back to article UK is fifth free-est nation on the internet

The UK is the fifth free-est place on the internet, according to a thinktank report. Of those countries assessed, only Estonia, the USA, Germany and Australia offered more internet freeness than Britain. According to the rating system developed by NGO Freedom House, which counts former HP chief and unsuccessful would-be …


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  1. Caff


    No listing for Ireland on the site.... though maybe we come under Germany now??

    1. Marky W

      Only 37 countries listed

      And only UK, Germany and Italy included from Western Europe. On a full ranking we'd be lower down, but still in the 'free section'.

      Pint because I'm thirsty.

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Oh for God's sake!

    Look I'm doing my best to get us up that league table but I am just one man and the Missus doesn't go out down the shops as often as she used due to the recession, heav, ermmm...I'll get me, ermmm....well you know.....

  3. Richard Tobin

    Not the fifth free-est

    Just the fifth in a list that doesn't include France, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Japan, Greece, ...

  4. SuperTim


    They are very restricted. How did they get on this list?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Australia

      And about to get a lot worse. We'll be in the same section as Iran and Saudi Arabia when Conroy's censor boxes come online. They'll no doubt have a bit of ACTA love thrown in too.

      Can't wait to see what happens when the NBN is finished and Conroy and his rabid Christian mates from the ACL have their grubby hands on the switch.

  5. Spanners Silver badge
    Big Brother

    A bit like ASBOs then

    Clever/worthy people say that someone is bad and give them a black mark. The receiver of this regards it as a badge of honour and works hard to upgrade it.

    Places that restrict their slaves access to the internet will see this as a recognition that they are doing an effective job. Places like the UK will see that there is room for more restrictions since "we are not as bad as XXXX ".

    1. Ted Treen
      Black Helicopters

      You realise, of course...

      ...that your having seen through them means there will be a knock on your door at 0330hrs, and a voice will claim "It's the postman!"...

  6. Dave 15


    I think not. I don't like or agree with some of the content on the internet. However, if we are to be free we should allow it all through. There are people with religious, cultural, political views that I find abhorrent, some of the sexual predilictions of others also disgust me. However I would prefer that these things were not censored than the heavy hand of the state spies on everything we do.

  7. envmod
    Thumb Down


    i thought they would have banned this report according to most stuff I read on Australian internet policy. Turns out they have more net freedom than the UK - I guess the media are guilty of over-hyping Australia's banning spree huh? Unusual for the media to do that I must say.

    1. Paul_Murphy

      The good news

      Is that, if you block all the adverts, the internet doesn't force content upon you - after all unless you happen to have 'aspergers hands' (tm) all that 'monkey-nun porn' and the like will stay hidden from you - but available to anyone who wants it.


      1. Displacement Activity

        "Monkey-nun porn"???

        Ok, I'm not going to believe that without a link.

        1. kwikbreaks

          Give them what they ask for..

          > Ok, I'm not going to believe that without a link

          Here you go -

          Must admit I was surprised - I must lead a sheltered life

  8. Blubster


    Things over here must be worse than we think if we've come below the Aussies in the internet freedom stakes.

  9. Gleb

    Estonia =\= free

    Did you know that most if not all online casinos are blocked in Estonia? That includes pokerstars. I cant believe that such prohibition laws are outweight by greater injustice in blightey. Confuzeorama.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    USA, Germany and Australia


    I guess this is from the same survey that says how flying cars are "just around the corner".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Do you actually know anything about how much government control of the internet there is in the US? Or are your knees just jerking because you heard something about this copywrite thing somewhere? (Which would be a bit rich coming from a (presumed) Brit, who hasn't got the right to put his own CDs on an MP3 player.)

      Last time I checked, the only major idiot government jackbooting regarding the net here is its attack on gambling sites. We had one local nobody who tried and failed to put the kibosh (legally, anyway) on Craigslist... Aside from that, we don't have some unaccountable organization 'protecting' us from kiddie porn, we don't have absurdly onerous libel laws, and we -do- have protection of speech codified at the highest level of government - protection which has been used to repeatedly smack down the censorship you probably read about as it was proposed by some local wackjob - but never noticed being blocked and struck down immediaely thereafter.

      I realize that it's trendy among Reg readers to attack the US as the epitome of autocratic oppression, but it just ain't so. Perhaps in your next post you should consider the facts before you come out with the oh-so-convincing 'BWAHAHAHA'.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I'm wondering if oz did as well as it did because some of the worst stuff is still I the 'proposal' stage, and because a bunch of it (book / media / video game censorship) -affects- net freedom but isn't exclusive to the net. So, oz's general lack of freedom imnpinges on net freedom as a byproduct, but there isn't as much directed -spefically- at the net.

    I'm not an expert on the situation there, though.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Immediat thought

    God help all the others...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So we're less free than

    Aus, USA and a former soviet republic? Nice one, Labour.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    oh, and one other thing...

    "Fifth free-est nation on the internet" could also mean that, of the nations which are on the internet, the UK is the fifth free-est in general. Or it could also mean that several nations, each free-er than the last, got on the internet one after another, and the UK was the fifth one.

    It actually seems like your intended usage is the least plausible.

    Just sayin'.

  15. Homer 1
    Big Brother

    Not for long

    The report's criteria for freedom is "Cyber attacks, politically-motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure", apparently, but what about CORPORATE-motivated censorship and control, which seems to be a far bigger problem for the West.

    Wait 'till The Digital Economy Act comes into full force, then we'll see how well Blighty fares on that table. Or more likely, we'll see how representative of "freedom" this Think Tank's analysis really is.

    As for the US being at #2, that's a joke - right? Hello! Wikileaks, anyone? How about DMCA takedown notices and NSA National Security Letters?

    It isn't that the West doesn't censor, and middle/far East does, it's simply that the two forms of censorship are somewhat different. The latter favours the State's political ideologies, whereas the former favours corrupt corporations big enough to hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. Having lived and worked extensively in several of those middle/far East countries, I have to say I find their particular brand of censorship far less sinister, by comparison. Money always seems to be the vilest motivator.

    Sorry, but this "Think Tank" report reeks of sponsored propaganda.

  16. Sven Schubert

    If the list champions some of the most restrictive countries in the EU...

    ... what must be the bottom of the list look like?

    Somalia? North Korea?

    Germany isn't internet-free - if anything, the internet in Germany is slowly turning into a Germannet, where content is made unavailable after 8pm CET for the purpose of youth protection, where people are sued for comments on discussion boards and private website owners come under scrutiny for failing to include a 10 page imprint containing legal mumbo jumbo.

    Australia? Really??? The country that until recently wanted to create its own version of the Great Chinese (fire)wall?

    The UK? Internet-free???

    Okay, where's the comedy tag, 'cause I didn't see one.

  17. Darryl


    Lucky us Canadians aren't on that Internet thing. Or a good chunk of Europe for that matter

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, what?

    UK? Free?

    Never have I laughed so hard!

    Esp. saying that Australia is more free.

    This thinktank report is bullshit.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Australia?! Haha!

    Australia are one of the worst countries in the free world in terms on censorship. I've lived there - a COMPLETE nanny state. Did you know they want to ban all "humiliating" content from the Internet?

    The report is a joke - seriously.

  20. Rombizio

    Free-est? What?

    WTH? This is a stupid rank. Completely stupid. Australia in 4th? HAHAHAHAHA Give me a break. It is impossible to assess the level of internet freedom. Is like pregnancy...a woman cannot be 48.3% pregnant. Either she is, or she is not. Freedom: or you have it or you don't. And none of us have it, btw. They are out there watching you.

  21. Derrick White

    Missing Country

    Umm...What happened to Canada?

  22. LaeMing Silver badge

    Race to the bottom

    Don't worry about us Aussies being more 'free' than you Brits. Our leaders are working on fixing that ASAP. It will be hard, I know, with your own Govt. working so hard to move down the list too, but I am confident our Aussieness will prevail and we will eventually make a slot below you.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Carly Fiorina????? Mrs. How-to-****-AT&T-and-move-on????

    Jesus christ. They should brought back the glass ceiling just for her.

  24. Rattus Rattus

    Australia is more free than the UK?

    Wow, guys, you really ARE in trouble.

  25. Lars Silver badge

    Carly trying to remeber countries of the world.

    Nothing wrong with Estonia, just wondering how she came to think of it, the East or the Stone or the Onia or something.

    Must be one of the funniest reports I have seen. What about reporting on the US about what ever, choosing randomly only some five states. Nice. Well.

  26. Ooo-wait-BUT!
    Paris Hilton

    On the surface, manipulative, inaccurate and nasty...

    ... but delve a little deeper and see, in 6 to 12 months time, the forming of a new "internet safety regime" based solely on the findings of this orchestrated offal and backed by the offices of Homeland Security and probably Sony.

    Trouble is, no-one with any influence is tainted by the pearls of truth from everyday folks as depicted daily in the tardy pages of 'El Reg'. The very worst atrocities, as always, are being commited by the very people we employ to protect us from these very atrocities.

    Paris likes pearls too.

  27. E 2

    The report has a serious flaw

    It lists only 30 countries, most of them known to have illiberal politics.

    In a study of internet freedom I would think a country like Canada might have been included!

  28. alwarming

    Carly & Freedom ???

    Wasn't she the biggest friend of DRM & biggest foe of P2P ??? :)

  29. kabuki.usb

    uk has the fifth bigest dick heads on the internet

    More lies and proper-gander by labour left wing vermin( and MI6)

  30. Darren Forster

    Was very surprised at this list...

    When I read this and notice Estonia was at the top, and Sweden was no-where in this list this really did surprise me, until I went to view the whole website to find out where Sweden came, considering how it has dealt in the past with sites like The Pirate Bay, compared to how us and the USA have dealt with similar sites.

    I then found a big flaw in this list - Sweden, along with all of the other Nordic countries, and half of the European countries were not included in this list.

    What is the point in this list, unless all the countries of the world are included you can't say Britain is fifth, it's like saying Pepsi is the number one coke, and excluding Coca-Cola from the list, absolutely useless statistic.

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