Internet Censorship By Caleb Hudgens

Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet enacted by regulators, or on their own initiative.

"I would say that freedom without interdependence is impossible. The internet has linked us all in a human chain that spans the globe, and the freedoms that we seek in the virtual square and public square are absolutely one and the same." -- Secretary John Kerry

Ways We Censor

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI), an organization dedicated to informing the public about Web filtering and surveillance policies around the world, classifies Web filtering into four categories:

  • Political: Content that includes views contrary to the respective country's policies. The political category also includes content related to human rights, religious movements and other social causes
  • Social: Web pages that focus on sexuality, gambling, drugs and other subjects that a nation might deem offensive
  • Internet tools: Web sites that offer tools like e-mail, instant messaging, language translation applications and ways to circumvent censorship
  • Conflict/Security: Pages that relate to wars, skirmishes, dissent and other conflicts

Some countries go well beyond restricting access. The Myanmar government allegedly keeps Internet caf├ęs under surveillance with computers that automatically take screenshots every few minutes. China has an advanced filtering system known internationally as the Great Firewall of China. It can search new Web pages and restrict access in real time. It can also search blogs for subversive content and block Internet users from visiting them. Cuba has banned private Internet access completely -- to get on the Internet, you have to go to a public access point.

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