U.S. human rights organisation Freedom House placed Estonia on the top position before USA and Germany in the new Freedom on the Net 2012 study.
The study compared Internet freedom trends in 47 states of the world from January 2011 to May 2012.
In case of every state, obstacles to access of the internet, limits on content and violations of user rights, for example arrests of bloggers, existence of paid political commentators or attacks against opposition were observed.
Internet freedom was protected in states that got 0-30 points and missing in states that got 61-100 points.
Estonia received 10 points on the 100 points scale.
According to the report, access to Internet has remained unchanged in Estonia as compared to the 2011 report, limits on content have deteriorated by a notch while protection of user rights has improved a notch.
The analysts noted that while Estonia ranks among the most wired and technologically-advanced countries in the world, restrictions on internet content and communications in Estonia are among the lightest in the world, due in part to Estonia’s strong privacy laws, there are some instances of content removal.
Most of these cases involve civil court orders to remove inappropriate or off-topic reader comments from news sites.
In January 2010, a new law on online gambling came into force, requiring all domestic and foreign gambling sites to obtain a special license or face access restrictions.
As of June 2012, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board had placed 636 websites on its list of illegal online gambling sites, requiring Estonian ISPs to block them.