Happy 4th: Celebrating freedoms and independence

The United States enjoys a great number of freedoms that are easy to take for granted, not the least of which being, access to the internet. The whole internet. 

We are far from perfect in this area. Reporters Without Borders ranks the United States just 49th of 180 countries in their 2015 World Press Freedom Index and we’re on the decline. Freedom House's Freedom on the Net report has also scored the United States lower in recent years, from a 12 in 2012 to a 19 in 2014 (0 being the best, 100 being the worst).

That said, I am here writing and, for those in the United States, you are here reading. According to Freedom House:

Access to the internet in the United States remains relatively free compared with the rest of the world. Users face few restrictions on their ability to access and publish content online. The courts have consistently held that federal and state constitutional prohibitions against government regulation of speech apply to material published on the internet. The law also protects online service providers from liability for infractions committed by their users, a policy that fosters business models that permit open discourse and the free exchange of information.

While other governments have complete control over the content their citizens see, we are free to join, or start, any social network we like. We stream videos on YouTube, watch movies on Netflix, blog about whatever we want to, and the tools developed here are being used to support revolutions for more freedom around the world.

Things could be worse. And the freedoms we enjoy don’t stop at the internet. The United States is not perfect and we have plenty of room for improvement, but today, I encourage you to take a moment to be grateful for the freedoms you enjoy.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.