Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders publishes its updated “Enemies of the Internet” list each year. The report looks to shed light on the current state of the Internet, revealing which countries across the globe stand in the way of unfettered access to the wealth of information the Web has to offer. Places like North Korea and China are regulars on the list, as you might have guessed, but the 2014 version of this important report includes a troubling new addition: America.
Reporters Without Borders is clear in stating that the U.S. government as a whole is not the troubling issue here, but rather particular government agencies like the NSA. As you might have guessed, the string of leaked documents unearthed by Edward Snowden and all of the revelations that ensued is the cause of America’s newfound presence on RWB’s Internet enemy list.
“Identifying government units or agencies rather than entire governments as Enemies of the Internet allows us to draw attention to the schizophrenic attitude towards online freedoms that prevails in in [sic] some countries,” Reporters Without Borders wrote in its report. “Three of the government bodies designated by Reporters Without Borders as Enemies of the Internet are located in democracies that have traditionally claimed to respect fundamental freedoms: the Centre for Development of Telematics in India, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the United Kingdom, and the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States.”
The report continued, “The mass surveillance methods employed in these three countries, many of them exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, are all the more intolerable because they will be used and indeed are already being used by authoritarians countries such as Iran, China, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to justify their own violations of freedom of information.”
The full report is a fascinating and important read, and it can be found by following the link below in our source section.
For more on the all-too important issue global Web censorship, be sure to check out this Internet censorship world map.