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Internet Censorship: Beneficial, But Restrictive

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Table of contents

    Internet Censorship is a Way to Protecting Children
    Censoring the Internet is not Enough
    Censorship Needs to Be Done for the Betterment of the Society, not for Political Gains
  1. Conclusion
  2. References

Imagine it is the year 2025 or more and at that time you are asked or straight declined to use social media websites on which most people rely on nowadays as their favourite pass time. Now imagine it is the year 2030 or more and you are asked to not use the Internet. Sounds scary, right?

Internet has become an integral part of our lives. So much so that people can’t even imagine waking up to a day where they won’t have access to it. Our lives basically depend on it. From the time people wake up in the morning reading the news and being up to date with the recent events in the world to the time they fall back asleep reading an eBook or something else, they are using it for their benefits. It has proved itself to be beneficial in every aspect of human life and all sectors, be it healthcare, education to business to government. ‘The Internet is now ubiquitous throughout society, and its use as a source of continually updated professional knowledge is a key factor in professional learning and development in most professional workplaces.’

The internet has also made sure that every individual has access to the information they seek to get rather than visiting a library and then going from hundreds to books to get it. Distance learning has made it easier for students to gain skills, knowledge or certificates for which they would have to travel to a different location, maybe even a country. For e.g. MIT as well as Harvard offers over a thousand distance learning courses online for free.

But, not all countries have the same liberty. Not all countries have the liberty to use the same social media network used by billions of other people from different countries, the liberty to put out the content they think is good, the liberty to watch the same shows the rest of the world watches or read the same news. This is brought into implementation by using a technique known as censorship. Censorship is the technique used by governments of countries to basically put a ban or curb something or someone in particular, temporarily or permanently to view, access or publish content on the web. ‘Those who advocate balance, rather than some form of censorship or filtering, often do so from a very optimistic perspective using ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom to read arguments’. Freedom of speech, or more correctly freedom of expression, relates to the right of an individual to express opinions. Freedom to read is related to the right of an individual to access information and knowledge.’ The censorship extent primarily depends on the regulations and varies from country to country. Censorship in the most basic form is used to restrict defamation, harassment and obscene material or something that hurts religious, political sentiments which can be hurting a particular group of people. ‘Tracking and profiling the activities of Internet users is a widespread practice and a major invasion of privacy. Multiple advanced and sophisticated techniques exist to carry out these types of activities, such as the use of web cookies and digital fingerprinting.’

Internet Censorship is a Way to Protecting Children

There is certain stuff on the web that when visited or accessed, has detrimental effects on the growth of an adolescents’ brain. Anyone with an internet connection, can have easy access to pornography or sexual content. But also, with an internet connection, child can have access to some potentially fatal games like the Blue Whale. ‘The ‘Blue Whale challenge’ was reported to be an online ‘suicide game’ aimed at teenagers which set 50 tasks over 50 days. The challenge was alleged to be linked to numerous deaths around the world. But little about the ‘game’ was quite as it seemed.’ ‘This is not to imply that there is an automatic need for censorship or the banning of products that flood the markets related to e-Learning, computer games, use of the Internet or email communication.’

Censoring the Internet is not Enough

‘Many providers restrict the access to the material they provide based on the location of the visitors due to copyright protection requirements. Location is usually determined from the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the visitors. In order to gain access to the otherwise inaccessible material, Internet users can use servers that re-route traffic. Traffic re-routing is also one of the primary means to circumvent Internet censorship because it can simply deceive the censoring firewalls into believing that users are visiting legitimate destinations. the firewall can be deceived by the act of re-routing into believing that the user is not communicating sensitive material as the (encrypted) packets are being exchanged with an unknown entity (i.e. the re-routing server).’ There are some people who also use VPNs or Virtual Private Networks to gain access to content does not present in their region.

Censorship Needs to Be Done for the Betterment of the Society, not for Political Gains

Censorship is implemented in most countries just for the political parties to gain its benefits by not allowing people to know the criminal activities they have carried out or have been a part of. ‘China turned out the lights on Facebook in 2009, and there are no signs that Beijing plans to restore access to the U.S.-based social media platform. Some analysts trace the ban to riots that broke out in July of that year between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in the north-western province of Xinjiang’. ‘China appears to have blocked access to the popular search engine, Google.’ In an article by the webpage HowToGeek notes that ‘By blocking foreign social networking sites like Twitter and forcing their citizens to use alternatives like Sina Weibo, China is able to control social-networking sites, gaining the ability to censor posts on them. China also hires people who are paid to post content favourable to Communist Party policy on the Internet, attempting to sway public opinion.’ ‘Anonymity research has grown in importance, and the recent revelations about mass surveillance programs as well as the ever-increasing censorship of Internet access globally only signify the critical role that research in this area can play in protecting privacy of global citizens.’ UAE – ‘’A lot of people use WhatsApp and Skype call everywhere in the world. (they’re) free all over the world except in my country. The telecom companies (in UAE) are blocking it and not allowing it. Therefore, I like to request the management and directors of these companies to release and free the system and enable everybody to enjoy it,’ the billionaire had said in a video statement.’

Currently there are 4 main reasons of ‘Internet Censorship:

  • Cyber-bullying;
  • Cyber-racism;
  • Cyber-sexism / sexual harassment;
  • Cyber-homophobia.

Conclusion

Internet censorship may be benefiting the government, or the authorities who impose such regulations on the general public, but it sure does not benefit the population as they are restricted from the freedom of information which stops them from having access to certain webpages and also their freedom of expression in a way that they are not allowed or suppressed from publishing something that would not hurt the sentiments of people. As the thesis statement states, Censorship may be a boon for some (government) but it sure is a bane for many others (general public).

References

  • Madani, S 2015, Improving security and efficiency of mix-based anonymous communication systems, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), RMIT University, Research Repository.
  • Skinner, S 2007, Racist disinformation on the Web: the role of anti-racist sites in providing balance, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business Information Technology, RMIT University, Research Repository.
  • Fehring, H 2003, ‘The new generation of e-learners: Who is thinking of the children?’, in e-Learning Conference on Design and Development 2003, Melbourne, Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development, Research Repository
  • Shanahan, M, Herrington, A and Herrington, J 2009, ‘Workplace culture and accessibility of the Internet for professional learning’, in George Siemens and Catherine Fulford (ed.) Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (ED-MEDIA) 2009, Honolulu, Hawaii, 22-26 June, 2009, pp. 4423-4432, Research Repository.

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Internet Censorship: Beneficial, But Restrictive. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internet-censorship-beneficial-but-restrictive/
“Internet Censorship: Beneficial, But Restrictive.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internet-censorship-beneficial-but-restrictive/
Internet Censorship: Beneficial, But Restrictive. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internet-censorship-beneficial-but-restrictive/> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2023].
Internet Censorship: Beneficial, But Restrictive [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2023 Jan 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internet-censorship-beneficial-but-restrictive/
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