Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Australia Ranked Fourth In Internet Freedom

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the have-you-seen-our-town's-giant-blindfold? dept.

Australia 221

mjwx writes "A report published by Freedom House has placed Australia in fourth in Internet Freedom, below Estonia, the United States and Germany. Freedom House highlights the lack of actual censorship in Australia pointing out that the highly unpopular proposed ISP level censorship has been shelved since the 2010 Australian election. The Freedom House report is available here."

cancel ×

221 comments

Below Germany? (4, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903426)

I'm pretty sure Germany has actively filtered their internet before, and possibly still continue to do it. As for America, hello ICE domain seizures? Wtf.

Re:Below Germany? (4, Informative)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903464)

I'm pretty sure Germany filters out anything mentioning that party that was real big in Germany a few generations back..

Re:Below Germany? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903482)

I hear it heils from another epoch.

HAR HAR HAR see what I did thar?

Re:Below Germany? (1, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903588)

No.

That's a pretty stupid statement. If you want to look to active denial of past activities, look to Japan.

BTW, how's the native population doing in the States?

Re:Below Germany? (2)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903672)

From my experience the Germans are largely not in denial at all, but are rather overly apologetic for and vehemently opposed to the 'nazi' idea. This serious opposition is probably why the OP might be talking about filtering 'nazi' web media. I don't know if it is true, but from my experience, denial wouldn't be the reasoning for it.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904056)

Really? I've never been able to find a German whose family were Nazis (according to their own account). Since almost all Germans were Nazis (again, according to everyone who isn't German) it sounds like denial to me.

I also find it interesting that you quoted 'nazi', we aren't talking about the soup 'nazi' we are talking about actual Nazis.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

pyrosine (1787666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904320)

The Nazis were a political party therefore very few Germans were Nazis unless you're trying to suggest it was impossibly large. Of course, this is different to support as most Germans saw it as a good change in a time of depression at the start, but then the censorship started, along with persecution.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904322)

Well, thats because your grandparents do not come out and proudly state they are 'nazis'. The outmost you would get is: "Not everything was bad under Adolf." (just as you would get: "Not everything was bad in the GDR.")
Calling somebody a nazi is a heavy accusation, which you wont base on such a vague statement.
Also, "being a nazi" is not binary. Take for example Erwin Rommel: He refused to obey an direct order to kill prisoners, he covered the assassination plot against Hitler, but being a soldier long before the nazis even came into existence, he lead many operations supporting them.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904260)

Actually, I'm German, and the Germans still are EXACTLY the same as back then: Tons of passive sheeple who complain a lot, but would never ever actually actively do anything about it. And a few loud extremist retards who lead them.
It's just that nowadays, most extremists go left instead of right. That's all.
But if a extremist goes right (Sarrazin being an example), they still follow exactly like back then.
Right now, it seems that it becomes fashionable again, to go right. With all the "recession" and such. (Recession for the people, of course. Not for the companies and government, who both boom right know, unknown to most of the population, but proven by hard numbers.)

Re:Below Germany? (3, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903716)

It wasn't a stupid statement, it was a poorly worded statement.

Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany. So are swastikas, and pretty much anything related to the nazis outside of "bad things, very bad things, happened in the early half of the 20th century". I'm exaggerating but this is fucking slashdot and only a mindless pedant would misinterpret me as badly as you have.

The fact is Germany *does* censor their internet, and the content they remove *is* related to that party that was pretty big a few generations back. In other words, what I said is accurate, just not very precise -- I didn't expect, but should have I suppose, that some asshole would come by and think I was making claims that are so obviously not fucking true that even an idiot would understand that that wasn't what I was saying. Censorship is not denialism, censorship is simply not allowing certain things to be said or seen; Germany engages in censorship, regardless of whether or not the things they censor are things that any decent person would think shouldn't be said or heard. That doesn't make it magically become not-censorship.

Blow Germany? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903856)

Eugenics, and a few of its kindred cousins, however are alive and well. Not necessarily in GMB, but 'the west' never fully divested itself of the ideas; even after the NAZIs gave us a front row seat in how badly these things can go.

In Canada - I'm from - we have a leading political party that is as much at home with the eugenics ideals as the Tea Party is in the US. Most European nations have some political movement that is only a scratch or two away from this nonsense. They are singing to a choir, and the real trick is to fix the choir.

If Germany does so well to put this to rest, good for them, but it isn't the solution. A modicum of education - real education, not that blended crap to make the fundamentalists happy - and a societal urge to push the racist instinct into the margins is the only way to stop it. Otherwise, sit back and wait for it to happen all over again. History has no sense of humour whatsoever.

Decent people needn't suffer from racist hatred; it is a learned trait has deep roots in ignorance. We already know how to fix that, we just have to get the ne'er do wells out of the picture. Fundamentalists Anonymous has a cure!

Re:Blow Germany? (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903894)

Eugenics, and a few of its kindred cousins, however are alive and well. Not necessarily in GMB, but 'the west' never fully divested itself of the ideas; even after the NAZIs gave us a front row seat in how badly these things can go.

Interestingly, one only has to look at the origins of marriage counselling (e.g. Paul Popenoe, Robert Dickinson) and Planned Parenthood (Margaret Sanger, Abraham & Hannah Stone, etc) in the US to see the connection...

Re:Blow Germany? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904298)

Annoying, really. Eugenics really had some potential for doing good - just a matter of convincing those with genetic diseases to not breed, and in a few generations they could be almost eliminated. But then the Nazis had to screw things up by taking the idea to extremes and mixing in a lot of unscientific rubbish about racial superiority, and they tarished the idea so much that it hasn't been taken seriously since.

I've not heard of the Stones, but I gather Sanger was interested in contraception more as a tool of social reform than genetic tweeking. She wanted to stop the poor from breeding so heavily, as she viewed their high birth rate as one of the key things that kept them in poverty. Get them down from six children to just one, and they'd be more able to afford to get the one properly raised, educated, employed and no longer poor. Not true eugenics, as she was concerned only with socioeconomic factors rather than genetic.

Re:Blow Germany? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904214)

"Eugenics, and a few of its kindred cousins, however are alive and well. Not necessarily in GMB, but 'the west' never fully divested itself of the ideas; even after the NAZIs gave us a front row seat in how badly these things can go."

That is probably because Eugenics itself is solidly based in science. Eugenics is practiced indiscriminately and with great consistent and proven success across the board in animal breeding practices. This is most easily seen in dog breeds because canine genetics are among the most responsive to breeding. Eugenics is often wrongly associated with race. Eugenics really is selective breeding for behavior as opposed to direct physical traits. No more no less.

Nazi eugenics was selection based on made up criteria. For instance, jews were culled based on perceived behaviors without any valid evidence that these negative traits existed in the first place. Western Eugenics was at least based on demonstrated criminal behavior rather than a political blame game that pointed the finger at an entire subset of the population for all a societies problems. Race simply is not a valid distinction for any purpose be it for laws, population statistics, or breeding criteria.

You are right that Eugenics still exists. In reality, that is what the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole amount to. Either prevents further breeding based on demonstrated behavior.

None of that is to say that I agree with the idea of selectively breeding humans even with valid criteria. But if one values the success of the species over the success of the individual a case can be made for Eugenics using valid criteria. There isn't any logically consistent value system that supports selection based on bogus criteria like race.

Re:Blow Germany? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904316)

The Nazis screwed up their science. It was already rather limited at the time, with little understanding of genetics, but then they threw in a lot of politically motivated nonsense about how superior their master race was. Eugenics to them was largely just an excuse. They wern't doing it right.

Race shouldn't really factor into it, except for a few genetic things like sickle-cell anemia that correlate strongly. Even then you can start ignoring race as soon as you have proper genetic tests available.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903874)

That doesn't make it magically become not-censorship.

Wait a minute here. I thought that my morals were absolute, that if most people believe something then it is true, and that censoring anything I don't like isn't censorship! Do you mean to tell me that that's not the case!?

Hate speech is so clearly not speech. This is a fact because I don't like it!

Re:Below Germany? (2)

tafkadasoh (1634863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903768)

They don't have active filters. However a judge can order a server to be taken off the internet if the hosted contet violates certain laws. If the server is in another country they try to talk to that government with mixed success. Most nazi sites are hosted in the US for a reason. And those are accessible, so no filtering.

Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (2, Informative)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903546)

Of course they're going to make sure the US gets near the top.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (2)

SlithyMagister (822218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903700)

And equally of course, Canada ceases to exist

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (3, Interesting)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904480)

I noticed that as well. Canada, the Netherlands and all Nordic countries are absent from the report. In their place a semi-nordic east-european country becomes the most free. I guess it would look too bad if there was 10 countries above the US, so they left out everybody above estonia.

I would really have like to hear to position of France and Spain also though.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903738)

How is this modded troll? It's a valid point.

When leading scholars like Chomsky (who only rails against things he has good reason to) simply label it a propoganda machine for the USG, it's because they're right.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903778)

Given that the US, in retaining control of ICANN, demolishing network neutrality, placing excessive restrictions on cryptography, pressuring organizations to drop any association whatsoever with wikileaks and encouraging Internet fraud through a lack of any kind of privacy legislation, has effectively crippled actual freedom without needing any censorship legislation per-se, it should be obvious that the US is only near the top for reasons that have nothing to do with freedom.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (1)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903928)

I was quite dissapointed by Canada's lack of inclusion. As a Canadian I would have found it particularly useful to provide a comparison against other countries. The US score seemed irrationally low which makes me think that Canada would be somewhere equivalent to Estonia, maybe with a small penalty for the challenges we are facing providing rural internet access.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904338)

The list isn't intended to compare freedom between different western nations. Too few of those are included in the survey. All it does is point out that western nations are more free than non-western ones. Big surprise there, I'm sure.

On any complete list, I doubt most of the top-4 of this list would even make the top-10.

Re:Freedom House is heavily funded by the US gov't (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904500)

Given that the US, in retaining control of ICANN,

That, IMO as a non-american is a very good thing.

The US have been going a bit overboard with copyright based domain seizures recently. However, the US is probably the country with the strongest free speech provisions in the entire world. So, they might not be perfect, but I cannot think of another country I would trust to do a better job. I certainly would not trust my own.

So, let's compare it to another "free country". Let's say he was here (UK). The UK government wouldn't need to pressure organisations (an act which is certainly reprehensible). They could throw him in gaol and shutter the website for violating the official secrets act.

And the privacy legislation... I'm not sure what that has to do with freedom. It's not a good thing (companies are not people and have no inherent rights IMO).

But anyway, you say that America is bad, and in some ways, yes it is but it seems to me that despite it all everyone else is worse.

Re:Below Germany? (4, Informative)

hweimer (709734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903606)

As of now, there are two websites (Stormfront [wikipedia.org] and NSDAP/AO [wikipedia.org] ) that are being filtered at several smaller ISPs in North Rhine-Westphalia. What you might heard of is that there is a controversial law that allows the German federal police to add alleged child pornography websites to a secret mandatory filtering list. However, this law has never been applied and will be repealed soon. In other news, most of Germany's states seem to push for web filtering of illegal gambling, but I doubt that this is going to happen in the end.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903624)

I second the WTF about Germany. Is this a joke? German law forbids the development and distribution of 'hacker tools'. Go check out the "awesome" German version of "The hacker's choice" website if you want to see an example of internet freedom in Germany. Who's the schmuck that came up with these ratings?

Re:Below Germany? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904334)

At a guess, this might just be a difference between what the law says and what actually gets enforced. For example, in the UK, it's a criminal offense punishable by jail time to post on Slashdot from work*. Does anyone enforce it? No, because it's silly.

*I forget the precident, but it's the computer misuse thing. Can't do anything with a computer not clearly authorised by the owner.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903670)

yes, with the ICE domain seizures considered

it's a RELATIVE ranking. meaning the USA can do all sorts of horrible things, but if most everyone else is doing worse, the USA will rank high on a scale of freedom

it always amazes me that country xyz can do truly horrible evil things, but the USA does bad thing RELATIVELY MINOR IN COMPARISON, or did something evil decades ago... and so there's no reason to criticize country xyz. really? that's your judgment at work?

yes, the ICE seizures are bad. do you really want to compare that with the kind of things with internet freedom iran or china does? compare and contrast: do you have this cognitive ability many kindergarteners can grasp?

it's a strange, crippling obsession that renders many peoples principles null and void, because their obsession with the usa eclipses their principles when it comes to how they render their judgments. and no, you don't get to pass judgment only on the usa, because you are an american. why? because the issues we are talking about are global issues, not national ones. limiting your criticism only to your home country is a rather weird set of blinders when the topic at hand only has meaning on an international scale of comparison. you can't criticize the government of tehran or beijing? why not? because you can't do anything about it but you can do something about the usa? ok, then if you have proactively limited your judgment to only domestic matters, stop talking about international matters. don't compare the usa to other countries, at all, ever, according to your own precepts: " i don't live in that country, so i can't do anything about it." it's not logically coherent: "i can only criticize the usa. so on international topic xyz, the usa..." wait, you've just scoped your judgment internationally, so you've just contradicted yourself. either the topic is international, and every country is fair game, or the topic is domestic, and no international perspectives count. you can't have it both ways and still be logical

the usa does plenty wrong in this world, don't get me wrong. but that some other countries do far, far worse seems to completely escape many people's ability to pass sound judgments about the state of the world. and don't even get me started at those who have to find a creative way to explain why when country xyz does something evil, the usa is to blame, somehow

finally, i understand a rant about the usa under an australian topic sounds hypocritical. so let me say: you can swap out the word "american" or "usa" in this entire post, and substitute any other nationality, such as "australian" and "australia", and the comment has not lost any logical coherence. its about people who have a strange inability to understand the international scope of topics like this one, and are strangely preoccupied with only one country or the other, and their judgments and principles are therefore warped

on an international topic, all countries are fair game for criticism, or you have a bias that means your criticism is useless

Re:Below Germany? (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903810)

Relative to what?

Can you tell me, precisely, what bad things Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand or the Falkland Islands are doing that compare with intimidation and threats against companies that had links to Wikileaks?

Can you tell me, precisely, how many domain seizures the UK has been involved in of late?

Do you have any concrete examples of, oh, Lichtenstein ordering other nations to arrest minors and terrorize them for pissing off the MPAA?

Can you name any country other than the US which forbids the distribution of World War I audio for copyright reasons?

Inquiring lolcats wish to know.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903900)

why are you arguing with me? apparently freedom house considers the usa to have a better ranking of freedom than those countries. you could question their methods, but more probably, you just seem well prepared with a list of american crimes, an awareness only of the usa. i wonder how much googling it would take me to find some dirt on all those supposedly squeaky clean countries you mention?

nice choice of countries though. i don't have a problem with any of those countries. i do however have a problem with china and iran and cuba, and i see people play the same game you just did, but involving those countries instead. that leaves me exasperated. you, you don't bother me, as you obviously go through some contortions to try make some sort of point with your choice of countries. weak

Re:Below Germany? (1)

bornie (166046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903964)

No, freedom house did not consider those countries worse than USA. None of these where even in the report.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904100)

the size of the country also has some consideration

sweden and uk are of course sizable countries, but falklands? lichtenstein? really? don't you see how including tiny countries weaken your argument? the usa might have a multivolume policy on internet rights and thousands working in the field. while the falkland island has the harbor master's teenage son running the entire country's internet, and the internet policy is whomever he disconnects for whatever reason

so where's pitcairn island and aaland island? pffffffft

Re:Below Germany? (1)

bornie (166046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904142)

I am not the one you are arguing with, I was only commenting on one of your conclusions which were wrong. This one to be more precise "apparently freedom house considers the usa to have a better ranking of freedom than those countries."

Re:Below Germany? (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904246)

estonia?

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904312)

> sweden and uk are of course sizable countries

In number of people Sweden is about 1/10th of Germany and less than 1/6th of the UK.
So unless your subject concerns forest, rivers, nature, maybe animals Sweden is hardly of relevant size.
Admittedly Estonia isn't either but I suspect that is a special case that was included due to its unique status.

sweden is 10 million people (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904350)

compare to falklands (3,000 people) or lichtenstein (35,000)

estonia is over a million

the point is,somewhere between 100,000 and 1 million people and up, you are talking about a coherent internet policy and a system of accountability involving many people

but somewhere between 100,000 and 10,000 people and down, and you're talking about "uh, call bubba, he runs that stuff"

so i consider estonia's internet freedom reputation useful and valid, but not liechtenstein's

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904270)

"you, you don't bother me, as you obviously go through some contortions to try make some sort of point with your choice of countries. weak"

It's called compare and contrast. You seem to be suggesting that it is somehow valid to list the US toward the top of the freedom list simply because there exist countries that are worse in some respects. Not being THE worst country in the internet freedom game hardly makes the US anywhere near the top of the list.

The US is FAR more dangerous in my mind than the nations you listed. China, Iran, and Cuba are relatively open about their censorship and restrictions while the US does its best to portray the opposite. The US eliminates almost all practical freedom, requires government permits for the vast majority of daily activity, provides almost no government services while being among the highest taxing nation relative to controlled wealth, and proactively concentrates wealth into the hands of a tiny portion of the population. The US however does all these things but gives justifications for all these actions indicating they are for the public good or are unavoidable side effects.

For the most part, even the US populace do not believe the public policy benefits them (although most aren't bright enough to see the cumulative mass effects of subtle policies which seem reasonable when viewed in isolation, like the us economic system), but the US does retain just enough 'freedom' to allow its citizens comfort and token participation in government. Additionally a public anti-violence sentiment is propagated. This assures that few are are discontent enough to actively resist and if they did, the public sensitivity to violence would assure they would be seen as the criminals. An example of this was after the elections were pretty firmly demonstrated to have been rigged in Ohio but aside from a couple documentaries, no official action was taken and nobody picked up their guns and stormed the white house. The american people have no teeth and lack the spirit and conviction to fight injustice.

Its a great con game really. Built atop the philosophical pondering of the flaws in the old corrupt but long lasting Roman system. From the perspective of the wealthy, the best system of government is one that allows them to retain wealth, exclusivity, and keeps the common cattle from revolting.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904274)

Can you name any country other than the US which forbids the distribution of World War I audio for copyright reasons?

Isn't that the law of the entire European Union under the Copyright Duration Directive [wikipedia.org] ? WWI ended about 90 years ago, so my reading is that if the creators of the audio survived another 20 years after they made it, then it is still under copyright protection even today.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904492)

Can you tell me, precisely, what bad things Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand or the Falkland Islands are doing that compare with intimidation and threats against companies that had links to Wikileaks?

No, because they are not featured in the report. Austrialia, Germany, US and Estonia are the four best among countries actually examined. Very few countries were examined and all the traditionally most free are strangely absent.

Re:Below Germany? (4, Insightful)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903968)

Failing to criticize our national governments simply because others do worse guarantees a slow creep towards that worse behaviour because anything less is, by your reasoning, acceptable. The fact that Iran, Burma, and China engage in broader and more extensive internet control and suppression doesn't make the ICE domain seizures more acceptable or infringe freedoms any less.

Further, I personally believe that we have a greater obligation to ensure our home country is abiding by the principals we want other countries to. Not only does it clear us of hypocrisy (see US on torture and prisons) when attempting to convince other countries to reform their practices, it provides a clear example that it can be done without catastrophic consequences (assuming they don't see our culture itself being a catastrophe), and is how our government is structured to function. Limiting our scope to local issues is often a matter of conserving our efforts and avoiding tilting at windmills. I can't personally stop hunger in Africa but I can ensure my neighbours get invited over for dinner frequently because I know that the adults in their house frequently miss meals to ensure that their kids always get fed. The same principle applies to world affairs - I can make real (though small) changes in the US but ignoring them because China is worse leaves the entire world a worse place.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904086)

The fact that worse things happen does not mean that something shouldn't be done about the 'lesser' things. The reason you probably hear so much about the USA's 'wrongdoings' is because they, for some reason, seem to be the center of attention (and they claim to be a bastion of freedom, or at least that's what people think). So when this 'great' country does something wrong, people will criticize them more than other countries that they already knew were 'bad'. They may see other places as lost causes (and believe that their criticism will be wasted on them).

or you have a bias that means your criticism is useless

What? Useless? Even if you have a bias against a particular country, that does not make your criticism "useless." It could very well be valid. You should evaluate their claims separately from their character to see if they hold any truth.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903714)

oh c'mon dude.. ICE domain seizures are one thing..but nothing like the wholesale filtering in China or the Middle East.
blocking specific domains is relatively tame..and in the case of ICE can be blamed on simply not understaing how the tubes are hooked up - it's like blocking a sewer main in the street because one toilet is fucked up.

Re:Below Germany? (4, Interesting)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903736)

While I agree with them that the US probably is fairly good in comparison to much of the world, the major flaw I see in the Freedomhouse report is that it seems to treat the spirit of the law as being more relevant than the actual application and only considers governmental action rather than corporate activities (enabled by a bought and paid for legislative branch) that reduce freedom. Beyond ICE domain seizures, we have rampant DMCA abuse, government subsidized regional monopolies creating poor service and removing competition, extensive (though largely concealed) monitoring, attempted violations of net neutrality, traffic 'shaping' that is not required for its stated purpose, extensive abuse of the legal system to suppress unpopular or offensive speech of individuals or small business' unable to afford the expense of defending themselves, aging internet infrastructure the monopolies are making minimal efforts to upgrade except in the most profitable areas, and undoubtably more that don't come immediately to mind.

The US is taking baby steps towards a less free internet and by ranking them so highly without comment on the glaring problems in the system they are enabling it by creating a false impression that this is acceptable.

Also I find the mention of the US tech innovation particularly funny given that those companies all insist that they are primarily based out of Dublin, Ireland which is why they don't have to pay their fair share of taxes.

Re:Below Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904154)

Also I find the mention of the US tech innovation particularly funny given that those companies all insist that they are primarily based out of Dublin, Ireland which is why they don't have to pay their fair share of taxes

Yeah. That really annoys me too. Every single company in the EU should make sure to pay the full tax in every single EU country, and not do the Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwitch.

Of course, this would mean /less/ money going to the US - but it would increase the tax base of the various european countries where the tech companies does business - which is what you want, right?

Re:Below Germany? (1)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904318)

I'd like to see companies pay taxes where they actually operate and where they have the employees doing the work to generate the revenues rather than being able to shop around and choose to pretend their income comes from whichever country happens to have the most favourable tax climate that day. On the other hand I'm not a big fan of globalization as it is practiced and think the fact that tariffs are defacto illegal is a tragedy, so perhaps I'm not the person to look to.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904346)

Accountants call this being 'tax efficient' - using whatever loopholes they can find to avoid paying taxes. One of these is indeed to have the company officially based in a place with a very low corporate tax. Ireland is popular. The Channel Islands, too. Good for the company. Good for the tax haven too. Not so good for the place where the company actually does business, who end up saddled with the associated costs (Road maintainance, courts, policing, etc) of allowing the company to do business, but don't get the resulting tax money to pay for it.

Re:Below Germany? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904306)

They don't claim to be based in Ireland, they have a corporation in Ireland (with 2000 people). They funnel most of their European operations from that corporation into a separate one in Bermuda. They also send some money through the Netherlands and back into Bermuda. They don't claim to be 'primarily based' in any of those countries, nor do they hide that they do it as a tax trick.

And really, as for 'fair share of taxes,' have you ever met anyone who tries to pay more in taxes than they are absolutely required by law? No one, not even you, pays more than they have to.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904304)

The entire top 4 is weird. Australia is also well known for its censorship. The US certainly has some issues. These countries are at the top simply because the list only examined a handful of countries. Most of Europe has not been examined at all. Had it been, I'm sure Iceland and similar countries would have topped the list.

All that this list is saying is that some random countries in Europe and North America are better than some random countries in Africa, Asia or South America. I'm sure nobody here is surprised to learn that internet in Germany or Australia is more free than in China, Iran or Cuba. That doesn't mean it's as good as it should have been.

Re:Below Germany? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904430)

Hmmm, I think the filtering was limited to mostly child porn and other *really* illegal stuff. Haven't noticed anything else in the past ten years, and there wasn't ever anything in the news about this type of thing either.

Do you have any info to back up that statement? Genuinely interested here...

Where's Japan? (2, Interesting)

fullback (968784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903432)

It's not even on the list.

Re:Where's Japan? (2)

II Xion II (1420223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903502)

Or Canada for that matter...

Re:Where's Japan? (2)

dakohli (1442929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903630)

In fact there are only 37 countries on this list. Period. Huge swaths of Europe, Africa and the Americas [freedomhouse.org] are missing.

I would hesitate to say that anyone was first, let alone fourth.

Re:Where's Japan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903732)

Did you mean to link to this [freedomhouse.org] (as opposed to a 404)?

Why the focus on Australia? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903434)

Why not whoever is in 83rd place? It seems like "Estonia Ranked First In Internet Freedom" would be the real story.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (1)

twollamalove (935519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903570)

Seems like there've been a lot of stories about crazy (and poorly thought out) Australian internet rules. Apparently, that got cancelled.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (2)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903860)

The rules got put on hold and will be subject to better (not necessarily good, just better) transparency before they're enacted. The government has a tenuous grip on a majority in parliament right now; I don't think they're likely to try to bring up contentious issues for a little while.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (1)

twollamalove (935519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904024)

The fuck do I get modded down for? Fucking children.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904222)

Seems like there've been a lot of stories about crazy (and poorly thought out) Australian internet rules. Apparently, that got cancelled.

No it hasn't. Internet Censorship may not be a regular story in the press at the moment, but since the 2010 election we've seen other things related to it such as Tasmanians to be forced to connect to NBN under new laws [smh.com.au] .

For those at home, the NBN is the National Broadband Network, under the control of the Australian Federal Government. They can and will have internet censorship at a time and place of their choosing.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (1)

captain_sweatpants (1997280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903590)

Probably because the submitter was Australian and/or the article is from an Australian website! No I didn't RTFA either, but I did check the URL. Also it's relevant because of the whole "Great firewall of Australia" debate which is now apparently moot. The Estonian angle is interesting however!

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903866)

Because they used only 38 countries in this study. ;-)

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (2)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903884)

There is no 83rd country. The list is not even close to a worldwide rankings on internet freedom. There are only 2 from Europe and the reason Germany is not higher is due to Nazi (mainly I think Holocaust Denial ) censorship.

South America also looks pretty free.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904314)

I think it's because, with all the talk coming from Australia about censoring the internet, and all the actual banning of games they do, it's kind of surprising that Australia made it that high.

Re:Why the focus on Australia? (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904506)

The thing is though is that australia doesn't censor the internet, nor is it monitored (without a court warrant, something common to everywhere)

  The government proposed it, then dropped it when it realised it would be deeply unpopular.

Australia *does* have censorship issues, but its about Games, not the internet. Just because its computers, don't mean its the same. (In fact what makes the games censorship ironic is the fact that with an uncensored internet we can download it from uncensored and unmonitored.

US based org ranks US near top of list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903442)

What are the odds?

And how's that Wikileaks thing working out? Or the online gambling?

Re:US based org ranks US near top of list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903548)

I can still access wiki-leaks from any connection I like, outside of military owned computers. Online gaming sites haven't been blocked or filtered; they are being shut down for fraud and/or money laundering.

blacks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903456)

Its their fault

Re:blacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903474)

Its their fault

the only way to know for sure is to send em all back to Africa and see how it works out

What about Antartica? (1)

Don_Maxis (2039100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903476)

Because I obviously live on Antartica, and have unlimited access with no caps. All the pr0n and free movies I want. Troll that, you homosexual noobs!

Re:What about Antartica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903514)

no caps

What about the polar ice caps?

Re:What about Antartica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903528)

Antarctica

Re:What about Antartica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903550)

you'ed need all that porn and movies, cause theres no women, and the ones that are their are ugly as anything and are more into the penguins that you and its so cold your dick would freeze before you could even get it out, assuming you could find the thing before it shrinks.

consider yourself trolled

Re:What about Antartica? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903574)

The joke's on you, considering Antarctica isn't a country ...

Re:What about Antartica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903618)

Because I obviously live on Antartica, and have unlimited access with no caps. All the pr0n and free movies I want. Troll that, you homosexual noobs!

No caps indeed. Damn you global warming!!

Re:What about Antartica? (1)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903904)

NO CAPS?

I had more to say but slashdot is obviously not free... it says no yelling on the internet!

lol Estonia (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903480)

Estonia

Highest percentage of Hitler in population, too (higher than Germany and Austia!).

Re:lol Estonia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903626)

Estonia

Highest percentage of Hitler in population, too (higher than Germany and Austia!).

Godwin, that you?

That's a really short list. (5, Insightful)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903540)

So only a handful of countries in the world have internet now? Or are we ignoring countries that "don't matter"? If you're going to pretend to do comprehensive reports, at least have a comprehensive list.

Re:That's a really short list. (5, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903620)

Absolutely.

One of the very few things that make me proud about my country (Argentina) is our internet freedom. Our connections aren't great, but they ain't bad either, and they are cheap and just about everywhere (you can get unlimited, uncensored cablemodem 6mbps down, 1 mbps up for ~30 dollars a month, and unlimited, uncensored 3G 3mbps down, 512kbps up for ~25 dollars a month). Domains (*.ar) are absolutely FREE for life, and there's no limit on what you can register (I have domains that contain all 7 words, are anti-government, anti-religion, and anti-corporations, I've had them for years, and none of them has been taken away or filtered in any way). Our copyright laws are fairly sane (well, as insane as copyright itself is, they aren't as bad as the states), and we have no DMCA or any other similar shit). ISPs don't hand out information without a court order, and neither do host companies. Nobody has been sued for file-sharing, and no ISP is throttling or limiting p2p connections.

But we aren't even on the list, go figure ...

Re:That's a really short list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904036)

And what about Sweden, home of unlimited, unfiltered 100/100 Mbps for about US$35/mo? Not to mention the Pirate Bay (whose founders, were they in the US, would likely be in FPMITAP)?

Re:That's a really short list. (1)

polle404 (727386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903986)

and no Denmark, with their mandatory CP-blocking list (that's privately run) and DNS-blocking of whatever the local version of *AA don't like.

Note to self (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903592)

Estonia != Elbonia.

Australia internet is free unless... (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903692)

You want to play adult rated video games on it.

Re:Australia internet is free unless... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904118)

Or in fact if you want to host a porn site. The restrictions are pretty serious. Better to look overseas.

They're not just measuring government censorship (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903702)

From TFPDF linked in TFA on TFFH website:

Freedom on the Net aims to measure each countryâ(TM)s level of internet and new media freedom. Each country receives a numerical score from 0 (the most free) to 100 (the least free), which serves as the basis for an internet freedom status designation of Free (0-30 points), Partly Free (31-60 points), or Not Free (61-100).

Ratings are determined through an examination of three broad categories: obstacles to access, limits on content, and violation of user rights.
- Obstacles to Access: assesses infrastructural and economic barriers to access; governmental efforts to block specific applications or technologies; and legal, regulatory and ownership control over internet and mobile phone access providers.
- Limits on Content: examines filtering and blocking of websites; other forms of censorship and self-censorship; manipulation of content; the diversity of online news media; and usage of digital media for social and political activism.
- Violations of User Rights: measures legal protections and restrictions on online activity; surveillance; privacy; and repercussions for online activity, such as legal prosecution, imprisonment, physical attacks, or other forms of harassment.

customs (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903748)

sure, the internet here is 'free'. Just don't try to bring any porn on physical media [abc.net.au] into the country..

Re:customs (2)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903946)

Notice she was very careful not to say her DVDs were confiscated? Because they weren't; Customs "were only interested in illegal pornography".

Just don't try to bring any porn on physical media into the country

... or else, you'll be allowed to keep it?

Oz's crippling bandwidth is censorship (1)

danterzian (2058240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903756)

While the Australian government might do little to censor the Internet, the country's terrible infrastructure and low bandwidth caps are de facto censorship.

Out of 34 (carefuly) slected contries (2)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903758)

Of which only 8 have 'free' internet. There is a lot of European and other countries that may have a more free web. Thus the rankings are pretty worthless. My extrapolating the results it would be likely that across Europe would most likely be 10 above the rest of listed non -European countries.

I would like to think New Zealand's web is more open than Australia's we do have a filter but it has not been forced on ISPs.

Re:Out of 34 (carefuly) slected contries (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904122)

I would like to think New Zealand's web is more open than Australia's we do have a filter but it has not been forced on ISPs.

How is that more open? Australia doesn't have a filter at all.

Shelved? (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903784)

The ISP censorship has hardly been shelved, The only reason it hasn't come in is that we don't have a majority government at the moment, Labor party have stated they still want to censor the internet, they just can't currently get the numbers to do it, thankfully with their financial mismanagement, scandals and now child pornography we should be seeing the last of both state and federal labor at the next elections.

China (4, Funny)

koxkoxkox (879667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903890)

What rank is China ? Is there anyone below ?

I would love to RTFA, but I can't access the report myself. They must have some technical difficulties in Beijing these days, because freedomhouse.org seems to be unavailable.

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903966)

China is fourth to last. Below it are Cuba, Burma, and last of all is Iran.

Something seems wrong with the ranking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903960)

When you look at Australia's pornography laws I don't see how you can say they are the 4th ranked. Particularly when you understand that any depiction of sex by minors, even purely WRITTEN such depictions, you know done only with text, constitutes child porn in Australia, much to the horror of authors.

Re:Something seems wrong with the ranking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904048)

Is it really so difficult to write a book without pedophilia in it?

Australia is already censored pretty heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904094)

It's the active filtering which has been shelved, but the active filtering is only an attempt to extend the existing legislation from Australian servers to foreign traffic, and even then they're only postponing it (ostensibly until after a review has been conducted, but it likely has more to do with the shaky state of the parliament at the moment).

Even the current laws are amongst the most restrictive in the western world. Pornography is definitely banned on Australian servers, R18-rated content (at the same level as movies like Pulp Fiction or The Godfather) is effectively banned because it isn't allowed to be hosted without valid age verification (i.e. credit card details, with obvious ID theft issues if you're expected to provide such details to every site you visit), and for commercial content, it's MA15+ content that receives such restrictions.

Maybe the classification reviews will actually remove some of these ridiculous constraints and give is R18 games while we're at it, but I'm not optimistic.

Why only three democratic countries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904204)

With the exception of Germany, Estonia and Australia, they have only surveyed countries that score very low in other democracy and citizen rights indices. The reason that Germany and Estonia don't get better scores in this index, is that they are part of EU and have to follow EU regulations, which, other then purposely restricting the freedom of EU citizens in them-self, also is hard to fit into local laws and regulations (especially in countries that follow the Scandinavian or Germanic traditions of lawmaking, it fits better with the Latin and Anglese tradition) and therefor create unpredicted restrictions (Estonia likely succeeded better because it have a less fixed (=newer) set of regulations and a more Latin/Angese like law system then Germany, that can better work with and around directives from EU), but there are much worse EU members (as illustrated by Italy and UK, despite that Italy is a very young country (only 150 years) it has accumulated an awful set of to many and to complicated laws and regulations, that makes it very bureaucratic and only semidemocratic and UK, well it is UK, to much old crusty fucked up traditions and laws, censorship, military fighting within the country and social class barriers, like USA, not really democratic in the modern sense of the word).

Democratic countries within EU, would unfortunately score as bad as Estonia and Germany, but there are a few democratic countries, that don't follow orders from EU (or USA, or Russia, or China), that I believe would get a perfect zero.

Strange headline (1, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904356)

Why did it choose to mention who is number Four, as opposed to, say, number 26 on the charts? Why not say "US leads in Internet Freedom"? Is there a private conversation here that /.'ers aren't seeing? Or do I need my morning coffee?

"Yes. When you read the headline and it says, so and so is number four, it means, We attack at dawn. If it says, so and so leads in freedom, that's the signal to Abort the mission. If it mentions Estonia in the headline, that simply means His Highness prefers pepperoni, hold off and we'll decide tomorrow.

Now screw me bad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904456)

Why is there only a fraction of the worlds' countries on the list? Seriously flawed!
How can any country achieve any (meaningful) rank if not most countries are on the list?
Sweden for example would be very interesting to see with all new fuck-ups and yet the nice tradition of a free 'net.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...