How should world governments address internet censorship?
As information about the PRISM program continues to matriculate, questions are growing about how governments should go about addressing the issues of Internet censorship.
Cyberspace is arguably the most international communication network available today. People from all corners of the globe can connect instantaneously over various mediums such as social media, online video chatting and email. However, this has been the cause of controversy as of late because of expansive government Internet monitoring activities.
The National Post recently noted that the National Security Agency had been tapping the German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, revealing that these invasive surveillance programs are much more expansive than initially thought. Not only is the government using PRISM to monitor its own citizens, it is using it to track the activity of foreign diplomats.
The next step?
This creates a sense of tension among many foreign governments, as no ruling power wishes to reveal important information to another. The Post reported that a number of different solutions have been proposed to keep respective countries information within their own borders.
One German telecom is looking to contain information within the country by making sure that this data would not pass through regions that are being monitored. The news source noted that though this would prevent data from being spied upon, it would prevent citizens of other countries from accessing content on German servers that may be intended for public use.
Brazil has been looking to enact similar legislation as well stressing that control over the internet should be each individual country's priority, rather than an international one.
Fears of censorship
The problem with such policies is that they could set these governments on a dangerous path to full Internet control. The news source pointed out that this "Balkanization" would prevent this international communication that is so advantageous.
Furthermore, these techniques would look very similar to those of highly controlling governments such as China.
The BBC reported that there are over 2 million state sponsored web censors operating within the country. These sensors target social media and bloggers. Allegedly they are supposed to gather and analyze public opinion, however, given the fact that the country's Internet is among the most highly regulated in the entire world, there are questions as to what this entails.
The ability to communicate with different parts of the world is essential to the Internet's longevity, meaning that these kinds of controlling policies would not fair well for the freedom of its users.