Governments routinely blocked messaging apps in 2016

WhatsApp apparently faced the most restrictions.

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Mariella Moon
November 15th, 2016
In this article: gear, mobile, security
Over the past year, authorities from different parts of the globe have been routinely imposing restrictions on messaging apps, according to Freedom House. Based on the non-government org's internet freedom report for 2016, governments have been blocking chat apps and calling platforms recently in an effort to silence protesters and further censor the internet. Freedom House says they're being targeted mostly for their ability to encrypt messages that make them difficult to intercept, as well as for their calling functions that eat into the profit margins of traditional telecoms.

Among all the messaging apps out there, WhatsApp was targeted the most. It was blocked either fully or partially in 12 out of the 65 countries Freedom House looked into. In Brazil, for instance, the government blocked the service a few times for refusing to hand over encrypted chat data related to a drug investigation. It was also blocked in Uganda during the presidential elections in February and during the reelected president's inauguration in May reportedly to suppress people's discontent over the results.

You can read Freedom House's full report on the organization's website, including a ranking of countries with the most internet freedom to the least. Estonia apparently enjoys the most freedom, while China with its infamous "Great Firewall" has the most restricted internet in the world.

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