The coronavirus pandemic is part of the dramatic decline in internet freedom around the world. “If the conclusion of the new NGO report Freedom house, published Wednesday October 14, is not surprising, it remains very worrying. ” For the tenth consecutive year, Internet users have experienced an overall deterioration in their rights “, Explains the study, which runs for the year 2020.

Three liberticidal tendencies

In the era of Covid-19, the NGO identifies three trends against Internet freedom. ” First, political leaders have used the pandemic as a pretext to limit access to information ”, Notes the report. From the blocking of certain independent news sites to the arrest of whistleblowers to network cuts, ” governments around the world have failed in their obligation to promote a vibrant and trusted online public sphere Freedom House analyzes.

Technological abuse?

The second point directly concerns the pandemic. The coronavirus is a means, for the authorities, to ” justify the expansion of surveillance powers and the deployment of new technologies that were once considered too intrusive », Develops the report. This trend was seen in France with the deployment of surveillance drones by the police services during confinement, ultimately declared illegal by the Council of State in the aftermath of deconfinement.

In general, the report shows that “ governments and private entities are increasing their use of artificial intelligence (AI), biometric surveillance and big data tools to make decisions that affect the economic, social and political rights of individuals “. Which reveals, according to the NGO, a “ lack of transparency, independent oversight and remedies “.

The Internet gradually “exploded”

Finally, the latest trend observed relates to geopolitical considerations around the ” cybernetic sovereignty “. According to the report, ” each government imposes its own regulations on the Internet in a way that restricts the flow of information across national borders “. Consequence: there is a gradual “explosion” of the Internet. This phenomenon has collided head-on with the desire to harmonize technical protocols, security standards and trade regulations around the world since the beginnings of the Web.

Source : Freedom house

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