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A flight crew member shares his digital information with state officials at the airport in Honolulu A flight crew member shares his digital information with state officials after arriving at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, Oct. 15, 2020, (AP photo by Marco Garcia).

How the Pandemic Is Accelerating a ‘Splintering of the Internet’

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

As authorities around the world seek out new tools to fight COVID-19, they are increasingly turning to contact-tracing apps and other technological tools that carry worrying implications for online privacy and digital rights. Meanwhile, a recent report from the watchdog group Freedom House warns that many authoritarian governments are seizing on the pandemic to expand their surveillance powers and crack down on online dissent, while imposing new restrictions on the flow of information across national borders.

On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Freedom House’s Adrian Shahbaz, one of the report’s co-authors, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to talk about how more and more countries are turning their backs on the idea of an open and free internet amid the pandemic. ...

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