Freedom on the Net is a collaborative effort between Freedom House staff and a network of more than 85 researchers, who come from civil society organizations, academia, journalism, and other backgrounds, covering 70 countries. In repressive environments, Freedom House takes care to ensure researchers’ anonymity and/or works with experts living abroad.
This report was made possible by the generous support of Amazon, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Google, the Hurford Foundation, Internet Society, Lilly Endowment Inc., the New York Community Trust, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and Verizon. Freedom House is committed to editorial independence. Our donors do not influence the organization’s research priorities, report findings, or policy recommendations.
The Freedom on the Net team expresses their gratitude to the global internet freedom community, including the many individuals and organizations whose tireless and courageous work informs this report.
Freedom House staff
- Adrian Shahbaz, Vice President of Research and Analysis
- Allie Funk, Research Director for Technology and Democracy
- Jennifer Brody, Deputy Director of Policy and Advocacy for Technology and Democracy
- Kian Vesteinsson, Senior Research Analyst for Technology and Democracy
- Grant Baker, Research Analyst for Technology and Democracy
- Cathryn Grothe, Research Analyst for Middle East and North Africa
- Matthew Barak, Research Associate
- Maddie Masinsin, Community Engagement Specialist for Technology and Democracy
- Rucha Modi, former Research Associate for Technology and Democracy
- Elizabeth Sutterlin, Research Associate for Technology and Democracy
Amelia Larson, David Meijer, Shannon O’Toole, Tyler Roylance, and Lora Uhlig edited Freedom on the Net. Michael Abramowitz, Gerardo Berthin, Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Annie Boyajian, Sarah Cook, Yana Gorokhovskaia, Nate Schenkkan, and Lara Shane provided valuable feedback on the summary of findings. Gabriela Ivanova, Tsering Lhamo, Dasha M., Eva Stanley, and Jessica White provided research assistance. Danielle Dougall and Alex Rochefort served as research consultants.
- Angola: Africa Monitor Intelligence
- Argentina: Eduardo Ferreyra, independent researcher
- Armenia: Samvel Martirosyan, Co-Founder of CyberHUB-AM
- Australia: Samantha Floreani and Lizzie O'Shea, Digital Rights Watch
- Azerbaijan: Arzu Geybulla, independent researcher
- Brazil: Artur Pericles Lima Monteiro, Schmidt Visiting Scholar, Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs; Resident Fellow, Information Society Project, Yale Law School; Affiliated Researcher, Constitution, Law & Politics Group, University of São Paulo
- Cambodia: Sopheap Chak, Cambodian Center for Human Rights
- Canada: Allen Mendelsohn, McGill University
- Colombia: Susana Echavarría Medina, El Veinte
- Costa Rica: Óscar Mario Jiménez Alvarado, Fernando José Martínez de Lemos, Johanna Rodríguez López, Programa de Libertad de Expresión, Programa de Libertad de Expresión y Derecho a la Información (PROLEDI), Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
- Cuba: Ted A. Henken, Baruch College, City University of New York
- Ecuador: Ana Aguilera A., Susana Cadena V., Emily Fonseca J., Julio López P., Diego Pérez V., Carolina Torres G., and Margarita Yépez V., Fundación Datalat
- Estonia: Hille Hinsberg and Florian Marcus, Proud Engineers
- Ethiopia: Atnafu Brhane, Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD)
- France: Théophile Lenoir, University of Milan
- Georgia: Teona Turashvili, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
- Germany: Matthieu Binder and Paul Ritzka, iRights.Lab
- Hungary: Dalma Dojcsák, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
- Iceland: Arnaldur Sigurðarson, independent researcher
- Indonesia: Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)
- Iran: Mahsa Alimardani, University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute
- Iraq: Hayder Hamzoz and Assia Abdulkareem, INSM Foundation for Digital Rights
- Italy: Philip Di Salvo, postdoctoral researcher, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Universität St. Gallen and Antonella Napolitano, independent researcher
- Japan: Hamada Tadahisa, Japan Computer Access for Empowerment
- Lebanon: Marianne Rahme, SMEX
- Libya: Jabir Zain, Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press
- Malawi: Jimmy Kainja, University of Malawi
- Malaysia: Kelly Koh, Sinar Project
- Mexico: Vladimir Cortés, independent researcher
- Myanmar: Oliver Spencer, independent researcher
- Nicaragua: IPANDETEC
- Nigeria: Adeboro Odunlami, independent researcher
- Philippines: Vino Lucero, independent researcher
- Serbia: Mila Bajić, Asja Lazarević, Bojan Perkov, SHARE Foundation
- Singapore: Kirsten Han, independent researcher
- South Africa: Tshepiso Hadebe, PPM Attorneys
- South Korea: Yenn Lee, SOAS University of London
- Sudan: Digital Rights Lab - Sudan
- Taiwan: Ming-Syuan Ho, independent researcher
- Thailand: Emilie Pradichit and Letitia Visan, Manushya Foundation
- The Gambia: Nasiru Deen, independent researcher
- Tunisia: Yosr Jouini, independent researcher
- Turkey: Gürkan Özturan, Media Freedom Rapid Response Coordinator at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
- Ukraine: Olga Kyryliuk, independent researcher
- United Kingdom: Dr. Edina Harbinja, Aston University
- United States: Rachel Lau, independent researcher
- Uzbekistan: Ernest Zhanaev, doctoral researcher, University of St Andrews
- Venezuela: Raisa Urribarri, Universidad de Los Andes
- Vietnam: Trinh Huu Long, Legal Initiatives for Vietnam
- Zambia: Bulanda T. Nkhowani, independent researcher
- Zimbabwe: Nompilo Simanje, Africa Advocacy and Partnerships Lead, International Press Institute
Researchers for Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates wished to remain anonymous.
- Elwaleed Ahmed, independent researcher
- Eto Buziashvili, Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab
- Alejandra Caraballo, Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic
- Hakeem Dawd Qaradaghi, independent researcher
- Renee DiResta, Technical Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observatory
- Piseth Duch, human rights lawyer
- Katie Harbath, Founder and CEO, Anchor Change
- Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford Cyber Policy Center
- Jumana Musa, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Peace Oliver Amuge, Africa Regional Strategy Lead at The Association for Progressive Communications
- Qiang Xiao, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times and research scientist at the School of Information, University of California Berkeley
A note on additional sources and data
For this report’s main essay, Freedom House identified several ways in which AI exacerbated digital repression during the coverage period and collected the relevant information across 70 countries covered by Freedom on the Net. The essay’s analysis and data points were partly informed by the individual Freedom on the Net country reports, written by external report authors that are listed above. Freedom House staff also conducted additional research and drew on the important work of various media groups, civil society organizations, and other experts, including but not limited to the Artificial Intelligence Incident Database, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for European Policy Analysis, Cloudflare, Graphika, NewsGuard, the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), and the OECD AI Policy Observatory. Research and analysis from experts including Robert Chesney, Danielle Citron, Alex C. Engler, Steven Feldstein, Matt Fredrikson, J. Zico Kolter, Odanga Madung, Brian Obilo, Grigore Pop-Eleches, Margaret E. Roberts, Zifan Wang, Lucan A. Way, Samuel C. Woolley, Eddie Yang, and Andy Zou also influenced the essay. Freedom House furthermore wishes to acknowledge the academics, researchers, and civil society activists who have worked to document, respond to, and mitigate AI-driven harms, including those not addressed in this report.
How to cite this report
Shahbaz, Funk, Brody, Vesteinsson, Baker, Grothe, Barak, Masinsin, Modi, Sutterlin eds. Freedom on the Net 2023, Freedom House, 2023, freedomonthenet.org.
Shahbaz, Funk, and Vesteinsson, “The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence,” in Shahbaz, Funk, Vesteinsson, Brody, Baker, Grothe, Barak, Masinsin, Modi, Sutterlin eds. Freedom on the Net 2023, Freedom House, 2023, freedomonthenet.org.
“Angola,” in Shahbaz, Funk, Brody, Vesteinsson, Baker, Grothe, Barak, Masinsin, Modi, Sutterlin eds. Freedom on the Net 2023, Freedom House, 2023, freedomonthenet.org.
Explore the Report
Explore the latest edition of Freedom on the Net to learn how artificial intelligence is increasing the scale, speed, and efficiency of digital repression.
Learn how policymakers, regulators, and tech companies can protect internet freedom.
Visit our Countries in Detail page to view all Freedom on the Net 2023 scores and read individual country narratives.