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A man reads a news report on his mobile phone, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 20, 2018 (AP photo).

Emulating China and Russia, More Countries Crack Down on Internet Freedoms

Friday, Jan. 11, 2019

The government in the Democratic Republic of Congo cut internet and text message services across the country two days in a row last week, as tensions rose ahead of the release of official results from last month’s presidential election. It was just the latest move to restrict internet access by a state with a poor democratic track record, as more countries appear to take their digital cues from the likes of China and Russia.

Last year, Thailand proposed a cybersecurity law that would give the government “sweeping powers” to surveil the internet, censor content and even seize computers “without judicial oversight.” The United Arab Emirates tightened its cybercrime laws by allowing stronger enforcement actions against those inciting acts “deemed” to be against the country’s interest. Egypt similarly gave its judges greater power to censor online content found to threaten “national security.” ...

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