In Zeynep Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas, he writes “Censorship is usually thought of as a dichotomous concept: some- thing is either censored or not, often by a centralized gatekeeper, such as governments or mass media.” This is exactly what I think when I hear the word, censorship. We live in world where censorship is becoming more prevalent.
Countries like China are banning topics such as LGBT from the the internet. They’ve given it the name “The Great Firewall of China.” Lu Wei is the the head of the Propaganda Department for the Communist Republic of China. He credits their success of censorship but “striking the correct balance between “freedom and order” and between “openness and autonomy.” You can justify giving up some freedom for security. Similar to the Social Contract Theory, people are willing to do this. They believe that their form of government will protect them. But is it really worth it? Would you rather give up the freedom of all knowledge to protect yourself? Personally, I don’t think so. I’d like to know everything I possibly could. I wouldn’t want knowledge to be left out. We can learn so much from others and their experiences. Censoring them could hurt us in the long run. Just as history can repeat itself, we shouldn’t keep this information away. While it may seem like a good idea to hide information that may be harmful, we’re loosing out on all aspects of outlook.
In other ways, this can hit home easily. Currently we’re experiencing our own form of government censorship. It’s net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Given the opportunity, we could have the same fate as China. This puts the power into the hands of corporations and not the people. We could have to pay extra money to visit websites or just not be able to go to certain sites if a company deems them unfavorable. This is happening right before us and people seem to not as care. In person, I hardly hear it come up in conversation. It’s not the hot topic but it very well should be. As someone who uses the internet and future career revolves around tech, this is incredibly important to me.
Take a look at the video from Jon Oliver about Net Neutrality: