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FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.
All countries are not the same when it comes to online freedom and security issues. This is borne out by recent statistics published by Richard Patterson of Comparitech.
When it comes to the amount of freedom offered by countries on the internet, a scale of 1 to 100 is implemented, with 1 being the absolute best possible, and with 100 being the worst. While the United States comes in with a relatively low score of 18, the US is not ranked the most free. Indeed, both Iceland and Estonia have a very low score of 6, with Canada next at 16, then the US at 18. Other relatively free counties include Germany at 19, Australia at 21, Japan at 22, the UK at 23, and South Africa and Italy both at 25.
The countries that rank most poorly when it comes are internet freedom are: China at 88, Iran at 87, Syria at 87, Ethiopia at 83, Cuba and Uzbekistan both at 79, Viet Nam at 76, Saudi Arabia at 72, Bahrain at 71 and Pakistan at 69.
While the United States offers a fair degree of internet freedom, that freedom does not necessarily translate to online security. For example, a whopping 66% of global web application attacks had US targets. Germany and Brazil are next, while each receiving only 5% of such attacks.
Along the same lines, the US, by far and away, is the country most affected by cyber espionage. The US had the highest rate of such espionage at 54%, with South Korea next, at only 4%.
And the United States is not as pure as the white driven snow when it comes to sources of of global denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Indeed, the second highest percentage of such attacks, 21.59%, originate from the US. And China is not far ahead in terms of being the highest attacks source, at 29.56%. The UK comes in as the third worst offender at 16.17%, and France is the fourth worst offender at 8.72%.
Obviously, the global internet is dynamic, and how countries handle their online presence can vary over time, so the picture painted above is subject to change. Hopefully, the United States will remain and even improve in terms of internet freedom, while protecting itself better from outside attacks and while becoming less of a source of attacks.
Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.