Singapore’s parliament has passed a law aimed at preventing foreign interference in domestic politics, which the opposition and activists have criticised as a tool to crush dissent.
Freedom on the Net 2021 finds that while some democratic governments have made good-faith attempts to regulate the technology industry, state intervention in the digital sphere worldwide has contributed to the 11th consecutive year of global decline in internet freedom.
As the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, a spokesman for the group uploaded five videos to his official YouTube page. The videos, each between two and three minutes long, showed Taliban leaders congratulating fighters on their victories.
Cubans used to joke about Napoleon Bonaparte chatting to Mikhail Gorbachev, George W Bush and Fidel Castro in the afterlife. “If I’d have had your prudence, I’d never have fought Waterloo,” the French emperor tells the last Soviet leader. “If I’d have had your military might, I’d have won Waterloo,” he tells the Texan. Turning last to Castro, the emperor says: “If I’d have had Granma [the Cuban Communist party daily], I’d have lost Waterloo but nobody would have known.”
Cuba has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp, global internet monitoring firm NetBlocks said on Tuesday, in the wake of the biggest anti-government protests in decades.
Cubans facing the country’s worst economic crisis in decades took to the streets over the weekend. In turn, authorities blocked social media sites in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the beleaguered nation.
Myanmar’s military rulers are seeking to limit access to the internet to an internal network of only “whitelisted” sites to quash opposition to their seizure of power, according to a report by the International Crisis Group.
Russia has implemented a novel censorship method in an ongoing effort to silence Twitter. Instead of blocking the social media site outright, the country is using previously unseen techniques to slow traffic to a crawl and make the site all but unusable for people inside the country.
After 50 years of political and economic isolation, Myanmar embarked on a hopeful period of transition in 2011, which culminated in the election of a civilian government in 2015. Almost as soon as the country opened up to the world, internet penetration began to rise, increasing over the next decade from 0.25 percent in 2010 to 41 percent in 2020, thanks to the arrival of international communication companies, including from China. As internet connectivity grew, so did mobile services and social media. As of mid-February 2021, there are 29 million social media users, equivalent to 53 percent of the population.
Researchers at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and International Human Rights Clinic collaborated with three human rights organizations based in Myanmar to produce a study on internet restrictions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to a white paper the groups published last month.