Free­dom on the Net

Gauging and classifying freedom online - in Germany and throughout the world

The freedom of the internet is measured every year by the American non-profit organization Freedom House. The report is regularly covered in the press and media. We have been involved in this project for many years, specifically with evaluating the situation in Germany.

The chal­lenge

The rights that we enjoy offline must also be pro­tect­ed online. Free­dom of opin­ion and the press, the right to pri­va­cy, free­dom of assem­bly and asso­ci­a­tion — these human rights are pro­tect­ed by inter­na­tion­al treaties — on-and offline — and form the basis of our free and demo­c­ra­t­ic order. Ide­al­ly, the inter­net offers the unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to exer­cise these rights in a glob­al­ly net­worked space. But many states use dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to restrict rights, for exam­ple by estab­lish­ing sys­tems of mass sur­veil­lance, cen­sor­ing con­tent online or restrict­ing access to the internet.

Our approach

In order to record the devel­op­ment of free­dom on the inter­net, it must be mea­sured by means of some objec­tive scale. This includes con­tin­u­ous­ly observ­ing the most impor­tant deci­sions, events and devel­op­ments in Ger­many. We clas­si­fy these on the basis of a com­pre­hen­sive, com­par­a­tive, qual­i­ta­tive and glob­al­ly uni­form set of indi­ca­tors and eval­u­ate them in terms of their impact on free­dom online.

The result

The Wash­ing­ton-based NGO Free­dom House has been pub­lish­ing annu­al coun­try-spe­cif­ic reports since 2009, which deal with the level of use and free­dom of the inter­net in most states of the world. iRights.Lab is a long-stand­ing part­ner in this endeav­or, pro­duc­ing reports for Ger­many. In our 2018 report, we con­clud­ed that Ger­many improved by one per­cent­age point rel­a­tive to the pre­vi­ous year and scored a total of 19 points (0 = unre­strict­ed free­dom, 100 = not free).

More on this topic can be found at (Ger­man)


Freedom House

Das Lab

Schützen­straße 8
D‑10117 Berlin
Tele­fon: +49 30 40 36 77 230
Fax: +49 30 40 36 77 260