Tag Archives: cybercensorship

World Day Against Cyber Censorship

Today we celebrate World Day Against Cyber Censorship, a major online event that focuses on raising awareness of the various ways governments around the world restrict and censor free expression on the Internet. First recognized on 12 March 2008 at the request of Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International, this day serves as an important opportunity for reflection and action against online censorship. At FlokiNET, we join in the celebration of World Day Against Cyber Censorship and reaffirm our commitment to fostering an Internet space that values freedom of expression.

According to freedomhouse.org, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., best known for its policy advocacy on issues of democracy, political freedom, and human rights, the following key findings were noted in the past year: 

Global internet freedom on the decline

For the 13th year in a row, global internet freedom declined, with Iran facing increased digital repression, including internet shutdowns and the blocking of apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, aimed at suppressing anti-government protests. Myanmar almost overtook China as the world’s worst internet freedom environment, a title China held for nine years. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte used an anti-terrorism law to suppress critical news sites, signalling a worrying deterioration.

Multiple attacks on freedom of expression

Around the world, attacks on free expression surged, with 55 out of 70 countries experiencing legal repercussions for online expression. More alarmingly, 41 countries reported physical attacks or killings linked to online expression. The severity peaked in Myanmar and Iran, where death sentences were handed down for crimes related to online expression. Belarus and Nicaragua saw harsh repression, with dictators Alexander Lukashenko and Daniel Ortega resorting to harsh prison sentences to stifle online speech.

AI and disinformation

AI poses a significant threat to online spaces, with 47 governments doubling down on the use of commentators to manipulate discussions. In at least 16 countries, AI-generated text, audio and images have been used to shape narratives, smear opponents and influence public discourse.

AI and online censorship

AI is enabling governments, particularly authoritarian regimes, to increase online censorship through technologies such as chat bots. In 21 countries, legal frameworks require digital platforms to use machine learning to suppress disfavored speech. Despite these advances, 41 governments continue to block websites protected by freedom of expression standards.

Protecting internet freedom 

Protecting internet freedom is crucial in the face of increasing AI-driven digital repression. While private companies are contributing to self-regulation, concerns about human rights remain. Democratic policymakers must work with global civil society experts to establish human rights-based standards for AI development and deployment.

What can you do? 

In the fight against cyber censorship, consider taking the following steps:

Support, educate yourself and others, and advocate for internet freedom: Get involved in advocacy efforts, support organizations that promote Internet freedom, and stay informed about issues related to online censorship.
You can stay informed by following organizations such as the National Coalition Against Censorship, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Freedom House, Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Use encrypted communication tools: Use encrypted messaging services and email platforms to secure your communications and protect sensitive information, such as Signal, Element and Proton Mail. 

Support decentralized platforms: Explore and promote decentralized social media platforms and communication tools that are less susceptible to centralized control and censorship. Some platforms we recommend are Mastodon and Matrix for anti-censorship communication.

Stay informed about online safety: Keep up to date with the latest developments in online security, use strong passwords and regularly update your software to mitigate potential cyber threats. Get the latest news and updates on cyber security from sources like KrebsOnSecurity, Schneier on Security and Ars Technica.

Access censored content (if blocked in your region): Use tools such as Tor for anonymous browsing and VPN as a secure tunnel for your internet traffic to access censored content, giving you a safe and private way to browse the internet without restrictions.

Have any questions or suggestions? Let us know at info@flokinet.is or on our social media channels.