Flix Friday, January 16, 2015 - 05:30
According to the latest annualĀ Freedom on the Net report by Freedom House, India has been given the status of being partly free on the net. Freedom on the Net 2014 is an annual report which conducts comprehensive study of the internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014. The global struggle for Freedom on the Net has declined for a fourth consecutive year, as new laws criminalized online dissent and legitimized overboard surveillance and data collection, while more people were arrested for legitimate online activities than ever before, said the Freedom House press release. The key findings of the report stated that, between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities. Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of the 11 countries examined in the region. Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on the conflict in Syria and anti-government protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms. According to the report, India has recorded 15 percent in Internet penetration and 71 percent Mobile penetration while the Freedom on the Net score of 42 is 5 points less from the score recorded in 2013. Image Courtesy: Freedom House The key developments that have been recorded in India according to the report are that India became the third largest internet consumer after China and United States. The SC is assessing the constitutionality of provisions in the IT Act and secondary legislation that restrict content and criminalize speech online. The SC also curtailed arrests for online expression under the IT Act, though at least nine criminal complaints were filed for social media posts. The Central Monitoring System, a mass surveillance program which enables real-time monitoring of digital communication, is being put in place without judicial oversight

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