Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cyberspace Censorship or Lawlessness

For this discussion, we will talk about “freedom of speech in cyberspace”. Please let us know any of the recent events (one event) from the news that illustrate a positive or negative implication of the impact of the Internet on the actual protection of the freedom of speech. What is your opinion on the event?

Cyberspace: Censorship or Lawlessness

Freedom of speech is the right to express opinion without censorship or restraint. Freedom of speech in cyberspace is a highly debated topic in the advent of the Internet. Cyberspace is a lawless zone where the weak are prey to the strong.

Due to the surge of fraudulent and unscrupulous entities attacking websites and sensitive data theft, governments are taking action in censoring/limiting the usage or access to certain sites.
In revolt to these actions, citizens of the Internet made uproars in response to this. Social media site users retorted by using black backgrounds as profile pictures, creation of hate pages, and viral commentaries.

Radio stations where flooded by calls from angry Internet citizens whom want their voice to be heard on air. The infamous Anonymous group took down government sites as a warning to all government entities. These are just examples of how the people responded.

What kind of universality would it be if censorship was to rule the Internet and what would universal access mean if it were access to only some information, only some ideas, only some images, only some knowledge?(Matsuura, 2005). Yes it is a fact that the purpose of the Internet is to provide universal access to all. What will we do if that purpose is blatantly abuse to inflict harm socially, mentally, or sometimes physically?

Cyberspace has evolved into an entity that benefits man daily. May it be in a form of commerce, education, media, or entertainment, cyberspace will always be a part of our daily lives. One key element that the Internet provides is the ease of communication.
You can chat, you call and you can even send sms/mms messages by means of the Internet. This also gave the rise to social media which became a connecting medium to socialize.

There’s a vast functionality that the internet provides. It can take days or weeks to enumerate each one. In summary, cyberspace is an inexhaustible tool that is free to use by everyone. The Internet has frequently played an important part in such engagements by enabling community to join and trade information instantaneously and by creating a sense of harmony. (La Rue, 2011).

There are two sides in everything including cyberspace. As the years passed by, the evolution of the information highway sprung some factors and features that is use predominantly by destructive entities. One to mention is of pornography.
Nowadays, pornography has become a tradable market which the yearly revenue amounts to billions.
This abecame a breeding ground for pedophiles and child molesters. Cyberspace also became the output of ‘hacking activities” in which they prey upon the average person. These are just some of the ugly truth that we seldom neglect to take action.

Knowledge is power as the saying goes but with unethical usage, this virtual land becomes a lawless society that anyone can be a victim. Yes, it is true that freedom of speech should not be limited or censored but we should also keep in mind that this society is governed by ethics.
We should not limit or censor the virtual landscape, what we should do is applying good judgment upon using the Internet.
We have the capacity to do that. We sometimes lack is the focus and the sense of responsibility in doing the right thing.

References
  • Matsuura, K (2005). International Conference on Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace Paris, France. February 3-5, 2005 (UNESCO)
  • Freedom and security in cyberspace: http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2011/10/cybersecurity-america-and-europe. Last accessed on February 27,2012
  • La Rue, F (2011). Freedom of expression everywhere, including in cyberspace http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Freedomofexpressioneverywhere.aspx Nov. 4, 2011

Elad Shalom,
CTO at ITweetLive.com

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