internet freedom

Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.” Can the company practice what it preaches – even in Cuba? A delegation of Google employees, headed by executive chairman Eric Schmidt, traveled to Cuba this past week in an effort to advocate for removing government restrictions on the Internet. The executives met with Yoani Sanchez, a prominent blogger and dissident who runs the independent 14ymedio news portal, a site blocked in Cuba.

Numerous reports indicate that Iranian authorities restrict access to thousands of American and European websites, particularly those of international news sources, and even throttle down Internet connections to limit the ability of Iranians to surf the rest of the Web. Here at the Voice of America Persian Service, we are familiar with this situation firsthand.

In every large democracy of our time, little seems to be left to chance, with both national and trans-national laws and policies relating to every aspect of our life. The Internet however, is still much debated and a sort of grey area. 

Most people can pretty much agree that a free and open Internet is extremely important for a number of reasons, but few major American politicians have gone on the record saying so. Many have come out in favor of net neutrality, but few have gone as far as to call the Internet a right. That is, until now. 

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan applied to Turkey's constitutional court on Friday to challenge the alleged violation of his and his family's rights by social media, a senior official in his office told Reuters.

Google the phrase “democracy is,” and you'll get several instant search suggestions. But when you Baidu it, you only get one. Coincidence? Maybe. But China's largest search engine has a bit of a track record when it comes to politically-motivated censorship. 

The United States discreetly supported the creation of a website and SMS service that was, basically, a Cuban version of Twitter, the Associated Press reported Thursday. ZunZuneo, as it was called, permitted Cubans to broadcast short text messages to each other. At its peak, ZunZuneo had 40,000 users.

Developing nations want the Internet to be free from censorship, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in Latin America. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals that six of the ten countries that feel the strongest about people having access to the Internet without government censorship hail from Latin America.