Censoring the Internet? Now?

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China have been slated internationally for their harsh censorship of the Internet; blocking sites for hours at a time, and some completely, when it suits their political or “ethical” agendas. Google has been at the epicenter of these disputes, with the US company defending against China’s over zealous censorship. But this time the US are responsible. The Senate proposes a law which forces Internet service providers to block certain websites. “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)”

Due to the vague nature of the law, pertaining copyrighted material, and insinuating that the list can be added to at authorities’ discretion, even sites such as Youtube could be targeted. This stinks of bad karma, seeing as Youtube recently won a court case against Viacom. This means that Youtube can operate, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), providing they remove any copyrighted material they are informed of, and regulate accordingly. Fair is fair.

Copyright isn’t the real issue here though, I am not arguing the ethics of crediting owners, or intellectual property theft. My point is that blocking whole sites, just because a few people misuse them, is complete censorship, Internet Tyranny, as oppose to appropriate regulation.

Are we all going to be subject to Green Dam censorship software? Is Big Brother watching our every move? Is censorship going too far, and will it spread like an epidemic?

All these questions are things we will eventually need to consider, literally or not. I remain cynical about the motives of complete censorship, and doubt that ethics are the main factor, rather political reasons. I agree more with justifiable regulation that does not breach our personal freedoms. Read more and help out using the link below.

Sign the online petition please, it only takes a few seconds: http://demandprogress.org/blacklist/coica

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5 responses

  1. I think there are some parts of the internet that deserve complete censorship (anything to protect the safety of minors) and that makes it hard to hate this outright. This problem like most things will be in the implementation. I think major sites have little to worry about it’s the smaller websites that might have problems. It’s very hard to do something against the public’s will (see occupied France in WW II) so that is why I think we won’t see any drastic censorship.

    I do however think that book censorship is starting to get out of hand in schools. It is banned book week and I think that it is dumb to ban any book that gets kids to read. Here are the top 10 most challenged books of 2009.

    http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/21stcenturychallenged/2009/index.cfm

    • Nathan – I agree. However, this new law revolves around copyright, protecting profits, ownership, and limiting citizen journalism and involvement. If it’s role was to protect against child pornography etc, I would be all for it, but that hasn’t even been mentioned, seeing as I doubt anyone could get their child porn copyrighted, if they tried they’d be detained immediately haha.

      At the moment, yes, we don’t have to worry about drastic censorship, but I mean the future. It’s surprising what the state and other regulators can censor and ban. You have an excellent point with the book thing, I mean, I was shocked about them wanting to ban Harry Potter due to it’s “obvious” hints at witch craft, devil worship, paganism yada yada yada. And How to Kill a mockingbird from your list. It’s ridiculous. But that’s why it’s surprising how far things can be taken, given enough time, and sublte implementation one law at a time.

  2. You always find the most uplifting things for me to read in the morning…

    Censorship is a prickly subject at best; what should be censored? Who should it be censored for? Who by? Who decides what’s not suitable for whom? I’ve been on the receiving end of censorship, and been in charge of censoring and it’s a bitch both ways.

    But it always seems to get so much worse when the state gets involved. Before you know it sites, books, practically anything (or anyone) is being censored because they’ve been deemed unsuitable – read as: not supportive of the current regime/election/scheme.

    But as Nathan says above me, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any major censorship. Especially in this day and age, with tech savvy nerds hacking their way through to wherever they want to go on a daily basis.

    • Rooney – Haha, I’m just an uplifting person. By the way it’s a coincidence to read from you today, I had some bizarre dream last night that I was a detective out of a movie that was a blatant rip off of Blade Runner, and had to stay with you and Aimee a while to hide from something. That’s all I remember.

      I completely agree with you. It is all about whether they support the current agenda, not merely if they’re ethically approved. I’m glad we have those savvy nerds (like you haha), with the capacity to hack and bypass regulation, but I just think we shouldn’t always have to. I love those small companies and websites that believe in citizen journalism, free software, freedom of information, etc. I think it’s the private companies that should adapt around us, not us around them.

      We live in a digital age where we want information and entertainment online, fast, interactive, and however else we can have it. To limit that would be a waste of technological progression. The companies that have big problems with copyright should just have better ways of fair online access, and internet marketing, maybe then they wouldn’t be moaning about profits and copyright. Lots of companies have embraced the online age, profits boomed from it, and they continue this way. As for the state and political regimes, I guess there’s not much I can say about that, they will do whatever suits the agenda.

  3. If you ever have read Kant’s “Idea For a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan purpose” (I mean who hasn’t? haha) you’ll know that we are in the ultimate catch-22. We need to have leaders and governments (“man is an animal who needs a master. For he certainly abuses his freedom in relation to others of his own kind”) but at the same time any leader or group of leaders would at the same time abuse their freedoms. So the problem is that a human must hold absolute power but somehow be immune to human traits…thus making it not human and not applicable.

    “Nothing straight can be constructed from such warped wood as which man is made of”

    Basically Kant thinks that any government will be inherently bad because individual human will is flawed. However, through discord humanities collective will is biased towards a higher purpose…whatever that is. So Kant would say that the governments are doing their jobs. By being stupid they are upsetting the harmony and shaking off humanity’s laziness.

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