Internet Censorship Pros and Cons
The internet has spread to a worldwide phenomenon over the past two decades, creating a superhighway of information, commerce and communication unparalleled in human history. Today, people all over the globe are connected together with instantaneous communication, allowing them to see and hear ideas or items that were simply not possible before.
However, such freedom also comes with a price. For every advantage that the internet offers, there are also images, words, sounds and items that can be offensive to many people. Regulating this content without undo censorship is the goal of many nations, but how it can be achieved without impinging on the freedom that is present is certainly up for debate.
In many countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, internet censorship is rampant, cutting down considerably on what people can experience when they go online. However, other countries like the USA have virtually unlimited freedom even if it does expose children to images and video that is inappropriate and offer ideas that many people find vulgar.
So what are the advantages of internet censorship as well as the disadvantages? The understanding of both can be quite helpful in reaching some form of consensus that can open doorways to cultures currently experiencing a great deal of censorship while allowing for appropriate limitations in other areas that most will find acceptable.
The Pros of Internet Censorship
There are actually advantages to certain forms of internet censorship that even the most freedom-loving people can generally agree. Although the general idea of censorship is a repugnant one to many Western cultures, there are still certainly advantages to having some type of limitation.
Protecting children from images of pornography has been around for many decades, even in Western nations like the United States. It would be accurate to say that the internet is saturated with obscene and pornographic websites that feature all types of images presented sexually explicit material. Such material is certainly inappropriate for children as concluded by virtually all nations around the world.
While some censorship standards in terms of pornography is different in certain countries, there is enough agreement over most that has led to certain standards in this area being created.
For example, the illegal download of music, movies and other properties is another area of censorship that most countries either agree or at least do not openly condone. While the laws of each country are certainly different in many respects, the laws about property and ownership are universal in nature.
The downloading of material that belongs to another entity without getting their permission is certainly illegal in most countries and there are many different laws that cover this type of activity. These laws help protect the rights of those who own this material and help save millions of dollars in theft from occurring.
Proper censorship laws combined with website security can significantly reduce the incidents of identity theft on the internet. Here, censorship laws are primarily security laws that establish standards for websites that allows for greater security measures in protecting them from hackers. Also, communications from individuals and groups that try to pull identify information from others
This type of censorship law is designed to protect the personal identification, finances and personal information of the individual.
Spamming is a very common problem on the internet which continues to this day. Spamming is the relentless advertising or emphasis of promotion without substance that can cause a considerable amount of disruption when carried too far. Here, internet censorship laws can provide a modicum of protection from such websites and organizations that pursue such spamming policies.
Because the nature of spamming is unique to the internet, there has been some controversy over using censorship laws. However, since most spamming is vacuous in nature, the opposition to such laws has not been very strong.
Obstacles to Overcome
Interestingly enough, certain censorship laws actually create new challenges for technology to overcome. In turn, this can be a very positive benefit if some new technique, software or other type of technology is created because such laws exist in certain areas. Plus, the overall quality of the internet in terms of providing relevant information may also rise because of these laws.
The Cons of Internet Censorship
Despite the many advantages, there are also certain disadvantages as well that stem from internet censorship laws.
There is little doubt that the full freedom of self expression suffers when censorship laws are in place. Such laws not only curtail expression directly, but create a dampening atmosphere that can lead to far less creativity, imagination and drive on the internet itself. Some even consider such laws a violation of basic human rights as well.
Missing Useful Information
The unintended consequences of censoring information such as spamming or places where identity theft can occur may also be hindering websites that offer positive, helpful information that can be of great benefit. Because censorship laws operate much like a net rather than a surgical knife, it means that sites which provide something useful and relevant may be swept into the same area of other sites that deserve censorship.
Too Much Government Control
Censorship laws come from governments who have a great deal of power when it comes to what people see and hear on the internet. Such power all located in one place can easily be abused. This means that removing certain censorship laws that are unfair will be very difficult to accomplish.
Too Little Enforcement
Because most governments are faced with a wealth of other issues, enforcing many good censorship laws, particularly those of identify theft and property protection often become lax with too many people left vulnerable. This uneven form of enforcement can be very difficult to overcome.
The benefits and potential issues about internet censorship will continue to be a hot topic for years to come. This is especially true with government involvement which can be quite erratic and uncoordinated in creating new censorship laws which may do far more harm than good.