Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Countries with sane governments that won't mess with my Internet use?
37 points by prajjwal on May 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments
What countries have governments that have not/are not currently planning to pass stuff like SOPA and don't mess with how people use the internet? Ones that won't block websites at the drop of a hat, for completely bogus/absurd reasons?

Estonia prides itself on running a progressive show with first class support for the Internet (voting for the government takes place online, for example), they stream almost-hard porn on TV before the watershed (it's just not in their culture to care about these things – as a UK citizen, was shocked to find a lesbian movie playing on terrestrial there), English literacy is amazing in the capital (Tallinn) especially among young people, rental and general prices for everything are dirt cheap, and intra-Europe flights are dirt cheap (return ticket to Ireland for €100), with easy access to Russia too (visa free 3 day trips to St Petersberg by ferry).

Not to mention Tallinn is one of the most amazingly relaxing old towns packed with coffee shops with free fast wifi.

Finland (next door neighbour) also has awesome broadband/free wifi penetration, only the MPAA's paw marks have been left all over their courts recently (The Pirate Bay is blocked by several major ISPs in the country)

Switzerland. As stated by the government : [http://www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/ejpd/fr/home/dokumentation/...]

Unfortunately the document is not available in English.

Upvoted. I recently purchased my domain and hosting from infomaniak. Great service.

Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Japan.

Numerous other small countries, often financial havens too.


Whoa! Thanks for the link, have an upvote.

Wow, great link!

What about the Netherlands.

Net Neutrality:


Aren't our ISP's blocking the pirate bay nowadays after a court order? Just googled a bit and I see some articles about it (I'm Dutch but not currently living in the Netherlands so not 100% up to date).

Not only that, but Stichting BREIN (sponsored by the US media industry) also successfully got the court to gag a Dutch political party from mentioning The Pirate Bay in the context of circumventing blocks, on their website.

Net Neutrality has little to do with "censoring" the Internet

I thought it did. How do you think they differ?

Taken from Wikipedia: Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle that advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers or governments on consumers' access to networks that participate in the internet.


The question isn't about net neutrality specifically.

Germany has been successful in shaking of attempts to censor the net. Also the pirate party is gaining support every day and is at 11% on the federal level and entered a couple state parliaments.

But Germany do censor a lot, they're #2 in Google 'Censorship' Rankings: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,690569,00...

A lot of YouTube videos cannot be played in Germany.

A lot of YouTube videos cannot be played in Germany.

Part of that is due to music licencing laws and not allowing it to be streamed in Germany. More of a copyright case than free speech.

Though Germany does have some laws, like it's illegal to show the swastika, or to deny that the holocaust happened, etc.

I live in Germany and I have gotten into a habit to completely ignore Youtube links. Looking forward to an interesting video and then only see the blocking page is highly frustrating.

I'd stay away from DE if you're looking for a free net.

I'm a supporter of the Pirate Party, but the recent history (think Ursula von der Leyen, who constantly tries to ruin different ressorts with braindead ideas) shows that the state considers censorship a viable approach to 'problems'.

In addition, the EU/Brussels are delivering far too much to the US on a silver plate (travel data was the last news) and really like their data retention laws.

The EU is not yet lost, but tries hard to make a lot of wrong decisions.

Iceland and Norway are probably safe bets, though I hope you like fish.

Iceland is a special case here, as they built that into their constitution as part of their fight against the EU-attempt to control the country during the financial crisis. Or so I read. But as wikipedia is stating that icelands ISPs censor the internet currently[1], I'm not sure about the current situation there. But still, maybe a country to look further into.


Norway will soon introduce the DTD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Retention_Directive).

Iceland sure looks promising. :)

Romania is OK so far, plus it has cheap internet with great speed. There was a discussion to add some sort of (low) monitoring but haven't heard anything about this for some time, but so far no blocks or other internet limitations.

I wonder why only Europe is discussed here at the moment. What about Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan? South American countries?

(Myself, can only comment on Russia or Ukraine. Not aware of any Internet filtering in these two.)

Australia has some Internet Censorship issues (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Austral...), but I don't live there so not sure how bad it is on the ground.

When we're talking long term First World, Commonwealth etc. countries none seems to have as bad track record of Internet stewardship as Australia. It's also very expensive, they're at the extreme end of a few pipes.

Australian resident here, internet access is slow, overpriced (Example: $30AUDp/mo for 5GB including upload and downloads, after which you're slowed to 65kb/s until end of month), and seemingly constantly under threat of censorship or lawsuits against ISP's.

Allegedly the National Broadband Network currently rolling out will help alleviate the first two, but best case scenario leaves the latter hanging over our heads.

Australia wanted to block pictures of women with small boobs so they are out of the running

NZ recently passed a 3-strikes anti-piracy law: http://3strikes.net.nz/

Slovenia currently has no bans, no filtering, nothing. Broadband widely available. However, this might not be guaranteed in the future (but right now the government has too many other issues to deal with).

Poland is quite good, but we have to be wary of our government as it tends to pass laws that we just hate (and they wonder then why tens of thousand ppl are on the streets protesting against those laws [they worry more about being reelected next time than about IP rights so they take them down]). But we are also most invigilated country in entire European Union. Though who knows what will be happening soon, as it seems that we will once more end up on US Watchlist (this time because of big pharma).

From what I know Iceland is very good place in this regard.

Thailand censors the net. They're very bad at it (reload a page a few times and you'll usually get through) but it's law nonetheless.

It's interesting to note that they don't censor sites for copyright infringement or piracy. They censor for moral reasons and violations of the country's lese-majesty law.

As a counter point it doesn't matter too much if you live in a country that doesn't have SOPA, if America ever brought it in it'd still ripple across the net for every country.

AFAIK the Scandinavian countries have a good record in this matter, well better than most other countries.

Perhaps they're not censoring much, but in Sweden you're constantly wiretapped.


I think Finland is good, but Denmark isn't.

Denmark was one of the first countries to require ISPs to block sites like The Piratebay. The government have expanded the blocking to sites selling illegal drug( or at least illegal in Denmark), I'm unsure about gambling sites, but it's been a topic.

The Danish government also require ISP to log customers internet activities and store the logs for one year.

I can't comment on the other Scandinavian countries, but no, Denmark doesn't have a good record in this matter, in fact I would claim that it's only slightly better than China.

Just remember that the attitudes of any country can change in the drop of a hat.

Not Belgium...

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact