Wikipedia fighting for true internet freedom
Though a number of companies and governments say they are for internet freedom around the globe, Wikipedia stands out as one of the true activists for the cause.
Internet censorship is a dangerous thing. The idea that information should be free and available to everyone does not farfetched, but for many governments, like the United States and China, the opposite would seem like it is the case. Recent government actions in the U.S., such as the attempt to pass SOPA legislation and the recent PRISM scandal reveal that freedom, at least on the internet, isn't so free.
In China, the Great Wall that has received the most headlines as of late has been the digital firewall, in which the Government censors specific search terms and websites that it deems to be too controversial or subversive.
Wikipedia standing up to governments
Many companies on the internet have stood up to these limiters of internet freedom, however, only a select few have been consistent about their policy across various forms of legislation and government. For example, Google, while being fairly outspoken in the United States, has been on both sides of the debate as it has complied with some government restrictions in China, according to the Washington Post.
However, Wikipedia has been the most consistent when it comes to freedom of expression on the internet around the globe. While Google has removed its feature in China in which it tells users when their search results are being censored, Wikipedia has done nothing in terms of self censorship. While some of the more controversial topics on the website are blocked, the company offers an encrypted version of Wikipedia so that users can bypass the firewall.
Part of this comes out of the operating principal on which Wikipedia is based, in that it believes information should be free and available to everyone. This is why the site does not have advertisements and is allowed to be edited by anyone. On top of this, the company operates on a nonprofit basis meaning that it is not subject to similar profit driven decisions that might make other companies more complacent with censorship laws.
Wikipedia also stood up to the SOPA legislation of last year, when it participated in an internet "blackout" that prompted customers to get in touch with their government representatives about the legislation that would have required websites to self censor their content – effectively limiting the openness of the internet that so many cherish, according to ABC News.