Should Governments Censor Our Online Activities?

Turkey's Internet Censorship Controversy

Google has some interesting stats on the rise in online censorship. Google is working hard to make sure they comply with as little take down requests as possible.

Imagine this: You’re a group that’s all about having control over every single thing that goes on. Suddenly, the internet comes around and you discover that it’s something that is almost impossible to control in a civilized matter, even if you actually needed to. You’re panicked, so you decide to just censor everything.

This is what many countries are doing. Some governments think that the internet is something that is a security threat, and others hardly know anything about the true inner workings of it and just panic. Whatever is going on, a lot of countries are resorting to internet censorship in order to keep themselves “safe.” Ethiopia recently decided to ban all VoIP communications, meaning that something as simple as a Skype call could land you 15 years in jail because the government can’t track it like they can track traditional phone communications. This will cause Ethiopia to go backwards in technological development. Ethiopia has one single ISP that controls everything.

Here are some stats on censorship from The Guardian:

  • Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 links to blogs and articles criticizing public figures, Google did not comply
  • Poland asked Google to remove article critical of agency for enterprise development, Google did not comply
  • Canada asked Google to remove YouTube video of citizen defacing passport and flushing it down the toilet, Google did not comply
  • Google has complied average of 65% of court cases and opposed 47% of informal requests

Read full Guardian article here

Those are just some examples of the censorship going on on the internet. As far as all these stories that governments want taken down from Google search results, my question is, does it do any good? The stories can still be accessed either directly or through another search engine. Also, these articles are the same articles you may find in the newspaper. I’m not sure how much free speech some of these countries may have. I find it funny that theses governments are targeting Google instead of trying to get the source taken down completely, but I’m glad that they aren’t.

All this battle over the internet is hurting it. The internet was never meant to be regulated in my opinion. I don’t support illegal acts happening over the internet, and honestly I don’t think a high profile crime is going to be set up over the internet. Completely anonymous usage of the internet is very hard to get completely right. This battle between governments and the internet almost seems like a game to me. It’s achieving nothing, and they are taking their focus off of things that really matter, like the worldwide debt.

I’m thankful that I live in a country that is only trying to fight piracy. I am still allowed to say what I want to say on the internet. Normally most of the stuff you will find on Paul Shirey Tech from day to day is my opinion on current events. I also write how-to’s and tips from time to time.

  • The Nerdy Nurse

    No way! The internet is the paradise of free speech!

  • Vernon Malcom

    Google won’t let me access my files because I ain’t got no cellular!
    Don’t Boss Google know the song “You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
    Another day older and deeper in debt. St Peter don’t you call me cause I
    can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store” That’s why black folk
    ain’t got no checking account ot listed numbers. Dob Lobb and Carl
    Eigone need be envestigate by the FTC for tearing down Yahoo to benefit
    Google. Seems like they ain’t be wanting no Chinese svatzies in their
    blond Orly Tietz matzies