We see various forms of internet censorship in the world we live in. In workplaces around the world, certain sites like Facebook are banned so that employees can focus on the task at hand rather than like cute pictures of puppies.
Governments have also participated in internet censorship. China, for example, has several regulations in place with regards to what their residents can access on the net. It is said that these measures were put into place to neutralize critical online opinion after a series of anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests and ethnic riots which were organized through online communication.
But while blocking what we can view online may have some benefits, there are also disadvantages to such an action.
List of Pros of Internet Censorship
1. It encourages domestic competition
Carrie Gracie, a Scottish journalist employed by the BBC as the editor for BBC News in China, wrote that local businesses such as Baidu, Tencet and Alibaba have actually benefited from China blocking their international rivals. Of course, all three are internet enterprises selling a wide array of items.
2. It prevents young ones from being exposed to offensive content
Children these days are adept at using the internet. The kids born in these day and age will grow up with it and may interact with it even as young as three years of age – online children’s games, parents showing them cute animal videos, etc. In other words, young ones are very exposed to the online world at a very young age.
Given that there’s a lot of grim things being posted online, parents surely want to protect their offspring from seeing the worst side of the world. Online, you’ll find content with pornographic, racist and other hateful tones and those are things you want to shield your children from.
List of Cons of Internet Censorship
1. It is a violation of rights
Internet censorship means you’re banned from accessing certain sites and therefore certain information. What happens when you can’t access the news or social networks to get in touch with friends and family?
Then again, the freedom of the internet has given way to lots of unsavory things seen online. Sites such as reddit and 4chan are now a haven of hate and anything gross. While the former has taken some action, others argue that more should be done.
2. It reduces innovation and progress
The internet is filled with ideas for innovation as well as opinions and technologies. What would happen if a government or any other would restrict access to sites that offer all these? What results would people get if they used a search engine yet all the results are absolute garbage?
Yes, the internet may be a terrible place but it does offer people a wealth of information about the world around them. When censorship is applied, the chances of innovation and technical progress is hindered.
3. It can lead to a violation of privacy
Google tracks what you search on the net to get to know you and deliver results catered to your interests. Even that has been cause for debate among internet users, but Google does have an option for you to turn it off. Then again, some still have doubts.
With censorship, some may lose their right to privacy when whatever they do online is being tracked by those who control their internet access.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. She is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.