Google’s recent decision to make its internet browser Chrome available to web surfers in Cuba was met with cheers and high fives by Fidel Castro’s three little pigs: Three Cuban-American organizations who under the guise of seeking liberty in Cuba actually spend all their time, money, and resources lobbying for the Castro regime and calling for the removal of sanctions against the Western Hemisphere’s bloodiest and most repressive regime. What the three lechoncitos fail to mention is that Google Chrome (or any web browser for that matter) is of little use in a country where the internet is either unavailable or severely censored. Providing free web browsers to Cubans is like giving reading glasses to a prisoner held in a pitch black cave.
Interactive map shows you where internet censorship is strongest
If you’re reading this, you probably enjoy open internet access as a matter of course. However, other countries aren’t quite so liberal. How do you know where you’re truly free? IVPN’s new interactive censorship map might just answer that question for you. The site lets you click on a given country to quickly learn about its tendencies to block free speech online, attack critics and shred anonymity. Not surprisingly, very authoritarian governments like China, Cuba and Iran don’t score well — they tend to insist on real names when you post, and will throw you in prison for challenging the internet status quo. Many other countries, like Russia and Venezuela, walk an awkward line between freedom and trying to crush dissent.
The map is far from perfect. There are quite a few gaps, although that’s partly dictated by countries that can’t or won’t offer data (North Korea isn’t exactly the sharing type). Also, you may scoff at the nations deemed truly free — the info comes from 2012, before we knew about Australia’s proposed anti-leak measures, American surveillance revelations or the UK’s hit-and-miss porn filter. Still, the guide should make it at least a little bit easier to understand where it’s safe to speak your mind.