Free speech and the internet

@mel13088 (265)
United States
July 27, 2009 1:26pm CST
I'm in a class called Ethics in Technology. Discussions in class really make me think of how free "free speech" really is. Governments block information they do not want their citizens to see. For example, in China, they have a great firewall and they filter what goes in and out of China through the internet. How do you feel about government filtering of the internet? Do you feel like your government is keeping anything from you by filtering the internet? Do you feel like you are able to say what you want to say on the internet without any restrictions?
1 person likes this
6 responses
@inedible (769)
• Singapore
28 Jul 09
China's censorship is rather excessive. I'd definitely dislike that level of censorship. Though, of course, I wouldn't object to it publicly, if the government here started imitating China. I don't fancy being arrested. __ I don't think my own government is filtering anything, but if they were... On one hand, I'd dislike being restricted from browsing and speaking as I like, but on the other hand, if it really does help protect national security or something, then as long as it's in reasonable amounts, I really can't complain, not if they're protecting citizens by doing it...
@mel13088 (265)
• United States
28 Jul 09
I'm glad I'm not in China either. But at the same time, there is so much in China for Chinese people to look at anyway. China is a huge country and most people don't look for things outside of their country. For example, I'm American and I usually don't look for things outside of America. I rarely do. I agree that I wouldn't object to it publicly either. If your country did censor to that degree, and you objected to it online, would you consider that objecting to it publicly? Or would you have a private conversation in your home or a friend's home?
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@inedible (769)
• Singapore
28 Jul 09
I wouldn't talk to anyone about it at all, online or offline. Better safe than staring at a firing squad. ^^
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@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
29 Jul 09
This is a difficult topic. My first response would be to say any censorship is wrong. But I also am aware that some speech or information is damaging. The government does have a responsibility to protect some sensitive information of it's citizens. What makes this more difficult in our time is we have internet. There should be laws that restrict WHAT information is placed on the internet. Or make it password sensitive. There are ways to protect the information and allow only those who need to see it, to see it. As for China and other nations that censor what their citizens can see, my only thought on this would be that it is wrong. But short of a forcing them, which is wrong as well, there is no way to change that.
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@mel13088 (265)
• United States
3 Aug 09
It's definitely a hard topic. If there was someone that was in charge of the internet of the world and they decided what to put passwords on and block, I wonder how they would do that. Different cultures are more open to different things. As far as restricting what is placed on the internet, that's hard because they would have to monitor each individual. People can post whatever they want to post. It's hard for me to say where I think the line is. It's pretty vague.
• United States
28 Jul 09
I think government should be able to limit certain websites but only for good reasons - such as terrorists websites need to be blocked so therefore we don't have citizens looking to join those groups etc. or at least don't have the easiest way possible to do so. Also I understand why school, which is government regulated, needs to block certain websites from students. Yes a lot of us have learned how to get around those blocks but still they are there for a reason. But should the government block a website because they fear true information is going to be leaked out like what most communist governments do - no. But if there is safety at hand and you can really back it up then I don't see why not.
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@mel13088 (265)
• United States
28 Jul 09
The comment about schools blocking information makes me remember how a friend and I found a website that got around our school's filters and were able to chat during our computer class. This was when I was in middle school. The computer teacher wanted to know what the website was. We thought he wanted to block it but he said he was just interested in it and thought it was neat. Again, its a hard line to draw because government is set up for the protection of the people. If they feel that their citizens will be more safe by not knowing what happened in another part of the world then it could be okay for them to block a site. The people running the government could have their own interests at hand or could be looking out for the country. It's a tough line to be able to draw. I'm glad I don't have to do it.
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• Pakistan
27 Jul 09
In my opinion the govt or any regularity authority which do some filtering is really a good thing and being a govt they have the right to make polices and then impliment and should think what is better for their citizen or not i am not saying that govt should block anything which it wants but should block which is not good to view for majority of the population.
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@mel13088 (265)
• United States
27 Jul 09
I agree that the government should block some content. An example was used in one of the texts that I had to read for class of a website posting names, addresses, liscense plates and even spouses and children of doctors performing abortions. The website also placed a line through the names of those that were killed. I don't think this is right for the population. There are also other things out there that should be blocked like instructions for how to make bombs or organizing crime online.
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• India
28 Jul 09
I feel that there should be some privacy about a nation policies and strategies.But yes the government should be transparent in some cases that involve public affairs.Have a good day
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@Lockjaw (73)
• New Zealand
28 Jul 09
When I am on the internet, I feel the freedom is beyond you can imagine. I can visit 'any' site I want without some kind of restriction. There will always be some sites your government will disallow, I think this is natural. But if the government blocks too much sites then there really is no such thing as freedom of speech. But luckily I do not live in such a country, I am a free person on the internet, I may visit gaming forums, or shopping sites if I wanted to.