The US and the UK have made it onto RSF’s “enemies of internet freedom” annual list for the first time:
United States: This is the first time the US has made it onto RSF’s list. While the US government doesn’t censor online content, and pours money into promoting Internet freedom worldwide, the National Security Agency’s unapologetic dragnet surveillance and the government’s treatment of whistleblowers have earned it a spot on the index.
United Kingdom: The European nation has been dubbed by RSF as the “world champion of surveillance” for its recently-revealed depraved strategies for spying on individuals worldwide. The UK also joins countries like Ethiopia and Morocco in using terrorism laws to go after journalists. Not noted by RSF, but also important, is the fact that the UK is also cracking down on legal pornography, forcing Internet users to opt-in with their ISP if they wish to view it and creating a slippery slope toward overblocking. This is in addition to the government’s use of an opaque, shadowy NGO to identify child sexual abuse images, sometimes resulting instead in censorship of legitimate speech.
I have lost count of the ways what these two countries do with one hand completely undermines what they do with the other – and that applies to a whole range of policies aside from internet freedom.