Internet freedom faces countless threats. That is the result of the latest “Freedom on the Net” report from the Washington think tank Freedom House. Once again, the iRights.Lab has drawn up the section of the report that looks at Germany.
State censorship, blocked internet services, jail terms for comments criticising the government. These are just a few examples that illustrate the threats facing all of our freedom on the internet. These are not isolated phenomena, as the past year’s “Freedom on the Net” report makes clear. This compact sketch makes a summary of the situation in individual countries and presents them graphically. This quickly makes it clear where urgent action is needed.
The iRights.Lab permanently analyses the events and developments on this score in Germany in particular, and their social consequences. Henning Lahmann, Senior Policy Advisor, and Philipp Otto, Founder and Executive Director of the iRights.Lab, have contributed to their third Report on Germany in a row (PDF, ~0,5 MB).
They cite the decision of the German Federal Internet Agency to give Deutsche Telekom exclusive access to vectoring technology for broadband development as one of the three most important events in the year. This decision led many to fear the development of a monopoly on the market. Other negative events included the judicial inquiry against Netzpolitik.org bloggers and journalists Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister as well as the introduction of data retention (VDS).
In general, though, there is a positive balance-sheet for the year, as local services like Facebook or Twitter can be used without restriction and cases of state censorship are unheard of. That means that while Germany comes off very well in comparison with countries like China, Syria, or Turkey, it has nevertheless fallen back to fifth place. Freedom of information and speech are precious things, which require tireless defence. That means that we need not only to monitor social, but also technical developments, so that appropriate measures can be taken in good time.
To learn more about internet freedom, download the Freedom on the Net 2016 report from the Freedom House website as a PDF ( ~4 MB) or look up the online version. Philipp Otto and Henning Lahmann from the iRights.Lab have also written the Report on Germany for Freedom on the Net 2017. It is currently in the process of being reviewed and will be published together with the whole report in the final quarter of this year.