EU internet forum draws criticisms for hosting events in nations known for censorship
Saudi Arabia and Russia top the list of nations hosting the EU Internet Governance Forum. Plus: This year's data breaches already top 2022.
1 big thing: The United Nations plans to hold its Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this year, a place known for internet censorship and digital surveillance.
What does this mean for a forum that discusses the future of the internet? According to Barbora Bukovská, senior director at Article 19, a human rights organization, it's extremely problematic. "Their human rights record and their record on digital freedoms should disqualify them from having it," she tells Wired.
Bukovská has reasons to be concerned. Internet censorship and surveillance is widespread in Saudi Arabia, with wide-ranging consequences for those who speak out against the country's human rights abuses.
In recent years, Riyadh has engaged in digital surveillance of dissidents, administering the death penalty against citizens who called out its human rights record online. The Saudi regime also ordered the 2018 extrajudicial killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Freedom House, a pro-democracy nonprofit, assesses that Saudi Arabia maintains one of the world’s most restrictive and censored internet systems, only marginally better than Russia.