In the past years, internet has become the easiest way to exchange the information around the world. The need to censor information has also increased. Internet censorship is a method or way of controlling the information that internet displays. Each and every thing that can be published, viewed or accessed on internet can be suppressed. This process can be carried out by government or by such private organizations which are hired by government for this task. Many countries are included in internet censored countries all around the globe like North Korea, Cuba, Burma, China and Iran. we need to have a look how US Internet Censorship.
10. US Internet censorship for Corporations Abroad
This type of program to censor information is known by many people already. Those people who work in offices or IT departments. According to the rules stated by department of NCSL, many states have implemented laws of self censorship of online internet services. Many US organizations like Google, Microsoft, yahoo etc. contribute in this regard to censor internet. Corporations working to Internet censorship set the limit of content that is available for the users.
These corporations work under the directions given by government to avoid the public access of obscene sites that are harmful for children and are a major threat for the national cause i.e. to protect the state’s national security.
US uses its military to Internet censorship the national defense sites. American defense department is responsible for the protection of national security assets and national plans. It prohibits the personnel to access some specific IP addresses via using DoD computers.
In 2009, military blog A Soldier’s perspective was forced to close because of its complaints to public school officials to implement a school uniform program without parental consent.
Apart from that, in 2013, after Edward Snowden’s revelations about American surveillance program and National security agency, US army has blocked Guardian website for personnel stationed at Afghanistan, Middle East and south Asia and U.S. Central Command headquarters in Florida.
8. Individual Websites
There is a very important role of individual websites to censorship the information. Some of the websites allow the content from their users to be posted. Although they practice self censorship and have adopted many policies like pre approvals of material from users to censor any such material that can be harmful for example hate speech, harassment and US laws. However it is a debatable subject because hate speech, on one side disturbs people, and on the other side, it reveals who is among rivals.
A study was conducted by National religious broadcasters and American center for law and justice. According to which some websites are actively participating and blocking stuff like hate speeches and contents like verbal abuse and harassment. This is among the best ways to internet censorship.
International journalism has been promoted by Wikileaks, which is a nonprofit journalism related organization. It publishes secret news and information without mentioning the source. In February 2008, this issue was raised that Wikileaks need to be censored. As a result, this website was not directly accessible by web browser. Many US organizations have blocked the access to Wikileaks after several accusations placed on it. Although many organizations were against that but later on Wikileaks faced financial dilemma and in October 2011, it suspended its publications due to lack of funds. This played an important part to censor the internet.
6. Telecommunication and Internet Service Companies
Text messages and mobile services are also used worldwide for sharing information. Verizon communication, an American telecommunication company, presented their opinion in 2007 saying that such a policy should be introduced that internet censorship and the use of text messages service. They claimed that controversial messages can be forwarded using telecommunication services. Owing to their claims, many private organizations disabled those domains that were on blacklist on many departments e.g. US treasury department.
5. Encourages Self-censorship
Self censorship means to censor your own blog, film or any other form of media. Usually this term is used when someone does this without any pressure. Now this is something very interesting, as in this case many users censor the internet themselves on their own because they were of the opinion that spreading wrong information or criticizing the government would be harmful.
According to Chinese rule, it is better to promote internet unity and harmony, which is followed by US as well. They are engaging their users in elf censorship. However it is a difficult way, as for many people the choice of right and wrong is beyond the choices of other people.
4. Trade Secrets and Copyright
US has many tools to internet censorship. Trade secrets and copyright can also be used it is based on an event that took place on 4th January, in the year 2007 when a many activists were forbidden from posting information and links on websites. However this was objected by Electronic Frontier Foundation. They emphasized on freedom and liberty to speak and right of citizen journalist to post documents or link but their claims were rejected. Later on in 2007, some non US websites were also blocked and were accused of copyright infringement.
3. The Internet Kill switch
It is among the ways that tell us how US internet censorship. The department of Homeland security disclosed their secret plans in November 2013. This agency developed and launched an internet kill switch also called standard operating procedure 303 to censor the information. It shuts down wireless networks that help to prevent the remote explosion of bombs. This reality was published by the Washington times. This is actually a Chinese way to censor the internet that was adopted by US owing to its effectiveness.
2. Google Censorship
A firm action was taken by Alan Davidson in 2010 to end censorship in 2010. He was the director of public policy and was of the opinion that this task to censor internet could not be performed by a single company or industry. Since his action, many sites like anti war website, was censored by Google. Google also blocked browsing to topics related to Obama administration. The search results were changed to promote their own products rather than other companies.
1. Cell Phone Service Suspension
Although this is a crazy way but it has been used to internet censorship. This is basically based on an event that supports its benefit. Charles hill was killed by 2 police officers on July 3, 2011. Since then protests were held, so BART (Bay area Rapid Transit) ordered to shut down internet access. Mobile services were also inaccessible that time. This step brought down much of the people rage and protest against the killing. BART launched a new policy called cell service interruption policy that included shutting down of the phones in emergency conditions that would threaten passengers, employees or any other public members. So this cell phone service suspension can also be used to internet censorship .