The title of this entry is completely self-explanatory and requires little deep thinking to see the dots. The arguments for internet censorship by corrupt governments are on par with excuses smokers make to keep smoking.
Trying to find balanced reporting in this report is admittedly a challenge from the word go. There are so many twists and turns to this topic it makes a plate of spaghetti look straight. Some arguments for censorship argue that stopping disinformation that could lead to revolts or uprisings is needed. Others simply offer no excuse or explanation for making it a crime to click the Like button on Facebook or agreeing with a critical viewpoint. Still other excuses look to disable communications that are critical of government. In all of these cases, it is the wrong approach. There is only one correct approach that has been around long before the invention of computers, never mind the internet.
Before the days of real time communication, there was your daily newspaper and broadcast news. The integrity of journalism was and is a very important and necessary standard. Without it there simply would be chaos as people would be running around acting on half-truths or out and out lies from journalists with agendas. This however is the base concept and excuse many governments use as the foundation to build censorship laws from.
The thinking is the internet is full of blogs like this one, social media, and just webpages that relay ideas and concepts. The rationality is these blogs and others mentioned don’t have to adhere to the high standards of balanced reporting in the mainstream media. They can say what they want and there is no requirement of truthfulness. Hate websites and hate groups and even ISIS have access to the internet. So to simply block those websites and go after the people behind them is the direction being taken by corrupt governments.
But using a less than tasteful metaphor, this will have the eventual effect of trying not to have a bowel movement. You can only hold it back for so long. So when it finally blows there is a significant deposit to deal with. Meaning the act of stopping or blocking only builds more pressure behind the block. Even China’s efforts to stop any discussion of what happened in Tiananmen Square have done nothing to remove the energy behind the events of that time. Even just the mention of Tiananmen Square in this entry is likely to get an automatic block in China. The truth of the matter is the movement has become stronger but it is just below the government’s radar.
Going after Twitter posters, wanting to crack the secure programs like Line and other programs who place user privacy above government’s desire to know and see all is an ongoing battle. Blocking can only be done in an all or nothing move. So by doing that, governments risk causing the revolt or anti-government movement they fear. These social media applications have become too entrenched in society and have even become tools for business communication. Smart phones that can’t be viewed by anyone other than the owner are all simply telling governments that they have gone too far. People can thank Edward Snowden for opening the world’s eyes as to how involved and intrusive governments have become to protect themselves.
This all brings us back to the proven method of dealing with misinformation. In general and thanks to the internet itself, people have become more aware of the world they live in. They can more easily weigh facts and come to their own conclusions with accurate information. So it all comes down to very quickly disproving false allegations with provable facts. Once a person, or a group has been labeled as a regular source of disinformation, the public is smart enough to do the math. The majority of people don’t have flat learning curves so disinformation can be spotted fairly easily.
On the other side of the coin, if this information does turn out to be true and governments are doing something wrong, this exposing information will stick like tar and feathers, and that is the true underlying motivation for Internet censorship. With that said, any government that is pro censorship now automatically calls scrutiny to themselves as they have just tripped the alarm that says they are most likely doing things that they should not be doing.