Internet censorship: Could it happen to us?

By Kara Duffy |

The Internet has come to dominate the way people communicate and interact in today’s society. People use the Internet to get information easily and quickly to access anything online.

We take the Internet for granted like it is a necessity rather than a luxury, assuming that we can access and use the Internet whenever and for whatever we want.

Imagine a day that you can’t access Google or any of your favorite websites because they’ve been blocked.

Censorship and net neutrality have become a huge controversy in the United States.

Censorship is the societal control of or forcibly putting an end to freely used public communication. It’s done to prevent the spread of information that a government views as inconsistent, offensive or harmful.

The United States Internet remains neutral under the Open Internet Act, which allows the use of the Internet through a free and unrestricted service provider.

Italy, Russia, Egypt and Japan are just a few of the countries who have enforced laws to keep their Internet neutral.

“China operates one of the most sophisticated and wide-reaching censorship systems in the world,” the BBC World News reported in a May 2010 article.

China keeps tight reigns over what content the Internet and media provides. The Chinese government employs thousands to monitor the activity of the Internet and media to ensure that prohibited content is discussed. China has recently been behind cyber attacks against more than 20 companies, including Google, who no longer wish to abide by the censorship system.

“I could never imagine having restricted access to websites like Google, considering I Google everything. But it makes me think whether we are already blindly being censored of certain information on any search engine,” Flagler College communication major, Adam Krell, said.

But should the United States government regulate the way we use the Internet? That is the real question.

Within the past decade, there is more information that can be accessed than ever before.

“The information that is filtered here in the U.S. is for our own security and for the security of the nation, and information like that should definitely be reviewed,” Flagler College Sport Management Major, Rachel Brown.

The U.S. Government does not censor content that is available through the Internet, but the news that we receive is very carefully filtered. The media systematically withholds information from  consumers that they deem could be harmful to the security of the United States.

“I mean, I thought as American citizens we have unalienable right and the freedom of speech,” psychology major Jen Knurek said. “Apparently, not anymore, since they are trying to censor the information we have a right to choose, like religious beliefs, literature and even our own ideas and thoughts.”

Information today is already being filtered out with what authority  figures think are inappropriate and that are inconsistent with majority. But the United States, unlike China, has regulations against this type of blatant censorship.

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