Digital Defenders

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Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit, donor-funded defender of digital rights created in 1990 before the Internet took off.  Their website has daily updates on censorship issues as well as information about how to get involved.

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Censoring: the answer to global success? Probably not.

Global comparisons: Refuting the Chinese government’s internet censorship ideology.

China has the highest Internet censorship in the world, encouraging Internet companies to ban social media and anti-government talk.  As globalization continues to spread, both economically and socially, the Internet is a place to connect and compete.  China is limiting their worldly standing by banning information from their public.  The government sees this high level of Internet control as a positive for their nation, but in reality, it is stressing business ties and leaving their people behind.

One problem with the Chinese government and their Internet censorship culture is the contradictions it portrays.  For example, there are many Chinese websites that easily sell drugs and weapons despite their strict laws against both.  People regularly get executed as a result of selling drugs in China, yet the Chinese government seems to turn their cheeks away from websites doing just that.

So, what is more dangerous: freedom of speech and access to information or drugs, guns, and prostitutes?  What the Chinese government fears most may be citizens with access to information and social media rather than outright dangers like drugs and guns.  Even if this is the case, the government should not contradict the law by allowing such dangerous sites to continue unblocked while taking their time to block sites like the New York Times and Facebook.

The Chinese government is trying to censor their people from social opinion and news.  This seems like a major let down to their large population of internet lovers, which is the highest in the world.  The strict internet blocking is leaving the users in the dust when in comes to all of the new and information circulating the globe.  The government may be limiting possible instability within the country by banning negative news towards them, yet overall, they are limiting their people in regards to connecting and competing in our global society.  Internet users have tried to get around this obstacle by using VPNs (virtual private networks), yet the government is cracking down on that as well.  New York times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, quotes a Chinese friend who stated, “How can we develop our skills if we can’t even visit some of the most popular Web sites around the world?”

That question pretty much sums up how the Chinese government is blatantly discouraging their citizens’ global participation.

As censorship relates to business, Google has threatened and removed itself at times from China because of strict search enforcement.  This creates tension between highly relevant and influential companies of the internet world, like Google, and the Chinese.

Who will prevail in the competition of worldly success? If the Chinese government continues such harsh Internet censorship by limiting their people from global news, then will they slowly decline as a global entity? The Chinese have been successful in this economy, yet as the internet continues to guide the majority of our lives, their people and society may decline as a result of harsh internet censorship by their government.