The Internet has become an important communication tool for all of us who have access to it. We cannot imagine our lives without the internet. It is becoming highly efficient and convenient for us to use, and the popularity is only increasing as new technologies keep coming up and the existing ones keep evolving with time. As the users of the internet increase, the content on the internet is increasing even more rapidly. This is where internet censorship comes into picture. As the name suggests, internet censorship is the “control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the internet”. As the technology is evolving, the censorship techniques are also developing and becoming more stringent. Different countries have imposed different regulations to censor the content on the internet. The extent of the strictness of the censorship also varies from country to country depending on the government rules in that country. Censorship can also be done by individuals or institutions like in schools.
Just like a coin has two sides to it, the internet censorship has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with advantages first. Although there is a lot of useful information and content available online, there is a lot of misinformation and spurious data as well on the internet. As people are becoming more exposed to the content on the internet, and the content itself is increasing online, we all face a threat of miscommunication from the false or misleading content. One cannot make out what is real and authentic and what is not. To protect the citizens of the world from this inferior quality of data, internet censorship can prove to be advantageous.
There is a lot of questionable material on the internet, such as violence and pornography. Exposure to such content, especially exposure to children can be scarring. It can lead to a highly negative influence on the people who are exposed to it. As individuals we cannot block each and every site that has such content, and everyday thousands of webpages are created with such content. Here filtering the content on a larger scale and for the benefit of the public, can prove to be a boon.
There are a lot of internet scams that take place online, and here is where censorship is required. It is very difficult to identify the people behind these activities, that is why it is becoming more and more necessary to protect the people by imposing well defined and complete laws relating to internet censorship. If we have well placed laws, it can help to curb the illegal activities and misinformation on the internet to a large extent, thereby proving to be advantageous to the people. Another aspect is the privacy on the internet. Without proper rules of internet censorship, the privacy of people’s data is at risk. As our data is becoming really important in today’s times, and everything is going digital, it is important to protect our privacy from malicious individuals. Internet censorship can help to protect that. The internet is a pool full of content that contains malware once the content is accessed. We often also receive spam in our emails which may contain this malware or content leading to scams, which can be curbed if we have well placed internet content filtering rules.
While internet censorship has its advantages to protect the interests of the general public, it can also have its share of disadvantages. The whole concept of censorship indicates that the right to freedom of speech of people is being violated in some way. The internet is a place which connects people from all around the world. People use the platform to express their opinions and thoughts, and if there is censorship of that, it can violate the right of people to express their views freely. Often the countries’ governments can block the content on controversial topics of discussion such as homosexuality which can be taken as a move to oppress free thoughts in the country. An example where this takes place is China. The government has placed restrictions on various websites that contain content on Tibetan independence, Taiwan independence, religious movements etc. Certain blogging websites are also blocked, and websites with international news content is also censored by the government. Foreign websites like Facebook. Youtube etc. are also blocked by the country.
Another characteristic can be the cost that is involved to place the internet censorship mechanism in place. The more stringent the rules will be, more cost will be incurred by the regulator. The internet censorship can also hinder the characteristic of the internet to be actually convenient for the use of the public. If too many mechanisms are placed, it can actually lead to more of an inconvenience to people rather than convenience.
In conclusion, while there are many advantages of internet censorship, there are many disadvantages too. The regulators of internet censorship, thus should not be given undue control so that the violations of people’s rights do not take place. Like a stick, this topic has two ends, and we must find a way to meet halfway to benefit from the advantages of censorship while ensuring that the solutions to disadvantages can be found. One of the ways by which we can do that is by increasing the transparency between users and the regulators. This will only happen over time. The internet is fairly new, and to place systems and mechanisms in place will take time and efforts.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 PGupta0919