From the Great Firewall of China to the huge fines Germany has levied against social media giants for hosting hate speech, governments around the world are tightening their grip on the internet. The island of Mauritius is now debating a law that would represent a drastic acceleration of this trend. If it’s not opposed, the momentum will build—and threaten an open, rights-respecting internet.
Over the past several years, digital rights advocates have rightly worried over the implications of new social media laws in countries like Turkey and Vietnam. Supposedly designed to rein in disinformation and other harmful speech, these laws represent significant new intrusions on peoples’ rights to free expression and privacy. Oppressive laws are objectionable everywhere, but we expect them from autocratic regimes.
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