The Web index launched on the 11 of December by the web we want foundation is full of interesting statistics and insights about the state of the internet in 2014. Here are 5 points that we found particularly interesting.
84% of Countries Lack Effective Laws Against mass Surveillance
laws preventing mass surveillance are weak or non existent in 84% of countries surveyed by the web index. Despite the revelations of mass surveillance by the NSA and other intelligence agencies it hasn't prompted a response by policy makers to strengthen data protection policies or to introduce transparent procedures. We talked more about this point here.
The statistics are particularly worrying considering that data requests to major companies such as Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, have increased dramatically. Twitter reported a 78% increase, Facbook 30% and Yahoo 67%.
The Internet plays an important role in activism
The internet was identified as an import tool to enable activism in 60% of the countries surveyed. Notable examples in South Korea where an intelligence services organised smear campaign against presidential candidate was uncovered. Of course the other side of political activism is that 38% of countries surveyed block politically or socially sensitive web content. That's an increase of 8% from the last web index.
Number of internet users increased by 5%
Overall number of people using the internet increased by 5% this year but the fear is that figure is stalling, the majority of the growth is confined to middle or high income nations. The web index 2014 makes a compelling argument for make the web widely and cheaply available. Internet access improves social mobility as individuals can easily find more oppurtunities or network, as well as huge educational opportunities. As well as basics such as access to important to reliable information that could improve many peoples quality of life. 4.4 billion people still have no access to the web.
Press Freedom declined in 90% of countries
On previous scores from 2007 over 90% of countries surveyed saw their scores in the freedom of the press indices decline. Worryingly amongst them were numerous developed democractic countries such as UK, USA, Australia, Canada and France. These countries scored high in most categories.
Despite the gloomy statistics there is a lot of potential
While much of the web index makes gloomy reading such as the rate of censoship, that 25% of women have experienced sexual harassment online. Web we want and it's head Tim Berners Lee believe the web has great potential across economics, politics and society. That a free and open internet can improve career opportunities, gender equality as well government transparency and accountability.
Ideally the web should be barrier free, but until then ZenMate can help you avoid censorship, surveillance and cybercrime with our simple browser add-on or smartphone app.