Censorship in the digital age

Digital technologies like Internet, mobile phone and computers banged the world with a claim to work freely. Suddenly there was an air of borderless world. Its popularity and power stunned the world nations. Governments lost track of digital power. Their radar of censorship got blocked by Internet. Information was flowing freely from anywhere to everywhere.

At one point of time there was a global movement try to control the world affairs. What was started in Brazil under the banner of World Social Forum threatened to break the iron cages of Governments. Independent people’s power of the world was half visible. Awaken by such critical realities; some countries tightened their information control. The axe fell on the Internet. Simply certain websites which are anti-national and provoking people to react were blocked.

Technologies which were part of younger generation were slowly impacting the elder sections too. Lagging behind in techno knowledge, Governments constituted cyber cells both to spread its information and to track its rebels and anti-establishments messages in the cyberspace.

China qualifies to the number one spot in censoring and blocking websites. No other country has so powerfully dealt with the Internet power than China. Jonathan Zittrain and Ben Edelman in their study found that collected two hundred thousand website samples and found that about fifty thousand were unavailable at least one and nineteen thousand were unavailable twice. BBC, CNN, US Court System were blocked. Some websites were clever enough to copy past the information from the blocked sites were available. It is a matter of popularity of the free expression of China sites that matter most to the Government. Tibet and Taiwan searches in the Google yielded no information or pro China news. Such was the strength of Government control over internet in China.

The Amnesty International says that the Chinese users were cleverer than their government by using proxy servers. It is the same case in information controlling Iran. The network system got popular from the university campuses. Slowly the anti-establishment students started spreading their message through Internet. Having successfully crushed down the print medium which was spreading anti-government messages, the Internet power came as a great shock.

Despite several tortures and control mechanisms Internet seems to be penetrating right to the end of the Government and hitting hard with antagonistic messages. Naturally the state control seems to be partial rather than totally ruthless. Off late the Chinese authorities are sending proxy pictures with anti-China message and infecting it with virus deliberately. This comes on the top of the searches and threatens the surfers not to download it. This exercise is repeated to fill many search results with virus attached messages and images.

One never knows the time of total takeover of Internet by the Government. Its power can be enhanced and upgraded any time. If a techno person takes over the Government then he/she will apply own mind to control the information. Rarely one can see a liberal implementing his prophecies. With the increasing terror threats anyone in the government will be compelled to give it as an excuse while ordering information control.
It is crucial to separate information freedom and information menace. Naturally every government should allow the free flow of information. Keeping track of the terrorists and troublemakers is a must. Indeed internet should be used proactively by the Government to track terror operators and help public to live peacefully.


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