Posts Tagged ‘Censorship’

Who is winning the battle to control the internet?

December 28, 2012

From Index on Censorship

A diverse landscape for open debate, creativity and innovation, the digital world has in many ways been a gift for free expression. A place for spreading news quickly and information-sharing, for highlighting the most profound violations of human rights, it transforms how we communicate. It’s also, of course, ripe territory for censorship, widespread offence and illegal activity.

While government representatives gathered at the World Conference on Information Technology (WCIT) to argue over the future of internet governance, this issue of Index on Censorship magazine, Digital Frontiers asks: who is winning the battle to control the internet?


Internet trolls: Inciting the censorship versus free speech debate

September 23, 2011

Meet the trolls

From Index on Censorship

This article examines trolling subcultures revealing what they are and how they operate. It considers how attention to the movement has placed trolling squarely at the centre of emergent debates surrounding online censorship. It recognizes this group of internet users as an anonymous community that circulates exploitative messages. Trolls meet the following basic profile: they self-identify as trolls, they tend to be intelligent, playful, mischievous, and antagonistic. They deliberately court controversial and transgressive humor to inflict emotional distress and regularly invade people’s privacy. Trolls are as likely to circulate racist messages as to harass members of the KKK. They are equal-opportunity offenders.

In the US, trolling is, for the time being, protected by the First Amendment. More and more fre­quently, however – in both America and in Britain – trolling is equated with ‘cyberbullying’ (a problematic term in itself) and therefore risks being legally categorised as fighting words (an offence in the US) and/or outright harassment. Whether or not one regards trolling as morally or politically distasteful, the impulse to silence trolls embodies the brewing fight within and between governments regarding the perceived necessity for online censorship.



Are WikiLeaks revelations an essential method of holding the US government to account?

April 6, 2011

The urge to classify

From Index on Censorship

Are revelations by WikiLeaks one of the few means of holding the government to account? When Barack Obama took office as president he identified transparency as one of the highest priorities on his agenda for change. The author of this article suggests that the president’s early promises remain unfulfilled, the US government has failed to deliver on its commitment to openness. The overclassification of information and the failure of transparency laws to operate in an effective manner both contribute to an environment in which unauthorised disclosures – like those from WikiLeaks – are more likely to occur. Some will argue until we have more openness information leaks particularly facilitated and well circulated by the internet provide an important method for combating government secrecy.


Censoring cyberspace

November 18, 2010

From Index on censorship

This special issue calls for a new approach to tackling censorship online. As cyberspace has become the arena for political activism, governments are growing more sophisticated in controlling free expression online – from surveillance to filtering. And it’s now becoming harder than ever for human rights activists to outwit the authorities. Targeted espionage is another worrying new development for companies and governments – and Google’s response to the attack on its infrastructure in January from China will have significant repercussions for western companies that do business with authoritarian regimes. The issue examines how technology has transformed the business of censorship at the same time as revolutionizing freedom of expression.


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