Good Internet Censorship
Since electronic devices such as computer, smart phone and tablet have generalised and the number of internet users is getting bigger, internet contains tremendous amount of information from trivial one to even significant information that could occur a social problem. Every information is exposed through the internet and people could touch those information easily. As these reasons, government wants to control and monitor the internet access in many nations, including North Korea, Iraq, China, Myanmar, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Maldives, and Tunisia so on.
This, government control or suppression of what can be gain access to, distributed, or watched on the internet, is called internet censorship. The definition of internet censorship is a way used by government or religious institutions to supervise or regulate the public access to offensive or harmful materials (Turban, 2012) This topic is very sensitive subject to decide whether it should exist or not. There is a sharp division of belief between people who approve and disapprove.
This report is going to illustrate how the censorship works by some method, why the internet censorship is necessary, and the disadvantages of internet censorship, finally it talks about examples and current situation of internet censorship in the world. Necessity of internet censorship The people who are claiming to use internet censorship argue that there are various reasons why the suppression should be accepted. Those are political reason, ethical reason and commercial reason.
The political reason contain regime criticism, critical ideas, opposition party, and impact of information on society. For these reason, many countries are managing and controlling internet traffic and access of their public especially among socialist nations. The most typical example is the Chinese great firewall. China that is the one of socialist nations has single-party political organism, and the party has excessive intervention in internet growth.
Their internet censorship and regulations have developed into a multidimensional and inclusive system that controls internet social usage, legal domains and commercial as well as infrastructure (Liang & Lu, 2010). And the major method for these purpose is the great firewall of China. The prohibited information, activities or material which are linked through internet are positioned in nine comprehensive categories by the Chinese great firewall.
Theses contain materials that first is opposing to the basic principles that are placed down in the Constitution, or management rules; second is rebellious to the government or socialism system; third disrupts country authority and subverts the unity of the state; forth instigates ethnic antagonism or cultural discrimination; fifth spread feudalism superstitions which are pornography, obscenity, murder, terrorism or gambling; sixth disturbs social order and spreads rumors; seventh insults or denigrates others in public; eighth has substances forbidden by administrative guideline or law; ninth damages the interest or reputation of the country (Cheung, 2006). As a result of these government regulation, some foremost internet websites are prohibited to be accessed by public. Facebook, YouTube and google are the example of the websites. Another reason for internet censorship is ethical factors that society considers illegal and immoral. Criminal activities through internet space, and pornography are concerned as serious social problem. Because of infinite and comprehensive nature of internet, there are various unmoral and criminal actions such as online fraud, assault of personal privacy, online gambling, distributing computer virus, and pornography (Chen, 2004).
For these reasons the ethical internet censorship is be present on the secular field. In recently, child pornography has been essential issue in the world. According to Mike Keelty, more than 100,000 child pornographic websites are operating internationally, and those websites are generating about 3 billion dollars annually (Keelty, 2004). In order to protect children from these problems, internet censorship should keep operating. Other example case of ethical internet censorship is Muslim countries. Many Muslim countries block foreign websites that contain adult and secular contents. Those could be occur religious problem; in these countries the faith is the top priority.
So, their government are very worried about social problem occurred by those harm internet sources. That is why the Muslim countries are trying to use internet censorship for preserve their culture and society from threat of internet. Third reason for internet censorship is commercial problem. Mexico circumstance is the most representative example of this case. This country blocked internet-based communication programs such as Skype that offers a low-priced telephone conversation services of voice-over IP which is VoIP. There are similar kind of service provider programs using VoIP that are some businesses in United Kingdom and France, and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.
Recently, China made this kind of regulations, only permitting licenses to two kind of local operators in order to provide VoIP services. The reason why these countries prohibit the VoIP services is that, as the world is getting globalised, the number of telecommunications is incredibly increased. But the countries have lost huge amount of telephone consumers to the VoIP providing corporations. It causes enormous economic loss to national interest. These reasons encourage the governments to apply internet censorship for economic reason. Disadvantage of internet censorship However, the internet censorship also has various negative influences which are human right abuse, control of government, and a market access restriction.
Many people who disapprove the internet censorship system contend that this organism should be stopped. The main problem of internet censorship is restriction of access to information. People argue that the internet censorship is system which is against the perspective of democracy concept. As the democracy point of view, this is a violation of human right. Every single person has a freedom of expression and the right to know. However, the internet censorship could be an obstacle of those people’s fundamental rights, and also decision-making power of human might be compromised by government regulations. There are huge debates about internet and democracy.
As already mentioned about China, the Chinese government has a heavy trust that the freedom of information flow, and construction of public internet society could be a possible threats of authoritarian government (Yang, 2003). However, internet usage in China has unsuccessful up to now, and even some people believe that the internet censorship has become a device of governmental control (Tsui, 2003). Another reason why the censorship should be prohibited is a market access restriction. In economic perspectives, the internet is the most efficient method. Through the internet businesses can obtain enormous amount of information about current and future customers. However, the censorship could impact on international businesses and market negatively.
First, a great number of potential customers could not access to the businesses. Second, the business could lose a chance to use the most apposite website to advertise or provide their service. Therefore, censorship can be considered as a restriction. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) which was established in 1994 is constructed on principles which is derived from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT or GATS). It suggests that overseas services and goods are regarded as identical products to domestic equivalents at least. Furthermore, the WTO applies this principle as more extended range. That is, the goods and services contain not only products and services, also intellectual property and investments.
Nowadays, the WTO membership is almost worldwide; most countries accept and follow WTO principles (Hindley, 2009). Therefore, restricting businesses, under the name of the censorship, is a contravention of the principles of WTO and GATT. Future direction of the internet censorship. There is no doubt that unethical and harm substances on internet such as child pornography, should be prohibited by law or regulations, and the governments have to monitor the internet in order to block information flow of those illegal materials. However, over censoring is dangerous, it could be a threat for human basic right and democracy of the world. Therefore, we should use the internet censorship correctly.
Numerous people, corporations and nations have been recognising the importance of internet in various perspectives such as a sociologic aspect, cultural aspect, economical aspect, and political aspect so on. In order to develop the internet environment, they are needed to apply the internet censorship appropriately. Even though the internet censorship involves some critical problems in democratic and economic aspects, people dare not say that it should not keep being used. It cannot be considered as a cancer of modern society or unnecessary scheme. If people use the internet censorship developmentally, internet environment could be improved for many social and economic sides; people can catch both interests of corporate and public.
As an example of good internet censorship, e-commerce internet website Amazon is a censors in Thailand for a few internet website address which is to available title of book on the website, making it still available to access another web pages. Selective filtering is a positive concept for proper application of censorship. It operates on the basis of input keywords from user. Sometimes, there is no result which the internet users are looking for when the users search a particular ward on different web site search engines in some countries, as needed by regulations or agreements of government, it is called a “Public Pledge on Self Discipline”.
In the future and current internet society, internet censorship is needed, and government must use this ability properly by looking after the basic right of their public. If the government abuse the censor power for their interest or to keep their authority, it is better that there is no censorship. The censorship must regulate only the minimum illegal and unethical material, not invade liberty and privacy of internet users. Conclusion The internet censorship is one of the most controversy key issue in modern society. Internet world stat illustrates that there are enormous increase of internet users; between from 2000 to 2012 there is 566. 4% growth of internet users (Stats, 2012).
And there are much more potential users; therefore, this censorship debate is the most important topic for both present and future. As the amount of internet user increase, the amount of materials and informations also increase rapidly, and there are also a lot of bad materials as well. For this reason, people ask that ‘is it reasonable to regulate and monitor individual internet access? ’ or ‘is the internet censorship necessary? ’. This is very sensitive topic; some people believe internet censorship is the positive method for internet environment and social problem, while others argue that the censorship is the suppression of liberty. The internet censorship contains both advantages and disadvantages.
There are three reasons why the internet censorship is necessary, which are the political reason, ethical reason, and economic reason. The disadvantages are human right abuse, control of government, and a market access restriction. So, this essay suggests a solution for this debate. There is no doubt that the harm materials are very dangerous for humans, furthermore the potential threats of them are too huge to predict. So, the internet censorship has to be existed. However, it should not over censor or be abused by government for their interest. It must regulate only the minimum illegal and unethical material, not invade liberty and privacy of internet users.