Should the Internet Be Censored?
When the internet was conceived in the last century (boy, that sure makes it seem a lot older than it is, doesn't it?) it began as a free and open exchange of information. The original intent was to connect universities and military installations together to freely exchange data. The invention of the web continued that intention. This is supported by the lack of security in TCP/IP and in the early web specifications.
I know it seems strange now, but there was a time, not too long ago, when there was no pornography on the internet. In fact, all of the hate, pornographic and similar sites are actually rather new (less than half a dozen years in most cases). There was no need or tolerance for this kind of material when the internet was young and of limited distribution. It was not until companies such as AOL, Compuserve, MSN and others succeeded in getting the common man (and woman) on the web that illicit materials began to become available.
Once this kind of material appeared on the internet, it exploded so quickly that it absolutely boggles the mind. It seemed like one day there were normal educational sites and a few personal home pages, and the next there was pornography everywhere. And I mean everywhere ... I remember not too long ago it was absolutely impossible to perform a search in any search engine without running into hundreds of sex sites. It didn't seem to matter what the search was about, the same kind of sites were returned.
The search engines seemed to have largely solved this problem by making their robots and indexing schemes more intelligent. I've noticed that it appears to be safe to search again without having to sort through bizillions of links that have nothing to do with what I was searching for. I tip my hats to the engineers and analysts who made this possible - good job.
This does bring to mind, however, the ethics of allowing this kind of material to be available at all. There are many organizations (religious and otherwise) which will preach to you endlessly about the dangers of allowing anyone to view pornographic and hate related materials. Many of them will tell you it should be illegal or at last severely restricted.
One interesting fact to consider is the growth of the internet exploded as a direct result of the availability of this kind of material. Statistically, even today the vast majority of sites are of an adult nature, and by far most of the money made on the web is due to pornography. I sometimes wonder how quickly the internet would gave grown without this kind of material?
Think about it for a moment. Pornographic theaters died because video became available (who wants to watch this kind of stuff in public anyway?). Now, with the advent of the internet, you don't even need to be embarrassed at the video store - you can just call it up over your phone line! No one will know!
The major problem is this material is available to anyone - even children. There are lame...