Every year, Reporters Without Borders publishes a list of “Enemies of the Internet,” designed to draw attention to countries that disrupt the freedom of information with propaganda, surveillance, and censorship. For the very first time, that list now includes the United States of America.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the US would make the cut, given the revelations that Edward Snowden has provided over the past year. Still, it sends a powerful message to see the country on the same list as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and the “Great Firewall” of China. However, the US isn’t the only superpower that’s new for 2014. The UK and India are also being accused of mass surveillance, and Russia of both surveillance and censorship.
Reporters without Borders notes that government agencies like the NSA, rather than entire governments, may be the “enemies” in question, but the organization seems to worry that those governments are setting a bad example by tolerating such behavior:
“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.”
In a timely move, the US government just relinquished part of its control over the internet today. The US Chamber of Commerce will no longer have oversight of ICANN, the organization that manages IP addresses, domain names, and other administrative functions.
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