Censorship of the Internet Research Questions Order Instructions: Your job is to complete one of the following research questions:
1) Digital divide crosses all borders, culturally and
geographically, discuss how the digital divide affects
society in 2014.
2) Now that you have a deeper understanding of society’s
relationship with IT from ISYS100 what do you think is the
biggest issue we need to address when it comes to
information technology? Discuss solutions to this issue
with supported evidence.
3) The information revolution of the last decade has
meant that there are so many more powered devices in our homes and lives. At what cost is this increase to our environment? Furthermore, are there any companies or organizations trying to offset this somehow?
4) Social networking now is about so much more than keeping up to date with your friendships. Crowdsourcing is
one such example. Discuss some of the biggest
collaborative projects that exist because of social media.
Censorship of the Internet Research Questions in Google
5) Google is a company that has created a roadmap for what IT companies should be like; explain how Google can be considered to be one of the world’s best companies and at the same time one of the world’s most secretive
6) Throughout the world there has been an increase in discussions regarding “Censorship of the Internet”,
explain how Censorship can work in some instances but in others, it can be a detriment to society.
7) We live in a world where the internet plays a pinnacle role in our day to day lives. Discuss how the internet has caused an ethical debate on our information privacy.
Word Length: Approximately 2400 words
– 1 ½ spacing. (Paragraphs)
– 12 pt font
– SSingle-Sided Paper
– Referencing Style: Harvard or APA is satisfactory.
– Please remember that you will need to have at least Four (4)
varying references. For example: Journals, WebPages,
Newspaper articles and Text books
– You will need to include: Reference List and an Appendix.
Censorship of the Internet Research Questions Sample Answer
Censorship of the Internet
The Internet has over the past few years been used to suppress rising mass action calls against dictatorial nations and leaders leading to censorships all over the world. White (1997) describes censors as those who defend the predominant philosophy by which those who benefit are those who have gained status, power, wealth, and control within society; and want to legalize their prominence and the diverse societal, political and economic arrangements they govern. Article 19 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration states that everyone has the right to opinion and expression, these rights include freedom to seek opinions without interference, and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers (Universal Declaration, 1948). This is ideally what the censorship of the internet contradicts. Reinhard (2007) terms it as the government or authorities’ suppression of any public expression that it believes is a threat to its power or the societal expected code of conduct especially online through the use of the internet. Censorship is not only used to control politically divergent views, but also in the control of materials deemed obscene to people of a certain age. The motives of censorship vary and this paper will look at some of them as well as how it can work in some instances while being a detriment to the society in some.
According to Walid al-Saqaf (2012), there are various forms of internet censorship including surveillance and sever takedowns. This method is majorly used by governments to suppress groups that seem to use the internet to gain numbers in order to fight them. The governments watch then and what they post online and as a way to control them by shutting down the servers, and cutting down such movements. Another tool used again majorly to subdue any aggression deemed dangerous by authorities is by use of slowing down of the internet speed and causing disconnections for bulk traffic. This serves to cut off or reduce the rapid movement and growth of such groups. There are, in addition to the above, the non-technical methods of surveillance, and they include the use of legal prosecution and detention. This is mainly used in the areas where ethical issues arise like cases of child pornography and some aspects of human rights violation. There are some laws that govern internet use and restrictions, when violated, the individuals in question can be arrested and prosecuted with the violations of the stated laws.
Recent research shows a growing trend in censorship majorly because of civil unrests with the Middle East and Asian countries on the lead. The Middle East and North Africa were seen to censor the social and political aspects of their population while others like Australia were keen on social content like child pornography (Al-saqaf, 2007). Others, on the other hand, have overhauled the internet and replaced the same with an intranet to control the use by the opposition and suppress any form of aggression.
Censorship of the Internet Research Questions and Benefits of Internet Censorship
Even though most of the times censorship is seen as a vice, it actually is beneficial in some circumstances. Harris (2011) argues that censorship is to some extent beneficial as it serves to watch and control some societal, ethical norms. Censorship of the internet especially where underage children are involved is by far beneficial as it does not only regulate access to materials that may harm them but some that or may hinder their proper growth and health as well as behavior. Some materials include contents with nudity, those that are vulgar and contents with various forms of violence.
Secondly, internet censorship can be said to be advantageous because, it controls the speed at which the right information gets to the intended users. The internet is empowered with speed as an advantage and if not controlled, unconfirmed information may easily flow to people; this may cause panic and unrests depending on the nature of information. The control of the release of confirmed reports is necessary especially in wars or reports of accidents. The internet is full of materials and reports of issues that are unconfirmed that at times does not go well with a different culture, religious beliefs and are ideologically different. The internet has literally everything including information that one may need about military installations of different countries, censorship of this kind of materials and information is not only important for the safety of the nation within itself but also against its external enemies. This not only leverages the nation’s stability, as well as protects it. There are also advantages like personal privacy protection; this is where censorship restricts the transfer of private data or information of individuals without their knowledge and permission. An example of such is when Google in Australia through street view cars collected private information through Wi-Fi (Shears, 2010).
Censorship also serves to control cyber bullying and scams. These are cases where internet users use the tool to threaten and intimidate other users racially, sexually and even use it to engage in illegal trade activities. Without such, the use of the internet would not be as intended as many unscrupulous persons will engage in illegal trade and earn a living from unfair gains. It is important for authorities to control what is posted on the internet and help ascertain how genuine they are in order to protect their citizens from online scams.
Most of the television shows are of violent nature and vulgar or contains nudity, without proper control the society will be corrupted by what they see on the screens. It can be argued that the internet has led to the increase in crime across the globe. The internet does not just teach one of how to handle a gun but where you can get one legally and illegally (Harris, 2011). Without censorship of such materials, it will soon be normal occurrences to hear of shootouts and daylight robberies with a greater threat being the minors who make up the larger population of users of the internet.
Internet censorship also serves to control and manage copyright laws infringement. Since almost all material is easily found on the internet, it would only be proper that their fair use be regulated as some of the producers earn a living from them (Mallisk, 2009). Online sites if not regulated will only print or permit access without this as a consideration. This not only hinders the growth and rise of new authors, but also squeezes the life out of the few remaining.
Gaille (2013) also suggests that the access and downloading of contents that belong to other entities without their permission or paying for the use is illegal and should not be allowed in any country. Internet censorship is equally important and can work as it helps control phishing schemes, these are schemes that are seemingly legitimate but work to steal one’s personal information for their personal use leading to identity theft.
Harmful Effects of Internet Censorship and Censorship of the Internet Research Questions
Whereas all these seem to be genuine and strong reasons to accept and implement internet censorship, it has equally far-reaching harmful effects to the society. Poland (2014) is of the opinion that, the internet has indeed become a vital component of our lives and has made the world a much smaller place. This is because through the internet, communication is now possible throughout the world and in minutes, a person can share thoughts and opinions and transmit them to the other side of the world. Limiting the use of the internet will hence, bring an interruption to this. It is not only a universal human right to share and express ones opinions.
Harris (2011) further states that internet censorship limits access to academic resources; this is because of the use of filters to block some key words normally used in search of adult contents. Although the intention is well aligned and ethical, some key words filtered will obstruct the access off relevant materials with no relation to the works that were meant to be blocked by the filters. A good example she states, is the book Moby dick, the book cannot be accessed in most schools with online filters because of the words in the title. Such resources are beneficial to students and filtering makes it impossible to access them
The internet has given the world a central meeting place (Poland, 2014). It has provided diverse cultures, religions, institutions and even people of different languages a place of common ground In that, they can all meet and share their diverse or similar views as well as, there intellectual and ideological issues, they also have through the internet been able to share their experiences in their different countries. Internet censorship comes in the way of all this progress and unity in diversity that the internet has brought about. This has even the major undoing of many nations because of the rampant sharing of ideologies, authoritarian regimes have been ruling in fear of appraisals as information from other states and how the populations in this countries managed to control or makes their grievances addressed. Limiting the usage of the internet would virtually close cut the relationships that people have worked to build and strive to maintain. This will widen the social gaps between nations and additionally hinders nations or the population from learning about others.
The financial implication of setting up a properly functional censorship and regulatory mechanism is relatively high (Harris, 2011). It is costly to put up any internet censorship remedy and the cost increases with the size of the institution, for example, the cost of putting up a firewall in a country would be far much higher that he one needed to set up the same for a school. There are the additional charges of monitoring and frequent updating and follow-ups needed. These costs are expensive and should be avoided. Developing nations have much more serious needs from their citizens than censorship and the funds used in such programs can be used to reduce and minimize if not control these urgent needs.
Poland A. (2014) points out that another detrimental effect of internet censorship is its effect on the marketing and sells of goods and services. Since censorship bars access of some information on the internet, some businesses are either partially or totally eclipsed either locally or globally, such actions prevent the growth and success of the business, which the governments depend on for tax and foreign exchange. Internet censorship does kill the competitive edge that the business would have otherwise had if it was not censored. This also limits the buyers from accessing the best available goods as they are only limited to some specific ones. This can also be abused by those in governments to only show that which they want bought and bar those that maybe of quality but will not profit them.
There is additionally the cases of media repression, journalists in certain countries are arrested tortured and jailed (Mallisk, 2009). China is said to be the world’s leader in jailing journalists according to the human rights body Amnesty International with about 30 journalists and 50 internet users said to be jailed as of 2008 (Mallisk, 2009). These actions bring fear and intimidate the internet users, frequent jailing and torture makes it hard for new writers and internet users to post issues of concern on the internet as the hawk eyes of the government are all over their virtual space. This act additionally kills creativity as even the poets cannot simply express themselves without the fear of being arrested and jailed.
Mallisk (2009) additionally states that in countries with cases of human rights violation and stringent censorship practices, it is overwhelmingly difficult to ascertain the extent of these violations. There are chances that many human rights abuses are concealed in such countries from the public through the repression of the media and internet usage. Mallisk (2009) further states that in China for example records of executions and their statistics are secrets of the states, various important events go unreported and even events in history are no taught in their schools. Additionally, those whose rights have been previously violated are threatened into silence. This is how much governments are willing and ready to go in order to control the internet and the freedom of expression. In 2007, close to 2600 blogs, websites and discussion forums were shut down (Global internet freedom consortium, 1997).
Factors that hinder Censorship Efforts for Censorship of the Internet Research Questions
In the cases of controlling nudity and sexual content, it is evidently difficult to teach or train about HIV/AIDS and the sexually transmitted diseases without the use of at times graphic images intended to show the impact of these diseases and there effects. Withdrawing such content from the internet does not serve to help in their control and in educating the younger generation of their effects. Though graphics, these films or pictures do remain embedded in the human brain for much longer than written a material which is advantageous in education.
There is also the issue of curiosity, whenever something is hidden or kept away for any reason; it is human nature to find out why it was hidden. Internet censorship only serves to support this idea. More traffic is usually driven to sites, which governments are trying to shut down or with content that the state is trying to take down. If only the censoring organization would let them be, then no much attention would be given to them as they are. It is in our nature to try to find out why things are the way they are. This is because at times internet censorship has been used to obscure legitimate critics. Criticism that builds should be allowed and attended to as it works towards making it safe for others or for the growth of a nation or an institution.
Technological obsolesce is additionally a factor of concern, this is because, technology is always changing and various ways to go round the installed firewalls and filters are being discovered, its increasingly becoming difficult to manage and control activities on the internet. Governments and institutional authorities thus need to equally speed up and catch up in innovation to keep them up to date. This is an expensive process as frequent replacements are needed and yet hackers simply build software at their own time and with least expenses. It is not worth fighting a war that will never end.
There is also the risk of prosecution, when a private or corporate website or blog is pulled down, the owner can and may sue the government for this. This may lead to unexpected expenses for the involved government as they may be required to pay for the losses incurred when the website or blog was shut down. This especially to the middle income countries is not worth it as they need to spend their little resources on other economically viable businesses.
Al-Saqaf (2012) explains that because of the internet’s importance to people, various ways have been discovered to circumvent the placed filtering and other censorship mechanisms, this is because more than 40 countries are filtering the internet and more than half a billion internet users are being filtered (32% of the world population). The global internet freedom consortium (2007) did a study and came up with a number of tools that have developed and are in current use to go around and access censored materials. Some of them include ultrasurf, which is the most utilized tool globally to beat internet censorship. Others include dynaweb and tor. These are just but a few of the tools daily invented to curb governments censorship methods.
In conclusion, the internet is a tool that the world cannot live without. Our lives revolve around the internet, as well as our jobs, schooling and socio-political lives. Even though there are serious cases when and how the internet should be regulated, for example, in a bid to control access to adult materials to underage students, as well as a security function, internet censorship is far more detrimental because of its limiting factors. Pornography and violence are rampant within the current setup; this cannot, however, be blamed on the internet and its usage. Control measures can be put in place to help with such. Films with adult theme could put in place factors such as the requirement to have an access code or password meaning that one has to be a registered member to fully access such materials over the internet.
Additionally, governments and institutions should not act in contravention to universally set legislations like the freedom of expression. However much citizens push and go to extremes against the government, they should allow for opinions to be stated as some of them are helpful and will serve to improve service delivery. Nations like North Korea that have virtually and literally locked out the world and the use of the internet suffers from gross human rights violation and is an example of how much the internet is important to the world. The population should equally be responsible in reporting and posting of things over the internet, In nations that have set regulations governing the use of the internet , it would only be wise to use the internet as per the set laws failure to which one should be arrested and face the penalties of the infringement. Whereas these laws should not be hindrances to any angle of personal, social cultural or political growth, the users should be wise and not post anything that holds a different view as compared to that of the government.
Censorship of the Internet Research Questions List of References
Al-Saqaf, W. 2014, ‘Freedom of speech the battle continues 2012.’ Available from http://www.diplomacy.edu/calendar/webinar-online-freedom-speech-battle-continues(8 September 2012).
Gaille, B., 2013, ‘Pros and cons of internet censorship.’ Brandon Gaille in business. Available at http://brandongaille.com/the-pros-and-cons-internet-censorship/(december 10 2013).
Global internet freedom consortium, 1997. available from http://www.internetfreedom.org/
Harris, F., 2011, ‘Benefits of censorship.’ World Issues, 360. Available from http://www.worldissues360.com/index.php/benefits-of-censorship-4652/(december 6 2011)
Mallisk, D. 2009, ‘The internet: becoming an important communicative too media tool.’
Poland, A. 2014, ‘Disadvantage of internet censorship.’ The Houston chronicle, 2014.
Reinhard, C. 2007, ‘The ethics of censorship: should the government cover our children’s eyes?’ Ethica publishing, Colorado.
White, H. 1997, ‘The anatomy of censorship: why the censors have it wrong.’ University press of America, Illinois.