Net Neutrality Is the Least of the Internet Problems in Most of the World – Slate Magazine

And then there are the institutions that control what you can do and say online or off. Menzie Chinn and Robert Fairlie, economists at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California–Santa Cruz respectively, analyzed the differences in internet use across the world and suggested a measure designed to reflect the strength of the legal system and protection of rights was one important factor. In particular, countries that restrict freedom of speech or the press rarely spare online communications. China’s “great firewall” has omnipresent filtering that allowed the government to remove all mention of a “jasmine revolution” being proposed online as the Chinese answer to Tunisia’s Arab Spring in 2011. Saudi Arabia has three chokepoints through which all internet traffic to and from the country flows, overseen by the Communications and Internet Technology Commission. And woe betide those who offend the politically connected. Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger and father of three, was sentenced in 2012 to 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through electronic channels”—probably because he criticized senior religious officials in the country.

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