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6 things that might surprise you about the way the world uses the internet

With approximately one third of the world’s total population online, there’s a definite difference in the way each part of the planet uses the net. Which country spends the most time online? Where has the highest percentage of internet users signed up to social networks? And who doesn’t — gasp — like Facebook best? Drawing on the latest data from governments, companies and user polls, a new report sets out to answer those questions. Here’s what it tells us about how Earth does the internet. 

China cracks down on online rumors

The Chinese government has decided to crack down even further on online free speech, introducing prison sentences of up to three years for users who write defamatory messages.

Chatter: Where else is the US government snooping?

There are new revelations of covert surveillance by the US government, Turkey's prime minister tells protesters to go home, China's president meets America's, and Northern Ireland plasters over years of troubles.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
There are new revelations of covert surveillance by the US government, Turkey's prime minister tells protesters to go home, China's president meets America's, and Northern Ireland plasters over years of troubles.
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As if his life wasn't insane enough, John McAfee's home in Belize burned to the ground

The drama in tech mogul John McAfee's life never seems to end. The Belize compound where he lived before he snuck out of the country to avoid talking to police about a murder was burned to the ground last week.

Google Drive disruption plagues Internet users

Google Drive users may have found themselves faced with an inexplicable disruption in their usually trusty cloud-based service on March 18th, leaving many internet addicts and IT worker bees questioning what exactly was going on. No answers yet, says Google, but users are quickly seeing their Drive service restored, according to the Apps Status dashboard — meaning those sad, broken-apart robots are unlikely to be a permanent browser fixture for the Drive-reliant among us.

France purges the hashtag from the language; offers French replacement for the term

French Twitter addicts, be forewarned: the word "hashtag" is officially frowned upon in language-proud France, where government officials have decided to purge the 21st-century phrase from the language, replacing it with one of their own.

Internet access is "essential" human right, rules German court

Is the Internet an essential human right? A German court has deemed Internet access "essential," and compared a lack of access to the loss of a car in terms of its ability to disrupt lives.

Turkey has some serious human rights issues

A number of right groups have sent an open letter to President Obama asking for a firmer hand dealing with Turkey. We lay out what the problems are.
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sits in Parliament on December 10, 2012. Erdogan has been behind many repressive new laws that human rights groups say violate political freedoms. ( ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In an open letter to President Obama today, a number of rights organizations expressed their concern with the continuing human rights situation in Turkey, specifically calling on the administration to take a stronger hand with Prime Minister Erdogan.

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OpSyria: Anonymous declares cyberwar on Syrian government for taking Syria offline

The hacker collective Anonymous has threatened to attack Syrian government websites, as Syria remains offline for a second day.

Domain wars: South America vs. Amazon.com

LIMA — In the latest battle over coveted web domain names, there's a rumble in the jungle — pitting Amazon vs. the Amazon.
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