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Monday, March 4, 2024

Governments ‘use pandemic to crack down on online dissent’

Governments around the world are using the pandemic as a justification to expand surveillance and crack down on dissent online, resulting in a 10th consecutive annual decline in internet freedom, a human rights watchdog report said Wednesday.

The report by Washington-based Freedom House said authorities in dozens of countries have cited the Covid-19 outbreak “to justify expanded surveillance powers and the deployment of new technologies that were once seen as too intrusive.”

This is leading to increasing censorship of dissent and the expansion of technological systems for social control, according to the report.

“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael Abramowitz, president of the nonprofit group.

“Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law,…

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