The internet’s freedom and censorship leaves for an uncertain future

419243924_001dbdd472_oBy: Matthew Choi, News Writer

The internet is an archive with endless amount of information on everything you can imagine. In the internet realm, everyone has a voice unlike in real life (IRL). 

The internet has become a reliable form of communication around the world, due to its speed and accessibility which cannot be matched. Due to this, any form of news is rapidly spread. In the early 2000’s, the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, made internet valuable for such news discussions mentioned above.

Recently, social networking and the internet, shook up the real world in the realm of politics and information sharing. Politically, during the 2012 U.S Presidential elections, both candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used their Facebook and Twitters to push forward their presidential campaign. 

Furthermore, the internet has managed to fuel political revolutions around the world. The 2010 revolutionary wave, called the Arab Spring, saw rebels using social media networks to display a first hand account of the revolution. Many have also used it to coordinate strikes and riots throughout their own countries. Seeing the power of the internet, the government of some countries has shut off access to prevent the leak of information.

Some countries, who fear the power of the internet, have decided to censor the internet. Through these censorships, the government can control what is published, accessed, or viewed on the internet. 

Countries that censor the internet include, but are not limited to: China, North Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Cuba. Most of these countries already go through an intensive process of media censorship, either by eliminating or installing a pro-government local media outlet. However, unlike local media outlets, these countries actually fear the internet, as it has many outside ideologies that can represent a threat to their current regime.

The U.S and other Western countries have condemned these acts of censorship because they believe the internet is a human right.e. In fact, the U.S Department of State has commented that it is their goal to make sure every child has access to the internet without any restrictions and the EU has deemed that the internet is a human right.

However, Western countries also consider the internet as a powerful tool which can be abused. During June of 2013, ex-NSA worker Edward Snowden managed to leak classified documents of the U.S’s global surveillance program via the use of the internet. These document then managed to spread throughout the world like a wild fire. The U.S responded by actively seeking out Snowden for treason and espionage. However Snowden has sought refuge in Russia and was granted a one-year asylum.

To counteract problems like those the U.S is facing, many countries, including South Korea, has gone through mild-censorship to prevent such issues.

The future of the internet is still unsure. However, ITGS (Information Technology in a Global Society) teacher, Mr. Kilgore commented, “You’re going to see more and more of a desire by governments to control information. Not just the Chinese government or North Korea or Iranian. I think you’re going to see every country wanting to control information in one form or another. Although the government is there to protect the citizen and the culture, you’re going to see government promoting the government, and the internet is a threat to that.”