Government Intervention On The Internet Essay

1683 words - 7 pages

During the last decade, our society has become based on the sole ability tomove large amounts of information across great distances quickly. Computerizationhas influenced everyone's life in numerous ways. The natural evolution of computertechnology and this need for ultra-fast communications has caused a global networkof interconnected computers to develop. This global network allows a person to sendE-mail across the world in mere fractions of a second, and allows a common personto access wealths of information worldwide. This newfound global network,originally called Arconet, was developed and funded solely by and for the U.S.government. It was to be used in the event of a nuclear attack in ...view middle of the document...

Internet censorship, what does it mean? Is it possible to censor amounts ofinformation that are all alone unimaginable? The Internet was originally designed to'find a way around' in case of broken communications lines, and it seems thatexplicit material keeps finding its 'way around' too. I am opposed to such content onthe Internet and therefore am a firm believer in Internet censorship. However, thequestion at hand is just how much censorship the government impose. Because theInternet has become the largest source of information in the world, legislativesafeguards are indeed imminent. Explicit material is not readily available over themail or telephone and distribution of obscene material is illegal. Therefore, there isno reason this stuff should go unimpeded across the Internet. Sure, there are someblocking devices, but they are no substitute for well-reasoned law. To counter this,the United States has set regulations to determine what is categorized as obscenityand what is not. By laws set previously by the government, obscene material shouldnot be accessible through the Internet. The problem society is now facing is thatcyberspace is like a neighborhood without a police department. 'Outlaws' are nowable to use powerful cryptography to send and receive uncrackable communicationsacross the Internet. Devices set up to filter certain communications cannot filter thatwhich cannot be read, which leads to my other topic of interest: data encryption.By nature, the Internet is an insecure method of transferring data. A single E-mail packet may pass through hundreds of computers between its source anddestination. At each computer, there is a chance that the data will be archived andsomeone may intercept the data, private or not. Credit card numbers are a frequenttarget of hackers. Encryption is a means of encoding data so that only someone withthe proper 'key' can decode it. So far, recent attempts by the government to controldata encryption have failed. They are concerned that encryption will block theirmonitoring capabilities, but there is nothing wrong with asserting our privacy.Privacy is an inalienable right given to us by our constitution.For example, your E-mail may be legitimate enough that encryption isunnecessary. If you we do indeed have nothing to hide, then why don't we send ourpaper mail on postcards? Are we trying to hide something? In comparison, is itwrong to encrypt E-mail?Before the advent of the Internet, the U.S. government controlled most newencryption techniques. But with the development of the WWW and faster homecomputers, they no longer have the control they once had. New algorithms have beendiscovered that are reportedly uncrackable even by the FBI and NSA. Thegovernment is concerned that they will be unable to maintain the ability to conductelectronic surveillance into the digital age. To stop the spread of data encryptionsoftware, they have imposed very strict laws on its exportation. One programmer,Phil Zimmerman, wrote an...

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