Free speech and privacy on the wane across the world

Autocratic rule, increased media restrictions and use of mass surveillance affect almost half global population, researchers find Nearly half the worlds people are living in countries where their freedom of speech and right to privacy are being eroded, researchers have found. Strongman regimes seeking to squash voices of dissent and solidify political power are increasingly monitoring citizens through technology, cracking down on protests and jailing journalists, according to a ranking of 198 countries on issues including mass surveillance and data privacy. The Cambodia, where national elections last year prompted Hun Sen, who has been the countrys prime minister for 34 years, to social credit system a mass surveillance and AI programme that gives citizens a social credit score based on …

China reportedly signs secret deal to station troops in Cambodia

Wall Street Journal says US officials have seen pact but Cambodian PM denies move China has signed a secret deal to allow its military troops to be stationed at a naval base in Cambodia, according to reports. The Belt and Road once sleepy seaside town of Sihanoukville, which has become a focal point of Chinese investment, with almost 100 casinos springing up in two years catering solely for Chinese visitors and a special economic zone established for Chinese companies. Chinese nationals now own more than 90% of businesses in Sihanoukville. If true, its further evidence of Cambodia falling deeper and deeper into Chinas embrace, said Sophal Ear, a prominent Cambodian political scientist. It does not come as a surprise as …