Government internet censorship

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 07.06.2009 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (2 Comments)

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internet_censorshipSeems almost like science fiction when we hear about this in 2009 but it is not. Clearly, many governments of the world do not feel like their citizens shoukd have access to all information. Many reasons are given the main ones being to protect citizens, to avoid misinformation and to filter between correct and incorrect information. The bottom line though is that generally such actions are taken by repressive governments to make sure their citizens to not get an outside opinion, especially when that opinion might be negative.

China is certainly the prime example of this censorship as the central government has things fairly in control despite dealing with the world’s largest population. The main way to do this is for the government to have an army looking at websites day after day looking for “illegal content” which could be anything related to Tibet for example. When that happens, they simply block access for their citizens to the server. The tough part is dealing with proxy servers. Those make it possible for users to “indirectly” access websites so really the only way for the government is to block access to those as well. But with hundreds popping out every day, it is quite a task to say the least! Because of this, the government is constantly looking into ways to improve its technologies.

The other big story lately has been Iran, which has undergone much political tension following elections from a couple of weeks ago. With massive protests going on, Tehran was doing its best to not show either its citizens or the world it was losing control. Being new at this, it proved quite a challenge as users found numerous ways to post pictures, videos and texts from the streets of the capital. Having cell phones all over the country of course adds to the challenge tenfold.

This of course raises numerous questions as companies such as Google try to maintain their core while avoiding being blacklisted and then blocked by these governments. There are no easy ways to go about this though as any censorship performed by companies such as Google are doomed (with reason in my opinion) to be heavily critiqued by the entire world and can even lead to reputation issues for such companies! Do you have any thoughts as to how these companies should go about these issues?

I personally believe that it will become more and more difficult for companies to maintain such censorship. It will be easier to make reading outside news difficult but the thought of making it difficult for citizens to express themselves is almost impossible as almost any cell phone or internet connection can be used to spread news and multimedia by even “non geeks”.  Of course, that will probably not stop these governments in the short term but I would still think that regional or national censorship is doomed in the end!

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2 Comments

  1. Comment by OneDay — July 6, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

    How to regulate internet? Are we seeking for freedom of speech or not? What is considered harmful? So many questions remained subjective!

    Have you heard of freenet? It’s a project that does not allow censorship. Would it be possible to government to achieve total censorship of information? I don’t think so…. There’s always a way!

    Cool post. What’s really happening in Iran right now… I don’t understand :S

  2. Comment by IS — July 8, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

    @OneDay, thanks for your comment, yes indeed, it is quite a challenge for governments. Actually, one initiative from the Chinese government is to require all pc’s to have a program that would help censor.. but that generated a lot of controversy and the government just announced it was backing down..!

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