Thursday, March 24, 2005

Should the Internet be censored?

In recent years, as use of the Internet increases, more and more questionable content is available. Should some material on the Internet be banned? How would a country go about regulating the Internet? Can you think of situations where it is a good thing that a country cannot regulate the Internet?

"Silenced: Censorship and Control of the Internet"is a new paper covering findings from a 12-month study of Internet censorship around the world. The study, published jointly by Privacy International and GreenNet Educational Trust, found that in the wake of September 11, 2001, over 50 countries stepped up efforts to control the Internet within their boundaries, among other conclusions.

See also: Free Culture Reviews

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Trying to censor the internet would be incredibly difficult. Building a webpage is comprable to making a poster, writing a book, or creating anything material. It's like trying to control what your kid builds with his building blocks - a suppression of expression. (ugh! that sounds so lame!) Of course you can always knock down the building after it has been constructed and put caution tape all over the place and Do Not Enter signs and Tresspassers Will Be Prosecuted notices but that won't always prevent people from going there. Infiltration is a prime example of this.
I think that Parental Controls on the internet are a good thing, although I have no clue as to how effective they are, but I imagine they are comprable to putting plugs in the empty electrical sockets and catches on the kitchen cupboards.
I don't really agree with the justification of censorship, but I also find that trying to censor the internet is currently not a feasible concept.

~nineveh_rains

Chipati said...

I did a little research into how a country might go about censoring the Internet. Check http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10749 for more information. It is interesting that it is believed that the Chinese built their Internet system with the idea that information would have to be censored.

Also, according to this web page, China has the biggest prison for cyber-dissidents.

" At the start of May 2004, 61 people were nonetheless in detention for posting messages or articles on the Internet that were considered subversive. Since May 2003, 17 of them have been tried and sentenced to terms of up to 14 years in prison. "

Anonymous said...

Pornography is becoming more available through the internet, and as it is more widely and rapidly distributed, it becomes less of a taboo. There has been a trend towards more extreme types of pornography which include humiliation and physical violence. (This may also be a reaction to the feminist movement) Since children are still being socialized and don't have a broader context to fit this behavior into, it could potentially send the message that behaviour that they see in these types of films is an acceptable way for men and women to interact. So yes, censorship (especially of the internet) is important for developing children. As for adults, I think that capable and self-sufficient people would consider censorship oppressive. I would have to agree.

fahrenheit451moderator said...

I agree that the rise of extreme types of pornography is disturbing especially when it comes to protecting children. There are many studies that show that exposure to violence will desensitize people over time. So, I agree that some form of censorship of the Internet is important for developing healthy minds. However, is this something that our society should take on or is this something we should trust parents or other caregivers with?

Anonymous said...

Leaving censorship of the internet up to guardians I think is a fair idea. While the public will have to be responsible on some levels (ie. libraries and schools where children have internet access), I think parents should be a deciding factor in what their children are exposed to, so long as the parents are responsible and not subjecting their child to crude and obscene images. I guess that leaves us with the question of who defines that, and the answer would be social services. So, yes, the public is responsible for censorshipt to an extent.

~nineveh_rains