Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Giphy / Via giphy.com A day on the internet can feel like a year, and as Very Online people we barely remember 2018.But luckily the folks at independent democracy and free expression watchdog Freedom House don't have this problem. They mapped internet freedom in Australia over the year from June 2018 to May 2019 — and found that it declined.New restrictions on the online content Australians can access, legal changes affecting online expression, and a significant cyber attack mean we've dropped two points on their scoring system, down from 79 to 77 out of 100, despite having generally good access to the internet because of prices and infrastructure.These are the five key developments for Australia's internet freedom from the past year, according to the watchdog's new report. 1. More than 40 websites hosting the Christchurch video were blocked. Pool / Getty Images In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shooting in March, a group of Australian internet service providers (ISPs) voluntarily blocked access to 43 websites hosting the video of the attack or the shooter's manifesto, including 4chan, 8chan and LiveLeak. In September, the eSafety commissioner, Australia's internet watchdog, used her power for the first time to direct ISPs to block websites. She ordered ISPs to stop Australians from accessing eight unknown websites that continued to host Christchurch content, allowing them to lift their previous voluntary restrictions. 2. New laws mean social media giants face jail terms and massive fines for hosting violent content. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images Tech executives could go to jail and their companies fined billions of dollars under new laws passed by the Australian Parliament in April 2019.The eSafety commissioner now has the power to give notice to sites and ISPs that they're hosting "abhorrent violent material", videos depicting rape, murder, terrorism, kidnap or torture. If they don't act quickly enough, people can go to jail for up to three years, or a company could be fined up to 10% of its annual global turnover. 3. A "sophisticated state actor" hacked parliament and political parties. Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE Australia's cyber intelligence agency declared a cyber attack on Australia's parliamentary computing network (including networks of its three biggest political parties) was the country's first ever national cyber crisis. Politicians were forced to reset their passwords following "malicious activity by a sophisticated state actor" announced in February. The prime minister Scott Morrison didn't say who was responsible, however a secret Australian Signals Directorate report said that China's Ministry of State Security was behind the cyber attack. 4. Coverage of cardinal George Pell's trial was restricted by a court. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images Pell was convicted of child sexual abuse in December 2018 — but most Australians didn't find out until February. That's because the court had issued a suppression order preventing Australian media outlets from reporting on the verdict, to avoid prejudicing a second trial that was later abandoned. The suppression order meant Freedom House marked Australia down a point for censorship of online journalism and commentary. Dozens of journalists faced contempt charges for allegedly violating the order. However, other journalists defended the order. The order didn't stop international outlets like The Daily Beast reporting on the conviction immediately. 5. The Australian government gave itself powers to access encrypted data. Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE The Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation received new powers in December 2018, enabling them to force tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Signal to develop tools to access encrypted communications of people being investigated for criminal acts. Freedom House describes the new law as just the latest expansion in the government's surveillance and data-gathering capabilities, following 2015 laws giving police warrant-free access to communications metadata.