Profile image
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Your responsibility to protect U.S. digital rights is growing

Thursday, October 29, 2015 13:16
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)


Sam Rolley

Global Internet freedom is slipping away and, though the United States still enjoys relative online freedom, U.S. lawmakers don’t seem all that interested in keeping it that way.

Freedom House’s annual “Freedom of the Net” report was released Wednesday bringing bad news for global Internet free speech and privacy rights. According to the report’s analysis of the online censorship and digital spying policies of 65 governments, global Internet freedom has declined for the fifth year in a row.

The report concluded that in the past year:

Content removals increased: 

Authorities in 42 of the 65 countries assessed required private companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing with political, religious, or social issues, up from 37 the previous year.

Arrests and intimidation escalated:

Authorities in 40 of 65 countries imprisoned people for sharing information concerning politics, religion or society through digital networks.

Surveillance laws and technologies multiplied: 

Governments in 14 of 65 countries passed new laws to increase surveillance since June 2014 and many more upgraded their surveillance equipment.

Governments undermined encryption, anonymity:

Democracies and authoritarian regimes alike stigmatized encryption as an instrument of terrorism, and many tried to ban or limit tools that protect privacy.

The free speech watchdog said that particularly concerning is a growing trend of governments harassing, intimidating or arresting online content creators as well as the increased Internet surveillance.

“Now that we’re seeing governments target content at the source, it’s really concerning; both in the sense that that content is removed forever, and also the pressure they bring with that — on social media companies, on individuals,” Laura Reed, a research analyst for the Freedom on the Net project, told Voice of America.

Compared to many of its international peers, the U.S. still earned high marks from the report for Internet freedom. But yesterday’s Senate passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that encourages tech companies to hand over user info to the government without judicial oversight, poses a major threat to U.S. citizens’ digital freedom.

As the “Freedom of the Net” report, compiled before the Senate decision, noted:

Civil liberties advocates have heavily criticized the bill, in particular contending that it authorizes too much information sharing between companies and the government, allows companies to monitor all of their users’ activities and communications, does not adequately restrict use of CISA-derived information, has poor liability protections for consumers, and authorizes companies to employ potentially dangerous counter-measures when hacked.

The report also said that Americans should be concerned about law enforcement officials’ ongoing crusade to thwart encryption technologies that are making personal digital content more secure than ever before.

From the report:

Following major product announcements by Apple and Google in September 2014, a debate emerged between law enforcement officials, technology experts and privacy advocates about whether companies should be allowed to market products with strong encryption that do not preserve the government’s ability to access decrypted versions of those encrypted communications.

High-ranking officials including the FBI Director, the Attorney General, and the Director of the NSA have called on technology companies to find a technical solution to the problem, threatening to seek congressional action if necessary.

This isn’t news to regular Personal Liberty® readers, as we’ve warned of law enforcement disdain for user privacy in several articles. 

For those who haven’t read up on this incredible threat to user privacy, here are a few places to start…………

“Government officials really want easy access to your digital data”

“White House memo exposes working group dedicated to destroying digital privacy”

“Former Google CEO: Encryption could eradicate Internet censorship within a decade”

“Report: CIA spent a decade trying to spy on iPhones, iPads”

“FBI again demands Silicon Valley help it spy on Americans”

“Intelligence officials use ‘lone wolf’ terrorists to justify calls for more spying power”

“DHS Secretary: Questions about Americans’ privacy are ‘beyond my competence’

“FBI director wants government to force cellphone companies to work for law enforcement”

Law enforcement isn’t just attacking digital freedom and privacy from a policy standpoint.  Cops on the street are also doing their part to erode user freedoms.

As Freedom House noted:

[M]ore reports of police detaining, harassing, and threatening individuals — including professional journalists — for documenting police actions on smartphones or with cameras has called into question the degree to which [free speech] is fully protected.

Journalists for online publications were harassed and temporarily detained during demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where people gathered to protest police violence against the black community in the United States.

This is also an issue that has been covered extensively on the pages of Personal Liberty®:

“Confiscating camera phone costs cops $250,000”

“Police union head wants citizens to stop filming police”

“Ferguson events offer a reminder: You can photograph police on the job”

“NYPD settles with man arrested for photographing police; reminds officers they cannot object to being filmed”

Please take some time to read through the stories listed above if you’ve failed to stay abreast of the many threats to your digital privacy and free speech. 

Alternative media outlets like this one are too often written off and accused by the mainstream of exaggerating freedom threats associated with legislation like CISA, ‘government’ attempts to undermine encryption and law enforcement overreactions to being filmed.

But if the nation has any chance to retain its relative Internet freedom, it’s because of informed Americans who offer resistance to government’s attempts to erode digital freedoms no matter how gradual or inconsequential they seem in the moment. 

As an alternative media outlet whose ability to criticize and call attention to government’s unconstitutional actions hinges largely on digital free speech, keeping readers informed about threats to internet freedom is personal. And our readers do their part by supporting our sponsors and being part of the informed resistance.

If CISA is fully implemented and law enforcement wins its battle to undermine encryption, you can bet that the U.S. Internet freedom ranking will be much worse this time next year.

To learn more about protecting your personal online freedom and privacy, check out Bob Livingston’s “Ultimate Privacy Guide” for tips to protect your Internet activity from snoops and criminals working at behest of both government and private interests. Get this free e-book by signing up for the Personal Liberty Digest® today!

NESARA- Restore America – Galactic News


Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.