This week’s edition of Digital World leads with stories about censorship and VPN usage across markets: French privacy regulator fines Google for not removing RTBF links outside of Europe, pending Chinese law has the potential to turn the country’s internet into an intranet and a GlobalWebIndex study finds that Indonesia is a leader in VPN usage. Meanwhile, Eastern European tablet market grows by double digits and Japan’s largest broadcaster NHK starts international marketing ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As the markets in Turkey, Russia and Czech Republic continue to grow, tablet ownership is expected to hit almost 80 million this year across Central and Eastern Europe. eMarketer’s most recent prediction for tablet usage suggests that the region will be home to 78.6 million tablet owners who use the device at least once per month. The highest percentage of usage can be found in Russia, however Turkey, despite being less than half the size of Russia takes second place as one of the fastest growing markets in the region.
French privacy authority, the Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés, is demanding that links excluded under Europe’s “Right to be forgotten” law (RTBF) be removed from all of Google’s indexes globally, as currently individual country domain removals can be circumvented by Google.com.
Google has previously stated that RTBF would be limited to European users:
“We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused on services directed to European users, and that’s the approach we are taking in complying with it.”
Despite making RTBF content inaccessible globally for European users, this week French authorities fined Google $112,000 for failing to remove RTBF links from the entire search index globally. Google has said it will appeal.
SearchEngineLand reports that CNIL’s unwillingness to compromise seems to ignore larger issues. Countries such as Russia, China or Saudi Arabia could pass laws that ask for the same type of content removal – content that’s politically unpalatable or disagreeable in some way. CNIL’s refusal to compromise could pave the way for groups and corrupt governments to censor the internet.
Evidence shows that Indonesia’s internet users are rebelling against the government’s attempt to censor the internet. An infographic published by Wired.com proves that Indonesia is the world leader in virtual private network (VPN) usage with 41 per cent of all people online in Indonesia using it. This could be down to the fact, despite formerly being a country that had an open approach to the internet, more recently Indonesia has faced high profile censorship cases. Accessing the internet via a VPN allows users to circumvent geo-restrictions on platforms such as YouTube and blocked sites. Indonesia is followed by Thailand (39% usage) with United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Brazil closely following with 36% usage each. Most European countries, the US and Japan score well below the global average.
Japan’s largest broadcaster, NHK World TV has collaborated with UK’s Virgin Media to gain coverage and target UK customers ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The three-day campaign will advertise its English language service and travel shows to an international audience, starting this week. As well as promoting across Virgin Media’s homepage, the London Underground, wifi ads and their cable TV, NHK World TV has also hired a specialist TV PR company to boost promotion of its shows.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has caused quite a stir among observers. A new law currently under consideration has left the public alarmed with its choice of words. The cryptic writing generated a mix of opinions with commentators attempting to understand what the new law could mean. Some have concluded that the new law will turn the internet into an intranet and others believe it is just another set of regulations. The pending legislation is now open for public comment until April 25.
Paris by Flickr user Moyan Brenn
Tokyo by Flickr user Moyan Brenn
No Parking Bicycles by Flickr user hans-johnson