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Why We Shouldn't Censor The Internet

1444 words - 6 pages

The use of censorship by one side to gain power over another is apparent throughout history. The development of technology has posed several issues for both parties, both making censorship more and less difficult to enforce. This is especially prevalent in today’s society, where the internet has ensnared the current younger generations with its social networking and online entertainment industries. Even further detrimental to this modernized culture is how this freedom has prevented anyone from efficiently limiting connections to these such sites. The place where internet censorship is most commonly present is in schools, where it raises many issues and questions about the effectiveness of installing the filters. Rather than censor the internet, we should educate its users and take steps to make it more open.
The most common reason used to attack school internet censorship is that they often block educational resources. Often, these filters are shown to be not only too strict in certain areas by blocking required teaching and educational resources and databases ("School Internet Filters"). One major example of this occurring is when the Canadian National History Society’s magazine The Beaver was blocked by internet filters (Wagner). Firstly, this example of “authoritarian” internet censorship is absurd. Rather than nimbly modifying their filters to allow the site through, a magazine founded in 1920 (Wagner) was reluctantly renamed to a supposedly “less-offensive” name, as if it were possibly offensive or inappropriate in the first place. An example of a common scene in many classrooms is when a Minnesota school teacher, Doug Johnson attempted to show a Wikipedia page to his class, but was stopped by his school’s internet filter (Wagner). Johnson, an avid user of the internet, posted about internet filtering on his website, where he discusses the right of either the government or private institutions (such as schools) to restrict a person’s access to the internet. The issue of an institution’s right to prevent someone’s access to the world wide web has even been brought to the Supreme Court of the United States, which basically ruled that any institution’s internet censorship has to be consistent with that institution’s censorship of physical books, and that any institution that restricts one’s access to constitutionally protected speeches (a violation of the Library Bill of Rights) is subject to the federal law and government (Johnson). The only issue with this legislation is that it is extremely difficult to enforce. In order to protect the freedom of the people, a rule has been instated that is unenforceable without the support of the people themselves. Even if a school decides to take this verdict to heart, it is most likely to over adjust and unblock several unnecessary sites out of their fear of legal risk.
No internet filter is perfect, and cannot possibly be perfectly calibrated to permit access to any such resources while filtering out...

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