Argumentative Essay About Internet Censorship
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Censorship has been defined as “The removal of material that is deemed or judged offensive to any sector of the population. Many have wondered, “Just how beneficial is censorship to man, when is it enough and does it help”? It is my view however; that there is no clear answer to the question, for censorship has its fair balance of advantages and disadvantages. I argue that the censorship of the internet in the modern digital era is “Ludacris” ridiculous because of 10000 years of progress. And we shouldn’t censor knowledge; knowledge is the most important thing for the human being it’s what keeps us going the meaning of life in a nutshell is “moving forward”. The Internet can be a very disturbing and adult medium. There are parts of the Internet that should not be viewed by children. Explicit information can be found which is intended for an adult audience but children who have access to the Internet have become exposed to this material. The question at hand is who is responsible for preventing these children from viewing this material? Censoring the entire Internet would be one possible option.
Though this option would be effective but it wouldn’t be practical. Censoring the Internet would limit what adults could view and communicate. Owners of Internet servers should know of the possible information and could access to people that can be found in this medium. Having the access to the vast information available on the Internet, a responsibility is needed. Censorship of the Internet is not needed as a whole, but the reasons for censorship are understandable. These reasons though, should be the responsibility of the individual user, not the government. Relying on the government is not the answer. Prevention of children viewing and having access to elicit material can be achieved without banning the material from the Internet. I fully believe in censorship of the Internet: Censorship by the parents for their children. All is needed is responsibility by the parents of the children. If you are a parent willing to provide your child access to the Internet, then you need to take precautions. Most parents would prevent their child from looking at the adult section in a movie store, which in many cases they can get access to, then why would they allow their children access to such material on the internet? The Internet is something that most of us must buy access to and which we then choose to surf on our own. And does the government really have the right to tell parents what books and magazines they can let their children read at home or what television programs or motion pictures they should let their children watch?
It is the parent’s responsibility to limit the access of the Internet for their children. There are many options, which can prevent children from the access to the illicit material, which can be found through the Internet. “In general, parents have access to a wider variety of Internet access controls than controls over cable television or the movies. Additionally, most children who live in environments in which their parents lack access to Internet protection likely also lack the resources to acquire computer technology and Internet access. Some examples of these methods are the following. Filtering can be done by making a list of obscene words and phrases, or others that can be linked to content which you find objectionable, and make the system unable to download material in which the words or phrases are found. This can also be used in private email. Another way to monitor your Internet browsing is by subscribing to an approved online access. There are Internet servers, which will monitor the content for you. Censorship on the Internet is a very controversial issue. Many agree that censoring violates the First Amendment of free speech.
Yet many also believe that it is the government’s duty to censor to protect children and teenagers. The EFA (Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc.) is an organization against Internet censorship. The EFA’s goals are “to advocate the amendment of laws and regulations in Australia and elsewhere which restrict free speech, and to educate the community at large about the liberties issues involved in the use of computer-based communications systems.” (President of EFA) The EFA shares similar goals with the USA’s EFF (Electronic Frontiers Foundation). These organizations believe that free speech is a right and it will be taken away by censoring the Internet. Does freedom of speech include pornography and “obscenity”? Some argue that obscenity is a matter of opinion and it cannot be defined. Every single day, millions of Australians use the internet for a wide variety of activities. These include education, social networking, business and entertainment. One of the strongest appeals of the internet is that anyone, anywhere can post almost anything they want on it without anyone approving or editing it. On the other hand, television, radio, newspapers, magazines and books are censored by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
In 2011, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, plans to have all Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) switch on a mandatory filter which will protect Australians blocking all illegal content as well as content which has been refused classification from being accessed. Stephen Conroy says it will just include the list of usual suspects such as child pornography, bestiality and depictions of other illegal activities. While this may seem an excellent idea at first, there are too many problems associated with it to make it feasible. Firstly the filter is technologically flawed and it will not do the job it was designed for. Secondly it would also adversely affect the speed of our internet and finally there is a strong level of subjectiveness in the classification process, which will block content beyond the scope of what is deemed to illegal. Another issue is the vast area the Internet reaches. If a country should prohibit certain material over the Internet, does that justify that other countries, which used the same Internet programs, loose out on that material? The Internet doesn’t start and end in a certain place. Because of their international nature, the networks operate outside the framework of individual counties regulation. It would be very hard for every country, which is on the Internet to come together and make up a set of rules to outlaw certain material.
“Nations have different views on what is permissible on the Internet.”(Oumarou 38) The only way a country can effectively censor the Internet without hindering other countries access is to follow in China’s footsteps. That would be to control who gets access to the Internet and regulate what they are using it for, also known as a communist government. “The responsibility for any censorship rests not with a central authority but with the administrators of the thousands of private and public computer networks.”(Lewis 67) If there were laws, such as the Communications Decency Act of 1995, established by the United States government outlawing “indecent” material posted by users, there would still be companies from different countries feeding this material into the country. “Traditional media are identifiable and have a physical or material component that the authorities can call to account when they consider that the law has been broken.” (Oumarou 38)
People who gain access to the Internet should be responsible enough to find out what exactly can be found there. Along with all of the information provided which would be positive to the user, they should know about all of the information that would be disturbing to the user. If then the user feels the Internet is worth it, it is their choice to purchase access the Internet. It is the same way with cable television. One could own a television and have the basic channels, which are censored, but choose to purchase cable television, which provides more channels but lacks the censors. In conclusion, the main reason the Internet does not need to be censored. In my opinion it is the option available to users to avoid what they don’t want to see. Again, the user buys access to the Internet, so no one is forcing this information into their homes. With these reasons, censorship is wrong in limiting one’s potential on the Internet.
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