Why Censorship is Bad: 5 Worst Countries for Internet Censorship
The issue of internet censorship and censorship in society are treated differently. Some criticize tight restrictions, while others believe that there is no future without restrictions. However, we should not forget that censorship leads to regression in society.
Today we’ll talk about censorship and why it is bad, with examples of countries with strict internet censorship. Also, we’ll tell you how to avoid censorship and defend your rights to freedom of speech and self-expression on the internet.
The first part of the theme is here.
What is internet censorship?
Internet censorship refers to a phenomenon in which someone (usually government authorities or large corporations) restricts or prohibits viewing certain information on the internet.
If a certain website or service on the internet is not liked by the government, this site or service falls into the prohibited list, and residents of the country will no longer be able to get to it.
Internet censorship is an attempt to make a free and independent space on the Web more compliant and manageable and similar to the offline world in terms of following the laws.
Internet control and online anonymity are topics that are constantly discussed by technical specialists, security experts, and government officials. The scale of internet coverage and the network’s impact on the global community make most experts believe that further development of this powerful structure is impossible without any regulation and control.
In the opinions of some, monitoring the activities of users is a purposeful restriction of their freedoms and constitutional rights.
Today, the majority of the world’s governments impose some amount of internet censorship. Of course, some do it to a lesser degree and some a greater degree. However, some countries stand out for introducing strict online censorship in their states.
Know more about the pros and cons of social media censorship.
In addition to the extremists and separatists who are blocked on the internet worldwide, the United States is “famous” for the oppression of all those involved in creating the WikiLeaks website.
That is, in a country where there is “no censorship,” the censors represented by the U.S. government persecuted and threatened with reprisals those who posted evidence on the internet that censorship and abuses in interfering with the privacy of citizens still exist.
All search engines registered in the United States demote sites with pirated content in the search results. Often they do so based on the first complaint of the copyright holders.
For example, the world’s largest file-sharing site Megaupload owners were arrested in 2012 for copyright infringement. The prosecution demanded that the site owners be sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for each case of copyright infringement. However, the copyright holders did not achieve their goal, as the lawyers for the “pirates” turned out to be cooler than the prosecution lawyers.
Today, according to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), internet service providers and hosting companies have the opportunity to avoid court if they manage to “deal” with sites that violate copyright on their own.
And it works: today, it is possible to get a block from the host because someone decided that your files are suspicious and violate copyright.
The Chinese government has clearly proved to the world that the impossible is possible: it is quite possible to filter the internet in a country with hundreds of millions of users of the World Wide Web.
For the Chinese to have as little contact with foreigners as possible on the uncontrolled internet, the government carefully closed access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the WordPress blog platform. These services did not want to agree or allocate resources to filter “inconvenient information” independently. And no one has canceled the substitution of Western services by local ones. But Microsoft and Yahoo have “caved in” and are blocking content at the government’s request.
The beauty of Chinese internet regulation is that no one ever explains to a network user that the resource is blocked for violating the laws of the People’s Republic of China. It’s simple: I didn’t like it – so access was blocked.
There is a beginning for censorship, but there seems to be no end. So for some time, Chinese officials were thinking of installing the “Green Dam” software on all computers to more reliably block access to all prohibited information on end computers or to search for it on the hard disk. But this initiative was so troublesome that its implementation was postponed.
The Iranian constitution explicitly states that the media should not engage in “destructive and anti-Islamic practices.” And there is also a law according to which it is forbidden to touch on topics that harm the foundations of the Islamic Republic, and any incitement against the dignity and security of this republic is prohibited.
In the circumstance where the difference between pointing out the corruption of an official and encroaching on the dignity of the state is not clear, you can block the internet to your heart’s content.
Judging by the latest news, Iran will soon get rid of half-measures and replace the internet with a fast, reliable, and perfectly controlled network inside the country. It will be physically impossible to open a foreign website from it.
Until recently, the government of the Island of Freedom prohibited individuals from even owning a computer, and the internet for individuals in the country appeared only in 2011, when a cable was stretched from Venezuela. Before that, access to the network was sold at the price of gold and not to everyone – only state institutions, foreign companies, and a small number of “verified persons” had access to the internet.
There is only one internet provider on the island: the state. There is access to the network only in internet cafes. The data on prices are outdated, but in 2013 an hour of internet access was equal to 25% of the salary of an ordinary Cuban.
Google and Bing search engines are blocked, and Google has blocked almost all other services except search. Any websites and mass media on the territory of the island are obliged to “carry out activities in accordance with the goals of the socialist society.” A special internet department periodically replenishes the “black list” of undesirable sites, and some bloggers have already received prison sentences for criticizing the authorities.
The national internet Kwangmyong serves more than 100,000 users (out of 25.6 million people).
Almost all network users are educational institutions and scientific and technical organizations. Therefore, access to Kwangmyong is free and unlimited for everyone. However, only using dial-up technology – that is, via a telephone line and a modem.
North Korea even produces its own Samjiyon tablets – they download e-books and textbooks from Kwangmyong. And on computers, the Red Star Linux distribution is repainted “for macOS.”
Foreigners, however, can get access to the 3G network after pre-registration. And the government has no problems with access to the network – they access the internet via satellite communications and maintain propaganda accounts on Twitter and other social networks.
Elected politicians even have access to broadband internet. However, it is rumored that it works under the “Chinese firewall,” with all the sites blocked by their Communist neighbors.
What should we all do?
Of course, these five countries are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more such countries. And each of them comes up with new ways to limit the internet.
Here you can read about internet censorship in Turkmenistan and Zimbabwe.
Ordinary people cannot defeat the regimes and make the internet free. However, there are IT specialists who have developed alternative sources of information and methods of communicating and spending time on the internet. One of these tools is Utopia P2P. This is an anonymous and closed internet platform that does not collect personal data during registration, works without censorship, and is free.
Utopia is a decentralized ecosystem built on blockchain technology. All data is encrypted thanks to multi-level encryption and is not stored on a shared server.
Each user is anonymous. You decide with whom to communicate, what to communicate about, and what to do in the ecosystem. You can choose from reliable and practical tools for messaging, data transfer, surfing, financial transactions, and much more. Users can even create private channels where they can discuss world news without censorship.
The ecosystem is easy to download and install. It takes only 30 minutes to get used to the interface and the possibilities of the ecosystem.
Experts believe that the ecosystem is one of the effective ways to be safe in the global internet space. Such a platform can save humanity from internet censorship and surveillance.
Compare other tools for avoiding restrictions with Utopia P2P here.