The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in global internet freedom. For the 10th consecutive year, users have experienced an overall deterioration in their rights, and the phenomenon is contributing to a broader crisis for democracy worldwide. Three notable trends punctuated an especially dismal year for internet freedom. First, political leaders used the pandemic as a pretext to limit access to information. Second, authorities cited COVID-19 to justify expanded surveillance powers and the deployment of new technologies that were once seen as too intrusive. The third trend has been the transformation of a slow-motion “splintering” of the internet into an all-out race toward “cyber sovereignty,” with each government imposing its own internet regulations in a manner that restricts the flow of information across the regions.
The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in global internet freedom a broader crisis for democracy worldwide.
Global IndexesOct 15, 2020