Writing 07: Censorship

The internet certainly is public service and fair access should be a basic right. I do certainly think though that certain providers should have the ability to charge for their services. By this, I mean that streaming services should be allowed to charge for their content. However, I do not think traditionally free services shouldn’t be throttled or require payment. For example, Google’s search engine, facebook, and youtube are all fundamental components of the internet that every person should have equal access. Every company, streaming service or phone carrier, is free to have their business interest in mind. Whether they promote hulu, netflix, or give free entertainment in another form, the business choice should be free and their choice to determine winners and losers in the market. However, the line is crossed when companies punish customers for using competitor services by throttling the other service.

While the idea of an open and free internet is wonderful, there certainly needs to be regulation to prevent civilian horrors. We now know that some of the mass shootings were preceded not only by online posts but were fully supported by online groups. These are the types of online activity that must be watched and monitored. I believe the government needs to create an internet regulatory service devoted to finding these types of internet activity. 

There are many unethical actions for companies regarding technology in the US. It is unethical to suppress dissenting opinions for governments. The other three topics are difficult because certain companies are allowed to do as they wish. For example, I don’t think it is unethical for a leftist media group to not promote information about Trump because it goes against their mission. Further, there are times where information broadcasted by terrorist organizations is negative–as in giving light to these organizations give light to their mission. Not to mention, it is ethical to protect children viewers from violent online content. In addition, there many be instances to remove discriminatory, provocative, and hateful content to certain users, ie. children. However, I think the more important concern is how the government intervenes with online hateful content. 

I certainly am concerned with online censorship, mainly with uneducated online users. While I understand some censorship is necessary to remove hateful and harmful content, most uneducated users take what they see for the truth. For example, an uneducated user living in China likely accepts the censored content without questioning its truth. This sounds very similar to brainwashing. In the United States, we I think we have the other side of the extreme, almost no censorship. Here, I am open to consider effective types of censorship, mainly content related to terrorism and mis-information. Especially in light of political elections, there needs to be a raised awareness for misinformation online. There are two routes to go down in preventing misinformation. First, you completely remove mis-information and censor online sites like Facebook. Second, and more feasible, would be an online mark that would warn user the content likely was mis-informed.