The UK came fifth in a global table of Internet freedom.
Freedom House carried out the Freedom on the Net 2011 report to determine which countries let their citizens surf free, and which enforced stricter levels of censorship on the web.
The UK came fifth in terms of freedom, scoring a total of 25 “freedom” points out of 100 (lower is better). Nations with 30 points or less are designated “free”, from 31 to 60 is “partly free”, and 61 or above “not free” (or as we like to think of it, hideously repressed).
We were behind Australia (18), Germany (16), the US (13) and top of the table Estonia, with nil points – sorry, had a Eurovision flashback there, they actually scored 10.
The least free place on the net was Iran with a score of 89. Scores in the eighties were also awarded to Burma, Cuba, China and Tunisia, followed by Vietnam and Saudi Arabia who managed to get scores in the seventies.
The worst net freedoms in Europe award went to Belarus with a score of 69, only a point ahead of Saudi Arabia on 70. It’s interesting that the both the most (Estonia) and least free countries in Europe used to be part of the Soviet Union…
Each country received an individual write-up, and Freedom House made the following observations about the UK: “The United Kingdom has high levels of internet penetration, and online freedom of expression is generally respected.”
“However, both the government and private parties have presented ongoing challenges to free speech rights in connection with antiterrorism efforts, public order, and intellectual property.”
The Digital Economy Act was singled out as the biggest UK controversy, rushed through on the final day of the outgoing Labour government. Freedom House noted the dangers within regarding website blocking and potentially cutting accused illegal file-sharers off from the net.