Reporters Without Borders: For the first time, America is an enemy of the Internet

March 14, 2014

(Reporters Without Borders)

For the first time, the United States has made it onto Reporters Without Borders' "Enemies of the Internet" list, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jillian York.

How did Washington win this distinguished (dis)honor? Despite the U.S. government's spending on Internet freedom efforts worldwide, including supporting privacy software such as Tor, its program of electronic surveillance was enough of a black mark to earn it a spot on the chart. The eight-year-old index is an annual report that includes some of the most repressive countries on the Web, such as China, Iran and Russia.

Also included is the United Kingdom, which Reporters Without Borders lumps in with the United States for its own role in undermining Internet privacy.

The release of the list comes one day after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called the United States a "threat" to the Internet.

The United States is already ranked 46th in the world for press freedom. As Poynter's Andrew Beaujon notes, its position on that list has fluctuated over the years.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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