Is internet censorship and de-anonymization an attack on our freedom of speech?
The Internet is the newest and most cutting edge technological medium to date. Currently, any person is allowed to express any opinion online anonymously no matter how controversial it may be with no chance of it having any effect on their personal lives. This fact is what makes the internet so great but it opens up a vast field of unknown possibilities which could potentially make this medium a very dangerous tool. A critical point to recognize here is that while certain countries may censor all forms of media in one way or another, it is still possible for citizens of that country to access information from across the world online, effectively bypassing their government’s laws.
The issue that governments have with censoring the internet is that it is almost entirely privately owned so they must rely on methods such as content filtering or site blocking. To date, these attempts have been like trying to stay dry in the rain using a net; a phenomenal amount of sites leak through undetected. One reason for this is the ease of starting up a website. If a person knows what they are doing, it is possible to have content with full navigation online within a day. A research study which supports this was conducted in 2007 and published in 2009 by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. It stated that: "We are confident that any censorship circumvention tool developers will for the most part keep ahead of the governments' blocking efforts", but also that "we believe that less than two percent of all filtered Internet users use circumvention tools" (Zuckerman, 2007) A few cases where internet censorship is actually successful can be seen in parts of China, North Korea, and Cuba. The reason for this success is that the government has supreme control over all internet connecte...