Although the internet can be a powerful tool for sharing new ideas around the world, many gov
ernments have begun to regulate what we can see on the internet. In fact, government internet surveillance and censorship are a global phenomenon that can affect you nearly everywhere you go. There are reasons behind the censorship of certain websites, but it can still be frustrating to find yourself blocked from accessing a site or service that you need to use.
Let’s take a look at government censorship and talk about the ways to get around it:
How Does It Work?
If you’ve ever tried to access a website and received an error message that was not related to your internet connection, you were likely seeing internet censorship in action. Not all censorship is carried out by the government, however. Many sites, such as Netflix and YouTube, employ geo-restrictions to block content or service in certain regions of the world.
That being said, censorship is also often used by governments as well to control what can be viewed or published online. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as forcing an ISP to block the website from their users, removing results from major search engines, or even totally disconnecting a network.
Why Do They Do It?
There are several reasons why a government might choose to censor sites. It often has to do with copyright issues. In order to prevent copyright infringement or pirating, the government might choose to block sites where this is frequently an issue. A site might also be censored because it goes against societal standards for decency and is deemed pornographic. Censorship could simply be political. For example, the government might take away a forum where people discuss current issues in the country.
How Is the Environment Changing?
While we can’t be certain what technologies and methods governments will use in order to block unwanted content or opinions, we can certainly expect further legal justifications for it. We can also expect an arms race between those for it and those against it.
How Do I Get Around It?
One of the best ways to get around internet censorship is to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This will hide your true IP address and location from any organization or person monitoring you that you’re trying to access, meaning you could be anyone from anywhere in the world. It will also encrypt your connection, meaning that anyone hoping to see what you’re downloading will only be able to tell that someone is using a VPN.
There are many options for VPNs out there, and they may vary depending on where you live and what you use. PC users will want to read reviews written for them by Secure Thoughts, and people living in oppressive countries will want to make sure a VPN can provide adequate service with its infrastructure. Just make sure you’re choosing a good one that isn’t going to slow down your browsing speed or have too many glitches.
What Are the Ethical Implications?
It is important to note that in some countries, attempting to bypass government censorship restrictions is actually illegal. You’ll definitely want to check into local laws prior to setting up a VPN. Another thing to note is that if you are found to be using some of the sites that are blocked, you could encounter some problems as well. That said, in many countries, you’ll face few consequences for circumventing restrictions. As long as you know the laws, you should be okay.
Although government censorship has a purpose, many people argue that if the internet is really free, people should be able to access and publish any and all the content that they choose to, without government interference. After all, why should a government have any business knowing what you’re up to on the internet if you’re not doing anything illegal? Using a VPN will keep your internet connection safer and allow you to access all the sites that you choose.
Do you have any thoughts on where censorship is headed down the line? Do you have any methods yourself as to how avoid censorship by either companies or governments? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
About the Author: Cassie is a tech blogger and enthusiast who enjoys spending her time looking at the latest news from the world of information. She hopes to keep people informed and knowledgeable about how to make technology work best for them.