Censorship is present in today’s society around the world, where governments or bodies are suppressing the right for individuals to access books, films, news sites and websites because they are considered to be obscene, politically incorrect or a threat to security. The idea of internet freedoms is rapidly becoming understood as a normative framework for how the internet should function and be used around the world. Internet freedoms have even been declared as a human right by the United Nations and have become a central pillar for the USA’s 21st-century policy doctrines.
Governments around the work block internet access to online content for a variety of reasons including to shield children from specific content, prevent access to copyright infringing material or to protect national security. This is done by tampering with domains, filter and block specific keywords and sites, block particular IP addresses and urge online content providers to remove content from Google search results. Surveillance of these types of materials can be understood as an expression of state or country power.
There are many cases where governments around the world have censor information from their people. China, for example, has used a combination of techniques in order to remove certain content from their citizens. China’s firewall is sophisticated and was produced in order to attempt to have an economy intricately connected from the outside world, but still, keep their political culture cut off from their political culture cut off from ‘Western values” of freedom of speech and democracy. Iran is also another nation where censorship is an issue as the nation’s filtering has been rated as being ‘highly’ consistent with a ‘medium’ transparency. Iran seems to be pervasively filtering in the political, social and internet tools and categories. Censorship in Iran has been demonstrated when access to several news sites and even Facebook were blocked if they were supporting of Ahmadinejad ahead of the elections. These two examples highlight the need for nations to promote an online ecosystem through censorship that reflects the interests, principles and values that are developed and governed in these areas. When doing this the power component of censorship becomes a threat to the ideas of human rights and agendas for states which is dangerous.
There are obviously various disadvantages and advantages that come along when censorship is concerned. On one hand, censorship is used in order to protect copyright protection laws especially when content such as music, films and TV is involved. Other instances censorship would come in handy is when addressing hate crimes online, online bullying tactics or even to just limit the amount of data an individual can gain access to. Disadvantages such as limiting freedom of speech, giving the government too much power and control over its people and the annoying limitation on what you are allowed to access from where you are in the world are a few concerns censorship produces.
Overall censorship of the internet can become dangerous when governments cross that fine line and use it to control citizens. However, internet censorship might not always work in favour of those who enforce it due to it’s dynamic and the ability for citizens to use other technologies to bypass it. Software such as VPN’s are available to individuals to use to bypass censorship, however, even these software’s are slowly becoming taken down by governments such as China and even Russia.