Ratings are determined through an examination of three broad categories: obstacles to access, limits on content, and violation of user rights.
Obstacles to Access: assesses infrastructural and economic barriers to access; governmental efforts to block specific applications or technologies; and legal, regulatory and ownership control over internet and mobile phone access providers.
Limits on Content: examines filtering and blocking of websites; other forms of censorship and self-censorship; manipulation of content; the diversity of online news media; and usage of digital media for social and political activism.
Violations of User Rights: measures legal protections and restrictions on online activity; surveillance; privacy; and repercussions for online activity, such as legal prosecution, imprisonment, physical attacks, or other forms of harassment.
Below are two lists identifying the ten most free and ten least free nations for internet use of the 37 studied by Freedom House.
Ten most free of the 37 nations studied
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
Ten least free of the 37 nations studied
- Saudi Arabia