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Internet Censorship : Laws effecting the Internet - Research Paper Example

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INTERNET CENSORSHIP: LAWS AFFECTING THE INTERNET Name: Institution: Abstract This paper seeks to look into the various aspects of internet censorship and the laws affecting the internet. The issues surrounding internet censorship and internet or cyber laws are somewhat recent…
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Download file to see previous pages Therefore, this paper will give highlights on the existing internet laws and how these laws have been over the past years. The research will also touch on areas that may need improvement, whether there is room for improvement of the current situation and recommendations on what new strategies can be implemented. Internet censorship may be termed as the suppression of access or publishing of certain information on the internet. This censorship may be carried out by the government of the time or by private organizations working hand in hand with the government or on its behalf. Individual members of the public may also carry out self-censorship for reasons such as religion, business, legal concerns, or even morality (Bidgoli, 2003). There have been varied opinions regarding this topic with debates arguing for and against censorship (Bidgoli, 2003). The extent to which internet censorship is applied differs from one country or state to another. In some countries, there is little restriction while in others, the issue is handled with a lot of seriousness and governments have gone as far as limiting discussions amongst citizens and suppressing access of certain information. Censorship may also occur when issues revolving politics are extremely sensitive, for instance, during elections. This is normally done in order to avoid things like defamation and harassment. Internet laws, also known as cyber laws, are the regulations that encapsulate all legal issues that are related to the use of internet or internet services. These laws majorly cover areas such as internet usage and access, right to privacy, jurisdiction and the freedom of expression. When looking at internet laws, there is the issue of intellectual property, which includes the rules on fair use and copyright, protection of digital media and circumvention of the same. However, this area of law is quite controversial, and there has been no standard rule to determine some aspects (Raysman and Brown, 2008). There are laid out regulations on the various uses to which computer networks and computers may be put. Such rules regulate the unauthorized access, spamming and data privacy. The use of encryption and specific equipment to defeat protection schemes is also limited and controlled by law (Myers, 2006). In addition to that, there are laws that govern internet trade, consumer protection advertising and taxation. A question that has become the subject of debate is that of jurisdiction. This is an element of state sovereignty. Jurisdiction is the administrative, judicial and legislative competence of a state. However, the fact that it is an aspect of sovereignty, it is not necessary that jurisdiction and sovereignty go hand in hand. The effects of the laws of a country may extend beyond its own jurisdiction. This raises a problem because the internet does not recognize these limitations of territory. Since there is no universal jurisdictional law, these matters fall in the ambit of conflict of laws, that is, private international law. A conflict of law may arise where a website contains material that is illegal, whereas the same content would not be regarded as illegal in another country. Another major issue of concern is whether to assume that the internet is a physical space or a world of its own. Treated as a world unto itself, the internet would be free from any legal limitation while as a physical space; it is subject to the jurisdictional ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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