Web Brings Freedom and Scrutiny

A global poll has found that the internet has brought greater freedom to users, yet an increase in surveillance.

The poll discovered that more than half of the participants feel the internet is not a safe place to express their opinions. Many believe that greater freedom goes hand in hand with more government surveillance.

The poll was conducted in 17 countries around the world, and is being released as part of Freedom Live - a day of broadcasts exploring the idea of freedom and what it means.

Nigeria topped the poll of countries, where people feel they are safe to express their opinions online, closely followed by Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Kenya and Peru.

In all of those countries, more than half said they felt safe speaking their mind, yet in general 52% felt unsafe online.

Caroline Baylon, a research associate in the international security department of Think-tank Chatham House said: "There is an increasing sense that everything you do online now is being monitored, or at least can be monitored, by either governments or corporations."

"What if, as a result of a political opinion you express online, a government decides to put you on a terrorism watch list? And corporations are also watching what you do.

"There are companies out there whose sole business is to gather data on your online activities, create a profile on you, and then sell that information onwards. What if employers purchase that information? Could something you post prevent you from getting a job?"

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