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Nowadays, the internet has been gaining its popularity at an amazing rate. The internet has become an important communicative tool, which brings significant convenience and efficiency for people. However, the internet also has severe weakness. Although the internet is comprehensive and the internet is not easy to limit, many countries are working on the censorship of the Internet. The issue of internet censorship is a complex and controversial one. As a matter of fact, the censorship of the internet is a double-edged sword. The censorship can work in some instances, but in others it can be detrimental to society. This essay will first explain the advantages of internet censorship. Then the essay will explain the harm of internet censorship to the society.
The internet censorship can be a protection measure. As the internet is open and comprehensive, the quality and authenticity of internet information is questionable. There are a lot of undue materials online, such as pornography and violence, which undoubtedly exerts a negative influence on people especially children physically and psychologically. Although there are several laws which regulate the illegal information and illegal activities, the laws are not complete enough to regulate all the illegal or immoral activities. It is very hard to charge a person for internet crimes, especially if the person is from a foreign website. Thus, the illegal activities and undue information are still rampant on the internet. Thus, internet censorship is needed for internet regulation. The censorship of internet can cleanse the internet information and protect people to some extent.
The censorship of internet can filter the inappropriate information online and protect children from disturbing websites, such as, child pornography, sexual violence and detailed instructions in crime or drug use. The undue internet information may weaken children's moral consciousness and pollute children's soul. Thus, the undue websites can have a severely bad effect on the healthy growth of children or even cause adolescent crime. However, children are easy to contact undue internet information. Since parents can not monitor the web pages that children browse in any time and at any place, the censorship of internet can help the parents to filter undue websites for children and protect them from the misguidance and negative influence of internet. An opinion survey carried out by a professor in Charles Sturt University found that parents were worried about the pornographic content on the internet. In order to protect children from the negative influence of extreme, violent and pornographic information, 93% parents support the mandatory internet filtering.
The censorship of internet can help women. In order to get more click rate and benefits, many "adult" websites advocate violent sexual abuse of women. Many women suffer from the hell made by the internet because the internet makes them sold into slavery through the international sex trade (Mallisk, D., 2009). The censorship of internet can block access to these websites, regulate or even shut down some of these websites, and thus reduce the sexual exploitation of women in the internet. Thus, the censorship of internet can protect women to some degree.
The censorship of internet can guard people from the disturbing email spam. For many net citizens, junk email is a troublesome problem. Some junk emails may have malware, and the malware will be activated when net citizens open the email. Some junk emails may be phishing schemes that attempt to steal net citizens' identity and threatens the economic safety and privacy. Some junk emails may be fraudulent schemes or offensive material. Besides, there are a lot of annoying unsolicited advertisements (Mallisk, D., 2009). Spam filters can block junk emails for net citizens and make their internet life more safe and simple.
The censorship of internet can protect the life privacy of people. The inappropriate information has threatened the life privacy of Australian people. As the incident that Google Street View cars collected personal data by WiFi systems illegally was complained, the Australian Federal Police has involved in investigation. Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy accused Google of doing it deliberately and said the move was the single greatest breach in the history of privacy (Shears, R., 2010). Besides, there are some net citizens or websites that make a mala fide use of internet to diffuse others' privacy, like others' private video, private pictures and so on. The censorship of internet can prevent these duly. Thus, sometimes, in order to protect the privacy of people, the censorship of internet is necessary.
The censorship of internet can protect people's economic interest. Some internet information can threaten people's economic interest. Internet banking frauds happens frequently. The censorship of internet can filter a great deal of fraudulent information in the internet and enhance the supervision and control of internet banking. Due to internet censorship, a great number of financial frauds, phishing, identity thefts, credits card thefts and many other illegal activities are prevented (Manohar, U., n.d). Therefore, the economic loss of internet users are reduced or avoided.
The censorship of internet can decrease internet violence and protect people's personal security. In Australia or even the whole world, internet bullying and violence has become a serous issue. There are many suicide cases caused by internet bullying. The internet users are anonymous and the information spread fast on the internet. Some users take advantages of internet to carry on internet violence. The users may slander, abuse others and expose others' privacy, which will bring about great harm to the victims. Many stars are the victim of internet violence, which can even cause the outcome of suicide. Some websites make use of internet illegally, which will give rise to baneful influence and threaten people's life security. Internet murders happen. Through social networking sites, internet users deceive and murder other users. There are some suicide websites that abet suicide, communicate suicide knowledge and provide suicide methods. The occurrence of all these incidents and similar incidents make the internet censorship necessary. Internet censorship can prevent unjustified defamation, limit internet violence and protect people's life security.
The censorship of internet can help to protect social stability and national safety. Since the internet censorship can help to curb the large number of illegal activities and internet crimes, it is good to the stability of society. Some illegal organizations or people may release black information which will disturb the national economy and polity. The terrorists and extremists may release false information to distort facts, confuse the public people's mind and create fear and panic thorough internet. These kinds of information will sabotage the national safety and must be deleted or filtered to avoid the misunderstanding of the public.
The protection is not only about the physical preservation of the people, and foremost, it is a force and guidance in the morals and values of the nation as a whole (Coleman, B., 2010). There are many inappropriate and immoral content and information on the internet which will have a severe negative influence on the moral and value shape of the public. The censorship of internet can help filter the undue information which may corrupt the moral standard and soul of the public. Thus the censorship of internet can protect to maintain the mainstream morals and values of the nation and help the public to form healthy and reasonable internet using consciousness. The censorship of internet attaches importance to the whole rather than individual. That is why China that believes in communism can implement stringent internet censorship.
The disadvantages of internet censorship
The most important point against the censorship of internet is that it is against the freedom of speech and it violates human rights. The internet is an important communicative tool, which provides a platform of people from all around the world to make free speech. It should be a place where people can express their views and position regardless of society's acceptance. However, the censorship of internet censor, filter and even delete some people's free speech. This measure hinders the free spread of information. People's rights of free speech, rights of communication and right to know are violated. This breaches the spirit of democracy. This measure is detrimental to websites which express particular thoughts and view. It is an obstacle to the development of internet.
People may be worried about that the government will abuse the right of censorship and violates the democracy of the society. The censorship is controlled by the government. The government may abuse the right of censorship to exclude the speeches and information opposed to the authority. The government may manipulate the rights of censorship to hide information which is disadvantageous to its policies. The government that has rights of internet censorship may silence anyone who doubt about the government. The political party in party may manipulate the rights of censorship to limit the power of political opponents. The public's right to know is deprived of and the public are controlled by the government. Consequently, without the supervision of public, the democracy of the nation is damage greatly, which will give rise to serious negative influence to the whole nation. Some undue websites, such as pornographic websites, no one wants that to be available. However, the real issues limited by the censorship of internet go far beyond the regime. In China, although many pornographic websites and forum are banned and blocked, the government, in fact, focus on the censorship of political website. The censor to the sensitive words such as "Taiwan", "religion", "Tibet" and "human rights" are very strict. Besides, some disputed information, such as euthanasia and homosexuals will be block. The public can not get enough information to these disputed issues. Thus, prejudices and intolerance emerges, which will bring unfairness to the society.
The censorship can also have negative effect on the judicature of the society. In China, some people are accused of agitating people to topple government and arrested because they publish and spread articles and information to oppose and criticize government. However, the conviction criterion of this accusation is very vague. The judicial interpretation is not adequate. The government has to much space to determine this issue. Thus, many scholars and lawyers submit a joint letter to limit or abolish this accusation. Besides, many scholars and lawyers ask for the judicial interpretation of this accusation. The internet censorship may challenge the authority of judicature and cause the damage to the authority of laws.
The censorship of internet will bring about great economic cost. First, the expanse on the work of filter can be very expensive (Nicholson, J. D., 2008). "Further, a broad scale filter proposed by the Government may also drive up related costs, such as data center staff needed to deal with an increase in customer complaints when they can not access sites"(Riley, D., 2009). Second, the Internet filter could ruin National Broadband Network (NBN) speeds. A test paper released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority showed that "a proper implement of a censorship regime would likely, at best cause a 20% drop in internet speeds" or even more higher speed drop (Riley, D., 2009). As the internet speeds are slowed down, that means longer time will be spent on doing business and the productivity will fall (Riley, D., 2009). It will make a big difference to business when a filtering slowdown, like downloading files. If clicking on something, it will waste lots of time to wait it open. Therefore, the Internet filter affects the efficiency of business and may bring about loss or waste of money. In addition, if there is Internet traffic, lots of filtering units and some mechanism are needed for changing the busy to small parts. These will cost lots of money. The whole efficiency of business is slowed down and this will cause great economic cost.
The censorship of internet limits the development of on-line service trade. The internet is a global market. As the development of internet, electronic commerce based on the internet replaces the management frame of standard commerce in a great measure. Moreover, the electronic commerce has mostly covered other forms of transnational trade. As the development of internet market, it makes great contributions to the whole economy. The trade supervision problems of internet market are emphasized, which include trade restriction, undermining trade environment and electronic commerce investment, information service and internet transmission. One of these measures is to prevent the access to the website. The censorship of internet implemented by different nations is always against the rules of WTO. These nations always force some preponderant websites to conform to the censorship of these nations. As a result, the internet trade is influenced seriously. To the on-line trade, the internet censorship is a kind of non-tariff barrier.
The censorship of internet will have a negative effect on the work, study and communication of net citizens. The filtering of key words influences the research of scholars, teachers and students. The Internet filter is software which controls access to online content. These methods are more commonly referred to as a "black list" or "white list". The filter prevents inappropriate content with white list, black list or keyword system. As its name implies, a black list blocks all websites or material restricted by an authority. The reverse, a white list, bars access to all Internet content except items approved by the filter. Keyword system checks keywords entered, limiting some sensitive words, such as "sex". By this way, many useful information and normal key words may be filtered. Because of the internet censorship, people can not express themselves freely and get much information as they want. The creativity of people is discouraged, which is bad for the political, technological can cultural innovation of the whole society.
In conclusion, the censorship of internet is a double-edged sword. The censorship can work in some instances, but in others it can be detrimental to society. The censorship of internet can reduce the illegal activities on the internet. It provides physical protection for net citizens. The censorship of internet can protect children from undue information. It can also help women. It can also protect the economic interest, life security, social stability and national safety. Besides, it protects people to sustain the moral safety of people and help people to form healthy internet using consciousness. However, the censorship of internet also has its detriment. It violates people's rights of free speech and may sabotage democracy. It can bring about great economic costs and prevent the development of international on-line trade. Meanwhile, it limits people to get enough information to fulfill research and study, and thus the creativity of people may be discouraged. There is no absolute freedom in the world, thus the internet can be an absolute free place. Although the internet censorship has its disadvantages, the negative effects of internet censorship can not be overdrawn. However, the transparency of internet censorship must be enhanced. The internet censorship without supervision is dangerous.