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The news: Global internet freedom has declined for the 10th year in a row as governments use the coronavirus pandemic as cover to restrict people’s rights, according to a report by think tank Freedom House. Its researchers assessed 65 countries, accounting for 87% of internet users worldwide. The report covers the period from June 2019 to May 2020, but some key changes took place when the pandemic struck.  

The pandemic effect: In at least 20 countries, the pandemic was cited as a reason to introduce sweeping new restrictions on speech and arrest online critics. In 28, governments blocked websites or forced outlets, users, or platforms to censor information in order to suppress critical reporting, unfavorable health statistics or other content related to the coronavirus. In at least 45 of the countries studied, people were arrested as a result of their online posts about covid-19.

Many countries are also conducting increasingly

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The Freedom on the Net 2020 report, an assessment of 65 countries released Wednesday, found that the pandemic has accelerated a decline in free speech and privacy on the internet for the tenth consecutive year, and accused some governments of using the virus as a pretext to crack down on critical speech.

“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which is funded by the US government. “Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”

Amid the pandemic, internet connectivity has become a lifeline to essential information and services — from education platforms, to health care portals, employment opportunities and social interactions. But state and nonstate actors are also exploiting the crisis to erode freedoms online.
Nowhere has
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The Ex-PM’s petition calling for a royal commission into the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is proving rather too much for the Australian Parliamentary website. So many users have reported problems trying to sign it that even the site itself admits it’s in trouble.

The Rudd Petition is having a hard time

Kevin Rudd’s petition calls for a Royal Commission into the influence of News Corporation on the Australian media landscape. While the merits of that approach are certainly debatable as a control measure, what’s not debateable is that it’s proved conceptually very popular indeed. At the time of writing some 88,747 people had signed, according to the APH web site.

That number might be much higher, however, with numerous reports over the weekend that users trying to sign the petition couldn’t. The sheer weight of numbers trying to do so brought the APH website to its knees.

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The Ex-PM’s petition calling for a royal commission into the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is proving rather too much for the Australian Parliamentary website. So many users have reported problems trying to sign it that even the site itself admits it’s in trouble.

The Rudd Petition is having a hard time

Kevin Rudd’s petition calls for a Royal Commission into the influence of News Corporation on the Australian media landscape. While the merits of that approach are certainly debatable as a control measure, what’s not debateable is that it’s proved conceptually very popular indeed. At the time of writing some 88,747 people had signed, according to the APH web site.

That number might be much higher, however, with numerous reports over the weekend that users trying to sign the petition couldn’t. The sheer weight of numbers trying to do so brought the APH website to its knees.

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A judge has denied an attempt by content creators on TikTok to stop a ban of the app in the United States on Sunday, rejecting arguments the ban would cause “immediate, irreparable harm” if it is implemented as scheduled.

The trio of TikTok users, listed as Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alex Chambers, attempted to convince the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to issue a temporary restraining order. If granted, the order would have helped prevent the US government from proceeding to ban TikTok from the App Store and Google Play on Sunday.

In the court opinion, published on Sunday, the trio claimed they earned their living from TikTok, with each having a sizable audience of between 1.8 million and 2.7 million subscribers.

The group argues TikTok’s “For You” page is unique, as its algorithm enables “little-known creators” to be discovered by a wider

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