Internet Censorship Essay

1838 words - 7 pages

For centuries governments have tried to regular materials deemed inappropriate oroffensive. The history of western censorship was said to have begun when Socrates wasaccused "firstly, of denying the gods recognized by the State and introducing newdivinities, and secondly of corrupting the young." He was sentenced to death for thesecrimes. Many modern governments are attempting to control access to the Internet. Theyare passing regulations that restrict the freedom people once took for granted.The Internet is a world wide network that should not be regulated or censored byany on country. It is a complex and limitless network which allows boundless possibilitiesand would be effected negatively by the regulations and censorship that some countries areintent on establishing. Laws that are meant for other types of communication will notnecessarily apply in this medium. There are no physical locations where communicationstake place, making it difficult to determine where violations of the law should beprosecuted. There is anonymity on the Internet and so ages and identities are not knownthis makes it hard to determine if illegal activities are taking place in regards to peopleunder the legal age. As well, it is difficult to completely delete speech once it has beenposted, Meaning that distributing materials that are obscene are banned becomes easyThe American Library Association (ALA) has a definition that states censorship is"the change in the access status of material, made by a governing authority or itsrepresentatives. Such changes include: exclusion, restriction, remove, or age/grade levelchanges." This definition, however, has a flaw in that it only recognizes one form ofcensorship-governmental censorship.Cyberspace, a common name for the Net, has been defined by one author as being"made up of millions of people who communicate with one another through computers. Itis also "information stored on millions of computers worldwide, accessible to othersthrough telephone lines and other communication channels "that" make up what is knownas cyberspace." The same author went on to say " term itself is elusive, since it is not somuch a physical entity as a description of an intangible."The complexity of the Internet is demonstrated through its many components. Themost readily identifiable part is the World Wide Web (WWW). This consists of web pagesthat can be accessed through the use of a web browser. Web pages are created using abasic programming language. Another easily identified section of the Internet is e-mail.Once again it is a relatively user-friendly communication device. Some other lesspublicized sections of the Internet include: Internet Relay Chat (IRC), which allows realtime chatting to occur among thousands of people, Gopher, which works similarly to theWWW but for a more academic purpose, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Which allowsthe transfer of files from one computer to another. Another service that is not Internet butis carried along...

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