up its own database .... the percentage of available records has shot up from 30 percent to virtually 100. "
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          You seem to fail to grasp that corporations are controlling most democracies, so, hmm, when the corporations are the government, where exactly do you go?

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @04:03PM (#53284353)

      You have no idea how much we unconstitutionally spy on you.

      No, it's worse than you even think you know.

      You mean to say they actually do keep a collection of videos solely dedicated to me changing my underwear that is broadcast nationwide in China? I KNEW IT! In your face psychiatrists! ;)

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @03:38PM (#53284129) Journal
    Facebook is a walled garden, where you get all the freedom you pay for.
  • The problem that FB has requiring real names leads to arrests. On the other hand, people with fake names, like me, Brad Majors (Damn it, Janet!) can cause their own problems as people feel they can say any harsh thing they want.

    I just use FB to logon to some sites that require FB.

  • Now that dissent is patriotic, once again (instead of being racist and sexist), efforts to criminalize "hate speech" and the like should stop for a while. Internet freedom — at least, in the US — should be Ok for at least one generation.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      dissent rooted in bigotry is bigoted.
      dissent rooted in opposition to bigotry is not.

      take your false equivalence and shove it where the sun don't shine.

  • In order to achieve some level of real freedom online we need steganography and decentralized distributed anonymous systems. Even among countries / regions / areas which we seem to have more freedom it's not nearly adequate nor does it exist across the board for everyone.

    Particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and similar certain groups are excluded, marginalized, and imprisoned who are a threat to no one. Those who've used or sold drugs are an excellent no-longer-as-stigmatiz

  • It's (not very) ironic that this article appears directly before the online cyberbullying article.

    Even ignoring places like China which heavily censure what people can do online, it's becoming more clear by the day that giving people the freedom to say whatever they want online without accountability is a bloody nightmare.

    Cyberbullying has become prolific. Twitter might as well be bought out by 4chan. One news outlet after another is shuttering their comments section because the discussions are basically

  • by JWW ( 79176 )

    1) free and open internet
    2) government mandated web site fact checking

  • Did anybody get arrested for posting on Slashdot?