A new study into online censorship has revealed that asides from the usual suspects (North Korea, Iran, China or Russia), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the most censored country in the world.
By using a range of internet-based data, from the restriction status of pornography, over the percentage of the population using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, to the status of torrents, and the percentage of internet users in each country, Proxyrack gave UAE an 8.03/10 score and dubbed it the world’s most censored country in the world.
The abovementioned countries however, known around the world for their tight grip on the use of internet, freedom of communication and information sharing, were not included. “Ukraine and Russia were removed from the ranking,” the report states, with the other countries not even mentioned.
VPNs and torrents
In any case, as per its statistics, everyone in the UAE uses the internet, but almost half (43.2%) use a VPN.
With VPNs being restricted, together with the use of torrents and porn websites, this was enough to place the country in the number one spot on this infamous list. Second-placed is Qatar, with a 6.95/10 score. This Arabian Gulf country scored somewhat better because it doesn’t restrict torrents, and because a smaller proportion of the country (39.2%) use VPNs.
The top three are rounded out by Saudi Arabia, which only differs from Qatar in the percentage of the population using VPNs - 27.1%.
The only European country to make it to the top ten list is Belarus on #9, and, (if you consider it a European country) Turkey on #10. Australia was placed eighth, while Russia, Ukraine, and North Korea, were completely removed from the analysis. Other countries on the list are Oman, Kazakhstan, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The UK was placed #14, three spots worse than the US.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.
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