Internet Censorship – Should It Be Allowed?

Note: This is a guest post written by Sheine Austria


When the internet was commercialized back in the early 1990’s, people have been thrilled about the amount of freedom that they are about to enjoy when they are online. Be it good or bad, people have found ways to better utilize the internet’s potentials.

Back in those days, quick information was hard to come by; and for communication, even more so. The internet completely changed the way people communicate and interact with each other, by having the internet perfectly assimilate itself into the ever-changing technologies of the world.

However, during the course of the internet’s evolution, people really have used its ability to freely voice their opinions, and the world of social was opened to everyone. One’s freedom of expression can be heard more louder than ever. And some may argue, that the volume is too loud.

Now, a lot of countries throughout the years have tried to pacify the amount of information and opinions that come off the internet, which irked a lot… well, who am I kidding… mostly all of the netizens.

The People’s Republic of China is known to have an iron grip over the Internet as well as traditional media and other means of communication. It has various regulations in place when it comes to use of Internet usage for its citizens, who happen to be amongst the world’s largest population of Internet connection.

This high level of censorship seems politically motivated, as was evident from incidents of arrests of individuals who used the medium to make their voice heard, showing dissent against the countries political scenario. Most recent incident that grabbed headlines across the globe was the plight of blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng who was placed under house arrest for exposing government malpractices and later managed to flee to US. While it was the most discussed issue the world over thanks to censorship, the majority of the Chinese population remained in dark about the developments.

Simply put, Internet censorship is the control or suppression of the publishing of, or access to information on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations at the behest of government, regulators, or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.

Opinions on the topic of Internet censorship vary, with arguments being made both for and against censorship. Moreover, the extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While some countries have little Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens.

Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other areas of censorship includes copyrights, defamation, harassment, and obscene material.

Internet Censhorship Advantage

  1. Protecting Women and Children – The industry that sells adult materials is increasingly competitive. Many adult website think they need to provide more diversions by advocating violent sexual abuse of women and children.
  2. Guarding Against Email Spam – Internet spam is unsolicited email. Spam can contain many types such as:
    – malware that you activate by simply opening the email message. To guard against viruses and spyware, never open any email that seems even slightly suspicious.
    – Phishing schemes that try to steal your identity by asking for your personal information. These notes often appear as to be form seemingly legitimate financial companies asking you to verify your account numbers and passwords.

Internet Censhorship Disadvantages

Internet censorship has technical and potential legal problems.

  1. Technical Limitations – Internet censorship might not always work because new technologies are emerging through which people can use proxy servers to bypass government firewalls.
  2. Potential Legal Problems – If certain websites are blocked, the individual or corporate owners of those blocked websites might be able to sue to have the blocks removed. Hopefully, international treaties and courts eventually can define acceptable behavior for all websites

Judging from the advantages and the disadvantages, there really are reasons to implement it, and even more reason to look into tweaking it a bit more to suit the legalities that it will probably breach.

Note: This guest post was written by Sheine Austria, a free Lance Web Designer

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