Governments are looking to control more of your internet usage.

This according to a new report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy organisation, that highlights the level of internet freedom across the globe.

“Governments around the world are tightening control over citizens’ data and using claims of ‘fake news’ to suppress dissent, eroding trust in the internet as well as the foundations of democracy,” the organisation explained in their Freedom on the Net 2018 report.

They’ve also found that online freedom across the globe is on the decline once again, making it the eighth consecutive year where that was the case.

“Democracies are struggling in the digital age, while China is exporting its model of censorship and surveillance to control information both inside and outside its borders,” adds Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

Of the 65 countries assessed by Freedom House, 26 of them are said to have experienced a deterioration in internet freedom, with China found to be the worst offender, followed by Iran and Syria.

As far as South Africa is concerned, our nation is classified as “free”, with an overall score of 25 out of 100. This places us on par with European countries like France, and just above the United Kingdom at 23 out of 100.

“Internet freedom in South Africa remains free and open, with access to the internet available to over half the country’s population. Increased access is a core concern for government, civil society, and the private sector, which has led to collaborative efforts between public and private players to expand the information and communication technology (ICT) sector,” notes the report on SA by Freedom House.

It looks like much of South Africa’s obstacles lie in fact that internet penetration remains relatively low, along with access to the internet also being quite expensive. An additional concern is the role government will play in how we access the internet in coming years.

For now it’s good to see South Africa listed as a free country when it comes to the internet, but more can always be done to improve our status.

Head here to check out Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net 2018 report.