Over the past decade, the influence of the internet as a means to spread information and challenge existing media controls has rapidly expanded. As events in the Middle East in 2011 demonstrated, the internet has also emerged as a crucial medium through which citizens can mobilize and advocate for political, social, and economic reform. Fearing the power of the new technologies, authoritarian states have devised subtle and not-so-subtle ways to filter, monitor, and otherwise obstruct or manipulate the openness of the internet. Even a number of democratic states have considered or implemented various restrictions in response to the potential legal, economic, and security challenges raised by new media.
In order to illuminate these emerging threats and identify areas of opportunity for internet freedom, Freedom House has developed the first comprehensive, comparative, and numerically based set of indicators for monitoring and analyzing internet freedom.
Freedom on the Net 2013 is the fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013.
Over 60 researchers, nearly all based in the countries they analyzed, contributed to the project by researching laws and practices relevant to the digital media, testing the accessibility of select websites, and interviewing a wide range of sources, among other research activities.
Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year. Nonetheless, Freedom on the Net 2013 also found that activists are becoming more effective at raising awareness of emerging threats and, in several cases, have helped forestall new repressive measures.
To track the countries and their internet activities/restrictions you could visit http://freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-net