(Washington) Governments around the world are using the pandemic as a justification to step up surveillance and better address disagreements on the Internet, the NGO Freedom House said in a report Wednesday.
Posted Oct 14, 2020 at 7:07 am
According to the report of the Washington-based human rights organization, authorities in dozens of countries have used the COVID-19 pandemic to "justify extensive surveillance powers and the deployment of new technologies. That were previously considered intrusive."
"The pandemic is accelerating society's dependence on digital technologies as the internet becomes less and less free, "said Michael Abramowitz, president of the NGO.
" Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily transformed (into a instrument of) political repression. "
Freedom House notes that Internet freedoms are declining for the tenth consecutive year, based on an index it compiles for 65 countries. China is in last place for the sixth consecutive year.  Of the approximately 3.8 billion internet users, only 20% live in countries where online activity is free is, 32% in countries where it is only "partial" and 35% in countries where it is only "partial". countries where they are not, according to the report of the organization whose index includes 65 countries.
The report finds a significant decline in countries where authorities have shut down the Internet, such as Burma, Kyrgyzstan, India and Rwanda.