Policy Paper INTERNET CENSORSHIP: THE GREAT FIREWALL The controversy on internet censorship rages on as opposing parties differ on whether Australia should or should not have censorship on the internet, because of its legal, practical, and ethical implications…
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The Rudd government of Australia wants to introduce the ‘Clean Feed’ project to control internet content. ‘Clean Feed’ aims to censor material on the internet for all Australians, ultimately blocking some forms of content for all individuals, mainly pornography, and possibly other controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia (Courier Mail; Daily Telegraph). This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of internet censorship. It argues that the government no longer needs to spend millions on internet censorship, because it cannot achieve the outcomes it aims for, because there are already many ways of accessing controversial and illegal content. Instead, the government should focus on generating a self-censorship policy, which focuses on educating the public, especially schools and parents, in using free internet censorship software and in educating the people about the harms of accessing illicit content on the web. Internet censorship is not entirely flawed, because the principle behind it is that the internet should be a safe virtual space for everyone, especially children. Children should be protected from pornographic content, and being victims of pornography too (Flood). Flood shows that “children and adolescents may be shocked or disturbed by premature or inadvertent encounters with sexually explicit material per se” (388). Since the internet has become increasingly accessible and prominent among the youth, the government also has a responsibility to prevent children’s access to pornography online. The Christian Lobby's Jim Wallace tells the Four Corners that he finds it "quite amazing" that anyone would be against the filter plans (Ross). He asserts his own censorship ideals: "The bigger principle here is to establish the principle that the internet is not a free zone and I think that given the movement of technology and given the expectation of society that what the Government is proposing is therefore a good solution” (Ross). He adds: "We've lobbied the Government of course and we've lobbied quite hard. We got the first commitment to this prior to the last election and you know we're happy to see that the Government is delivering on it.” (Ross). Furthermore, many of these sexual websites have viruses and other computer programs that can harm computers. The Rudd government believes that internet censorship can make the internet a more family-friendly environment and a safer place for children to explore. It then aims to filter questionable content, such as pornography, abortion, profanity, sexual content, suicide and any other material that may seem obscene and unfit for children (Courier Mail; Daily Telegraph). It does so in the role of a caring parent, who seeks to guide the moral development of the nation’s children. Internet censorship is not all-encompassing, so it does not entirely obstruct the freedom of speech. Internet censorship is limited in reach and impact in Australia. The Clean Feed is designed to have two filters, one being a mandatory stipulation for all Internet Service Providers, and this will target illegal web pages, terrorism, and child pornography. The second filter will censor out all material which is rated R material. This filter will be an optional filter for people in the household. This means that internet censorship remains as a form of self-censorship, with options for opting out for some internet
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According to the paper the internet is currently one of the most pervasive and widely used technologies in the world. It is at the very heart of information technology and it is now considered a crucial link to various businesses, social networks, and academic institutions. The extent of its pervasiveness and coverage is however a major issue in its applications considering that it is a major threat to privacy, and, based on the claims of some government agencies, a threat to national security as well.
The matter of censorship of internet is debated a lot as it is depicted as the part of media as television. In this way, censorship is thus required to avoid the exceptional use of internet as in television. However, different countries have to follow different rules and regulations about the utilization of the internet.
From the research conducted by Lenhart, Purcell, Smith & Zickuhr on “Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults”, it was evident that majority of users are teen-agers (93%) as of December 2009, as shown in the chart below: Source: Lenhart, Purcell, Smith & Zickurh With all kinds of information made accessible to the teen-agers, the predominant users of the Internet, it has been espoused by various local and international organizations that there is a need to censor and restrict some information and visual contents that could endanger the minds of this target population.
Accordingly, the growth of the world wide network has made it possible for individuals to access volumes of information, news and entertainment across the world. The internet is considered a free media by many, but recent trend of internet censorship has attracted a lot of controversy.
Contextually, the concerned authorities in these countries forbid the materials present in the internet that have the potential to unfavorably hinder the welfare of the nation by any mean. Internet Censorship in the GCC Region Censorship is regarded as the control of speech or other communication in public, which is deemed to impose objectionable or harmful impacts on the targeted audiences or the society altogether.
Prior to the expansive use of the Internet, the Chinese government has always been interested in censoring the information that the population accesses. This was seen through the censorship of the print, radio and television content. The reason for this move is largely political owing to the fact that the Communist Power of China is insecure about its political position and it would therefore like to create a scenario in which the electorate is not aware of their democratic rights so as to maintain their grip on power.
There are, however, certain people and groups which find the internet threatening in particular ways. Corrupt governments, for example, are known to censor speech on the internet (Rodan, 1998: 64); in addition, there are other categories of speech, such as hate speech, defamation, and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, which have led to calls for limits on internet speech in even the freest of societies (Lawson, 2000: 275).
The impact of free speech has enabled us to wide our vision towards the open opportunities and threats that exist in virtual reality. Regardless of race, cast, colour or creed, Internet has provided the new millennium with such an environment where there is an open expression of views and ideas, irrespective of the disclosure of personal information.
The author points out that the internet censorship in China has greatly hindered the role of internet as an information service. The internet censorship policies in China not only violate the rights of expression and privacy but also slow down the process of raising awareness about human rights by blocking sites pertaining to human rights.
in Saudi Arabia has increased up to 6.2 million or 22% of its total population as of March 2008 as compared to 4.7 million or 19.5% of the total population back in 2007 (Internet World Stats, 2009).
Because of the continuously increasing number of internet users in Saudi
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