China is pretty infamous for the restriction of internet usage called the Great Firewall. It seems impossible to be able to monitor the internet usage of the whole country but they’re managing it pretty well. Unlike in North Korea where the internet is restricted for everyone, China only restricts information that might bring harm to the Communist Party. Only a few countries in Asia and countries in the Middle East exercise internet censorship.
China calls it the Golden Shield (the Great Firewall) which involves surveillance that blocks out harmful websites that might go against their rhetoric such as Facebook, YouTube, twitter and Instagram. While internet censorship varies from country to country, places with restrictive policies try and limit the information being shared and accessed. The methods specifically used in China includes bandwidth throttling, keyword filtering, and blocking access to websites.
The blocking of information includes content involving child pornography, illegal gambling, violence, and copyright infringement. Many governments also include blocking information related to politics and social issues.
As the numbers of restricted websites increased in countries that monitor internet activity, people are being arrested, tortured and killed over information they posted online.
What is VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network. It is used to connect to the internet via server by a provider. All data going and coming through the network is securely encrypted. This means it allows your computer to evade censorship. This is the go-to option for Chinese citizens who want access to Youtube, Google and other restricted websites. Now China’s cracking down on these services as well.
It exists to:
- prevent viewing of harmful/sensitive information
- stop people accessing certain information
- monitoring people on the internet with opposing opinions
- promote political ideas and religions
- Controlling the access of copyrighted information
Internet censorship keeps people uninformed about various topics that the rest of the world knows and has access to. To people with censorship laws and regulations in place, they are only shown what the government want to show them. The knowledge that they are being kept from doesn’t exist because how do you see something that’s not there? Internet censorship exercises control of freedom of speech and expression.