You might have heard about TV censorship, but have you ever come across a term such as Internet Censorship?
To be honest, it is simply hard to process the term as censorship and the internet are two contradictory things. What sets the internet apart from other means of communication is its ability to empower every individual to express their opinions without worrying about getting barred from the platform.
But, Internet censorship exists and is carried out for many good and bad reasons. This just reminds us of the importance of the Internet in our lives. We can’t even imagine our life without it. And having access to an uber-fast internet, like Optimum makes it invincible to get over it. Dial away número de teléfono de Optimum Servicio al cliente (For Spanish speakers) to learn more about it, and make sure that you have a good internet service available at your home.
What is Internet Censorship?
Internet censorship, at its core, refers to restrictions that are imposed by authorities to viewing particular information and content on the web. The restrictions are imposed mainly by governments, intending to prevent people, especially underage, from accessing illicit content.
More so, the censorship imposed by the government is mainly focused on shutting down the dissidents. However, governments are not the only ones to impose internet censorship; many organizations and groups restrict internet access to others. These organizations may block access to certain websites to ensure their members or employees are protected from offensive or inappropriate content. For example, an organization may block social media and entertainment sites to boost employees’ productivity.
When it comes to censorship of the internet, there are two kinds:
- Top-Down Censorship
Top-down censorship refers to the kind of censorship that we have already discussed where authorities, such as governments and organizations block specific content. Since it is imposed by a higher power, the users have no say in it and don’t have an option but to obey.
- Self-imposed Censorship
The other kind of censorship is self-imposed censorship where individuals or groups choose the content to avoid on their own. For example, you may decide not to access certain websites because they may be censored by the government.
Where Does Censorship Happen?
Internet censorship applies to a wide range of points when browsing. For example, censorship is applied to the device(smartphone, laptop, or computer), local network(WIFI), and Internet Service Provider. This means that if certain content or a website is blocked, you cannot open it on a different device or over another connection.
First of all, censorship is applied to your device by installing certain software that enforces blocks on the device. This can include network security software, parental controls, or malware.
Then, the one running your local network can also impose restrictions on certain websites, barring you from accessing them. Some of the prime examples of such types of censorship are made a universities, colleges, and workplaces.
Moreover, as said earlier, a government can ask the internet service provider (ISP) to carry out censorship, blocking content for everyone in a particular geographic location.
Surprisingly, blocks are made by search engines too. Since you look up on the internet through a search engine, the government requires the search engines to block specific queries and only provide government-approved results.
What are the Internet Censoring Technologies?
While many techniques and technologies are used to block content on the internet, the following are the most common ones:
The most used strategy to obstruct the access of a website is IP blocking. Governments and organizations blacklist IP addresses of websites which they think could be potentially harmful for the users to access. So, when a user tries to access any site, the request is monitored by the computer to check if the requested site is blacklisted or not. If you are trying to access any of the illicit sites, then the ISP will drop the connection.
If the authorities have control over domain name servers, they can deregister a domain containing corrupt content. As a result, the website becomes invisible to the browser, preventing the users from accessing it.
Another approach used to block sites is keyword filtering in which websites are blocked that are explicitly blacklisted. However, it can be quite challenging with lots of new websites created every day.
This is a fairly new and advanced internet censoring technology. When data is sent over the internet, it travels in small units called packets. These packets include content as well as information about the delivery point; they are relayed from computer to computer through routers. With packet filtering, the banned keywords are examined. As a result, if the content contains forbidden keywords, then it would not be delivered to the user.
Internet censorship is the act of preventing access to certain content on the web which can be harmful to consume. Governments and other authorities use different techniques to obstruct access to websites containing nefarious content.
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