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Internet Censorship

In: English and Literature

Submitted By NBRskis
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Internet Censorship: Is it American
People can access many different sites on the internet. Some are nice and cheery, and some are rude and crude. If anyone wants to see the stats on their favorite football team, no problem, go to their team’s site. Want to look up how to care for your sick dog, no problem, go to the veterinary site. Want to know how to overthrow the government, no problem, go to the anarchist site. Ever wondered what it looks like when a terrorist saws off someone’s head with a pocket knife? Is this a problem? “Censorship is the moral or legislative process by which society ‘agrees’ to limit what an individual can do, say, think, or see.” (Depken, Craig) There may be subjects on the internet that may offend or may be downright immoral to most people, and this is possibly a reason for the government to jump in and censor what people can see on the internet. This is because not everything on the internet is good or whether the majority of people think that the all the material is moral. This means that there should be some guideline for people on the internet. Politics are hot topics for many countries but it seems their need to censor the political sites may be due to their insecurity. Pornography has been a popular target for censors with some justification but there should be no blanket rule for it. Racism is another topic that has been blocked in many countries and this is something that should be studied closely to ensure that when blocking sites they are not being blocked for just race but rather violence and race. Terrorists are using the internet to kill innocent people and should be stopped regardless of free speech worries.
Many governments censor the internet to their people for political reasons. The governments are maybe scared of what their people may think if allowed to express their opinions or read about other opinions on the internet. There is some history behind this logic due to the fact that some country’s governments have been over thrown by people gathering information on the internet and coming together for a common cause. The government of these countries was obviously not a government of the people but a government of a few like-minded people that came in power. This practice of censoring the internet does nothing for the health of the country if the people are oppressed and will keep the country from growing as it may without all the restrictions.
One civilian in China went after the government rules via the internet and barely avoided jail time. Chen Yuhua was outraged over the government’s rule on no dogs allowed that are over thirty six centimeters high. The rationale used by the government is the overcrowding of China so they need to restrict sizes of dogs to help ensure the country is more comfortable for the vast majority. Since he was outraged, he posted his anger on a website stating he didn’t think the law was fair. He then went to sue the internet provider for blocking his posts saying he was just expressing his anger for the law and by complaining on the internet he was not breaking the law. After many weeks of deliberation, the courts that had referred to higher level courts for advice decided to reject the suit and gave no explanation. Chen is going to file an appeal however he is not optimistic. (Cody, Edward)
The government of China has been actively blocking internet sites despite what some government officials state. At a United Nations summit in Athens in 2006 a Chinese government official stated that no internet censorship existed at all (McCullagh, Declan). The great discrepancy with his statement is that there are very few internet censorships documented as thoroughly and publicly as the censorship that is in China. It even has a name know by people all over the world, The Great Firewall of China. What point the government official was trying to make is unclear however it was untruthful that did not go unnoticed. It was such a blatant lie since everyone knows that they even blocked www.google.com and made their own version www.google.cn.
Historically the Chinese people have not noticed or minded the censorship due to the fact that most people in China use the internet to look at sports, games, entertainment, and messaging. However some people within China are not very happy with the Great Firewall of China and this is noted by actions of these Chinese civilians in the country. They will do their best to get around the censorship and sometimes at great risk to them because the penalties for such activity could be very severe to include jail time. These people have gotten frustrated by the government blocking innocuous sites such as Flickr, You Tube, Wikipedia, MySpace, Blogspot, and others most see at mere entertainment. The people of China are starting to fight back by posting to websites on how to get around the censorship and others are actually filing lawsuits against service providers. (French, Howard)
China has been preparing for the Olympics and everyone is expecting their use of censorship on the internet to be scrutinized by the world. China is attempting to make the censorship less noticeable by installing new software that will make blocked sites not look like they are being blocked, just that there is something wrong with the connection (Tuinstra, Fons). This could be very harmful to China’s hope for greater acceptance from the global community if sites that seem trivial are blocked when the entire world is focused on China. They block all types of searches including searches for alcohol, homosexuality, and jokes. These are things that will probably be noticed when all the visitors arrive in China to attend or participate in the Olympics. This will inevitably hurt China’s reputation even more than it already is. They can have somewhat of an argument especially with the crisis in Taiwan and Tibet where they are feuding. Access to certain internet sites to those two could encourage the crisis to continue or worse make the fighting worse than it already is.
Pornography on the internet has been a very sensitive subject especially when it comes to the internet. There have been many cases where politicians and law makers have thought the best thing for the health and welfare of the country and it’s people is to censor certain types of pornography. Pornography should not be censored to law abiding adults as long as the website is not accessible to minors or shows illegal things. Right now this is done by age verification front-ends however are very ineffective. There should probably be some tighter control on these sites however they should not be blocked all together. As with anything there is always an exception to the rule and this is no exception. Pornography that exploits minors is not acceptable in any form. Minors have no way of consenting to the actions that they may forced to perform or coerced into performing. Then the images are put in websites that are for perverts that are breaking the law. All of these people that break these laws should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This kind of behavior though is what some people will note when trying to convince others that all pornography should be censored, however, if pornography is enjoyed by consenting adults there is nothing wrong with it.
Hate sites are becoming alarmingly popular all over the world and some of this has been fueled by what happened on 9/11 and yet some others are fueled from hatred that goes back many decades. The white supremacist websites are out there and touted by many of the defenders of these websites as race love sites or just them being proud of their race and has nothing to do with racism. Other sites such as the blogs on Topix.com site promote hatred towards non-blacks. It may be ok for someone to have an opinion and this is something that our country was founded on which is free speech however when some of these sites are readily available to anyone that knows how to use Google, there may be a problem arising here. For example, if someone is new to an area and hears an advertisement for a website or is told about a website and goes to the site and it turns out to be a hate site, it would give that person the opinion that most people in this area believe in or condone the views and thoughts on the website. This may or not be something that your town wants to portray to the public.
Terrorists are using the internet at an alarming rate to conduct business. Gone are the days of hiding in a cave and not having a great education. Terrorists are very tech savvy now and they use their knowledge of the internet to help recruit, send messages, and brag about violence against civilians. This behavior is unacceptable and should be censored from the internet. These sites used by terrorists have been instrumental in recruiting more terrorists that only bring more violence to the world’s civilian population. The difficult part is getting the countries where these groups operate to censor the websites. If asked as little as two years ago about these countries censoring this type of activity anyone would have said that’s a crazy idea or notion. Now that the terrorists are targeting people in their own countries they will help decisions as the one to censor their websites an easy one if not a necessary one. One surprising fact about these countries such as Pakistan whom will stop information coming in from TV and radio and totally forget about or do not care about the information on the internet. This was evident when President Musharraf declared a “State of Emergency”, he blocked all news on the TV and radio. He did not have the internet blocked which gave the Pakistani people all the information they needed to make informed decisions on how they felt about the “State of Emergency.” ( Mufti, Shahan) If someone was to say that these sites do not hurt anything, they are just groups that are showing their beliefs and not meant to incite violence. Anyone saying that would be very naive if not very ignorant of the world’s current state. All one needs to do is look at the subway bombings in London, which was carried out by native British occupants, or the Spanish train bombing that killed several people. These terrorists activities were carried out with help from websites that encouraged terrorists people to take a stand and fight the Western influence and control all over the world.
The terror network uses websites to also post past terrorist activities. This includes films made of bombings of innocent civilians in a market, suicide bombers killing coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, attempts to shoot down coalition aircraft by surface to air missiles, along with video tape of someone being beheaded and their crime was being an American. If anyone has the notion that the internet should not be censored for people like this need to look at the video of Nick Berg. It is the most disgusting thing anyone will ever see. And if someone is screaming free speech, I’m sure this is not what our forefathers had in mind when putting free speech in our constitution. Some other people may say that we can learn from these types of websites. The question has to be asked. What could a civilian possibly learn about a terrorist organization by looking at beheadings and other types of murder? Besides seeing what horrible things a human being can do, there seems to be no good reason to watch this type of activity on the internet.
Out of all the types of internet sites out there that are likely to be blocked by any censorship, are the anonymizers as they are called by many in the internet censorship business. Anonymizers allow people to search the internet anonymously and remain untraceable. This is because it is wide knowledge that people are traceable on the internet and just because a person is on the internet does not mean they cannot be found or no one knows who they are. Many people have been traced back to their house by certain means which most people have seen criminals on television get arrested for doing illegal activities on the internet. (Colin, Thomas)

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