Canada Places Sixteenth in the Latest Web Index

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With the release of the Web Index Rankings, that measure economic, social and political benefits from countries across the world on December 11, there are some interesting results. The United Kingdom, as well as the Scandinavian countries continue to lead the index, and Canada ranks sixteenth.

The World Wide Web Foundation began to produce this index in 2012. The Foundation utilizes a wide variety of data that measure the web’s contribution to the world in the areas of social, political and economic progress.

The report furthers that the web has allowed a level-playing field with unprecedented access to information as allowed by Sir Time Berners-Lee and CERN when they choose not to patent the creation of the web. The report states, “Today, armed with little more than a smart phone, anyone– regardless of where they were born and or how much they earn– can start a business, record a music video, crowd fund an invention, take courses with Nobel Prize- winning professors, or even launch a successful campaign for office.”

In this new index, some chilling statistics have come back to the Foundation. Up thirty two percent from last years numbers, political censorship has increased to forty percent. This included the blocking of political or socially sensitive content. In the news lately has been the issue of net neutrality both here in Canada and the United States, and there is a lack of net neutrality in seventy four percent of countries. It should be noted that according to the Sunlight Foundation, only one percent of the US public is opposed to net neutrality, and this is after a plea from late night show host John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. Even with an estimated 1.8 billion internet users still with little to no right for privacy nor freedom of expression, the governmental control of the web continues to this day.

The bad news continues, with an increase of governments bypassing legal frameworks that are in position to protect citizens from government snooping, mainly on our communications, up to eighty four percent. It was at sixty three percent in the last index, and actions like British emergency legislation that was passed in July that saw law enforcement given unprecedented access to both online, and phone records.

The web has capacities that can balance inequality, and the three that the report listed were: access to knowledge, lowering barriers to new businesses innovation and creation, and political participation.

There are four major measures in ranks according to webindex.org:

  • Relevant Content: This sub-Index puts an emphasis on the ability to access information, and the ability to use the internet in the language that is most comfortable for them via channels and platforms that they have access to. In general, it measures if a citizen has content that is available in their country.
  • Freedom and Openness: This sub-Index measures the ability of all citizens in a country to be able to express their opinion, post information, and a guarantee to safety and privacy online.
  • Relevant Content: This sub-Index puts an emphasis on the ability to access information, and the ability to use the internet in the language that is most comfortable for them via channels and platforms that they have access to. In general, it measures if a citizen has content that is available in their country.
  • Empowerment: This sub-Index simply looks to give the people the power to foster positive change in four key areas: society, politics, environment and economy.

When it comes to social and gender, the report does not that only one in five female internet uses live in countries where harassment or abuse of woman is unlikely to be punished.

However, it should still be noted that the internet is still unavailable to 4.4 billion people, and the countries that continue to lead the Web index are in the higher tier of per capita income. Projects such as Project Loon, Space X and Internet.org look to change this pattern, and use new technologies, including satellites, balloons and drones to increase access to the web to all corners of the globe. With the current cost of internet in developing countries up to ten times higher than those in the developed world, we can certainly see where these projects will need support.

Our company has seen the report, and are proud to report that our hosting and email servers, are hosted right here in Canada. Unlike many of these countries on our list, all of our data is protected by strict privacy laws that the Canadian courts have continued to uphold. As a leader in the developed world in hosting and email services, we look forward to contributing to these great projects that will continue to bring the internet to all corners of the world.

“This sets a very clear challenge for the international community. People living in poverty must be able to use the web to improve their lives and their communities every bit as much as affluent groups. The steep slope on the graph needs to be flattened out, making the Web truly ‘for everyone’,” states the report. “Unless and until that happens, the web can’t become an effective weapon to fight poverty and inequality globally. Indeed, it may even contribute to worsening inequality.”

This blog was presented to you by the writers of 4GoodHosting.com

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