Internet freedom in India declined for a third year: Report



a close up of a box: Internet freedom in India declined for a third year: Report


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Internet freedom in India declined for a third year: Report

Internet freedom in India declined for a third straight year, as government authorities increasingly shut off connectivity to suppress anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, said a report.

The Freedom House report said spyware campaigns targeting human rights defenders added to the already restrictive environment for privacy.

“Meanwhile, both the CAA protests and the COVID-19 pandemic led to an information environment plagued by disinformation, often pushed by political leaders themselves. Within this environment, women, religious, and marginalized communities, in particular, experienced online harassment and trolling,” the report said.

The report said despite the Supreme Court establishing certain safeguards to be followed by the government before ordering internet shutdowns, India still registered to be home to more government-imposed internet shutdowns than anywhere else in the world.

The move was justified by authorities for reasons including the need to counter disinformation, protests, communal violence, and cheating on exams.

According to the report, more political, social, and cultural content was either removed or blocked for India-based users during the coverage period, including information on Twitter about Kashmir and criticism of the government on streaming platforms.

It also said government officials attempted to control the online narrative around the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing restrictions on reporting, arresting and detaining numerous people for their online speech. This also included, reportedly forcing users to remove content from their social media accounts.

According to the report, digital monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic using apps, like Aarogya Setu, raised concerns over a lack of transparency, oversight, and other protections for fundamental freedoms.

The report found two separate coordinated spyware campaigns targeting journalists, activists, lawyers, and other human rights defenders.

However, internet penetration continues to improve in the country.

“However, inadequate infrastructure still remains an obstacle to

Governments are using the pandemic to crack down on digital rights, report finds

The Freedom on the Net 2020 report, an assessment of 65 countries released Wednesday, found that the pandemic has accelerated a decline in free speech and privacy on the internet for the tenth consecutive year, and accused some governments of using the virus as a pretext to crack down on critical speech.

“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which is funded by the US government. “Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”

Amid the pandemic, internet connectivity has become a lifeline to essential information and services — from education platforms, to health care portals, employment opportunities and social interactions. But state and nonstate actors are also exploiting the crisis to erode freedoms online.
Nowhere has that approach been more apparent than in China, according to Freedom House, which rated the country worst for internet freedom for a sixth year in a row.
Since the coronavirus outbreak emerged in Wuhan last December, China has deployed every tool in its internet control arsenal — from digital surveillance, to automated censorship, and systematic arrests — to stem the spread, not only of Covid-19, but of unofficial information and criticism of the government, researchers found.

These practices are not unique to China, the report details.

Censoring the coronavirus outbreak

Intent on downplaying unfavorable Covid-19 coverage, authorities censored independent reporting in at least 28 countries and arrested online critics in 45 countries, per the report.

Following China’s lead, governments from Bangladesh to Belarus blocked reporting and websites that contradicted official sources, revoking credentials and detaining journalists who challenged their statistics. In Venezuela, for example, the government barred a website with

3,000 Amazon workers demand time off to vote: report

  • Amazon workers are demanding that the company give all US employees paid time off to vote in the upcoming election, NBC News reported Tuesday.
  • The petition, which gained more than 3,200 supporters, called for “a paid day/shift off that can be used anytime between now and Election Day on Nov 3” and “every year” in the future, according to NBC News.
  • “We have supplied all of our employees with information on how to register to vote, details of their local polling locations and how to request time off to vote,” an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider.
  • Amazon and subsidiary Whole Foods employ nearly 1.4 million workers in the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon workers, who have become increasingly vocal about the company’s policies during the pandemic, have a new demand: time off to vote in the upcoming US elections.

More than 3,200 Amazon workers have signed a petition circulating internally demanding the company give its entire US workforce a paid day or shift off to vote, NBC News reported Tuesday.

“We are less than a month away from the 2020 US election. I strongly urge the company to provide the entire US employee workforce with a paid day/shift off that can be used anytime between now and Election Day on Nov 3,” read the petition, which has been circulating on an internal Amazon support ticket system, according to NBC News.

The petition also demanded that the “additional day/shift off must be available to all employees every year,” NBC News reported.

Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods have 1,372,000 “front-line” workers across the US — accounting for roughly 1 of every 200 of the country’s voting-age population — but doesn’t currently guarantee them time off to vote in person.

“We have supplied all of our employees with

COVID is worsening global internet freedom, report finds

Governments around the world have seized on the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to expand digital surveillance and harvest more data on their citizens, according to a report out Wednesday from Freedom House, a democracy and human rights research group.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates have warned since early in the pandemic that the tech behind efforts to conduct contact tracing and enforce quarantines and other public safety protocols could be abused and made permanent, particularly in authoritarian countries like China.

What’s happening, according to the report:

Dozens of countries have rolled out government-backed contact-tracing apps without effective laws to protect people from overly expansive data collection.

  • China, Russia, India, Singapore, Ecuador and Bahrain were among the countries that Freedom House found implemented apps that either send reams of data unchecked to government servers or make invasive data and health documentation demands.

Governments in at least 28 countries censored websites and social media posts to suppress information like unfavorable health statistics and corruption allegations.

  • Many have also imprisoned those who speak out online against government mishandling of the pandemic, and some have at times imposed total internet blackouts on their citizens.

By the numbers: As documented in a release summing up the findings:

Authorities censored reporting on the virus in 28 countries and arrested online critics in 45 countries.

In at least 20 countries, the pandemic was cited as a justification to impose vague or overly broad restrictions on speech. Residents of at least 13 countries experienced internet shutdowns…

In at least 30 countries, governments are invoking the pandemic to engage in mass surveillance in direct partnership with telecommunications providers and other companies.

— Freedom House

Of note: China was found to have the world’s worst conditions for internet freedom for the sixth consecutive year, but the U.S. was

2020 Holiday RESCUECOM Computer Reliability Report

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft is first in computer reliability according to RESCUECOM’s annual holiday computer reliability report; Lenovo takes second place and Apple wins the bronze medal.

Choose Microsoft Surface for Reliable Gifts

This holiday season, a Microsoft Surface is the best choice for shoppers prioritizing computer reliability. Once maligned for failing to secure their systems against bugs and viruses, Microsoft now outpaces competitors at producing reliable computers that save their owners future computer repair costs.

“When you buy a Surface, you are essentially purchasing protection against the kind of problems that regularly take down other computers,” says RESCUECOM CEO David A. Milman. “Microsoft is making products with computer reliability leagues beyond what other brands are doing, and it is paying off for their customers.”

Microsoft’s investment in building well-running machines comes at a cost, as computers from the Surface line are far from cheap. However, there are options for customers on a budget valuing Microsoft’s computer reliability. The Surface Go 2 costs under $400 – ideal for those who want an affordable tablet with high PC reliability.

Other Reliable Brands for Your Shopping List

Customers committed to purchasing from brands with impressive computer reliability may also consider Lenovo and Apple. Besides ranking second in PC reliability, Lenovo provides computers of different makes and models to fulfill every purpose – many at a lower cost than their competitors. Lenovo’s IdeaPad line is a win-win for shoppers on a budget, pairing modern designs and competitive prices with great PC reliability.

Mac devotees can rest assured that Apple continues to make reliable computers, lessening the need for future Mac computer repair. The MacBook Pro is a standout, receiving glowing reviews from the New York Times and The Verge