Freedom House published the 2020 edition of its annual “Freedom on the Net” report on Wednesday. The report grimly concluded that Internet freedom around the world has diminished in the “digital shadow” of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, accelerating the steady erosion of online freedom Freedom House has chronicled over the past ten years.
The rise of “cyber sovereignty,” the notion that authoritarian governments like China should have their own versions of the Internet controlled and policed as they see fit, is a matter of special concern.
The Freedom House report uses an expansive definition of Internet freedom that leads to some paradoxical judgments. For example, China is the world’s leading practitioner of cyber sovereignty, having created an authoritarian Internet backwater with its “Great Firewall” and unabashedly insisting that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has an absolute right to control access to information for its citizens.
On the other hand, Freedom House