Freedom House, an online privacy research, and advocate finds that online freedom of expression in 32 of the 65 countries since June 2014 has declined–namely in Libya, France, and Ukraine. Regarding a more global scale, the researchers found that 61 percent of the world’s population live in countries where criticism of the government or military is not tolerated. 58 percent of the world’s population live in countries where bloggers or journalists are jailed for sharing content with a political, social, or religious agenda.
Probably one of the scariest parts about censorship is the deletion of content. Blocked content still exists, especially if people use a VPN to access blocked content, but deleted content is a whole different story. In some ways, burning blog posts is like burning books–but digitally. Unfortunately, authorities in 42 of the 65 countries assessed by Freedom House required private companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing with political, religious, or social issues.
It’s becoming a new trend, a new way for governments to circumvent tools like VPN by directly deleting content itself. “Governments are increasingly pressuring individuals and the private sector to take down or remove offending content, as opposed to relying on blocking and filtering,” said Sanja Kelly, Freedom House’s project director. “They know that average users have become more technologically savvy and are often able to circumvent state-imposed blocks.” At Least by using VPN, people can still access outside content that cannot be deleted. That doesn’t make local content deletion any worse, however.
From Freedom House’s data, 18 countries were rated as “free”, while 28 were classified as “partly free” and 19 as “not free”. In an order of ranking from most free would be Iceland, Estonia, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United States and Japan. Keep in mind that just because there isn’t “censorship” per se, these countries–namely Australia, can still be giving away user data to government control. At the bottom of the list is China–which isn’t surprising. Syria, Iran, Cuba, and Ethiopia rest alongside China at the bottom.
To fight internet freedom, governments are also seeking to stigmatize encryption and security methods like VPN as instruments of terrorism. By banning tools like VPN, governments can actually cut off internet freedom. The only thing is, can the government beat out the power of VPN?
In response, TorGuard can only keep developing more services and features to fight internet censorship–and so far, we’ve been very successful with double-layered security Stealth VPN protocols that are invisible to governments and deep packet inspection techniques. We’re expanding our network, growing, and fighting for people to use the internet the way they want to wherever they are.