On Censorship

Scott Adams on “censorship”:http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/01/chinese_search_.html:

bq.. One of the things I love about China is that they set high goals, as in “Let’s build a wall around the entire country” and more recently “Let’s have Internet access but without the part where people can access the Internet.”

*If you know the history of the Great Wall, it was highly successful in keeping out animals. But invading armies just bribed the guards and walked through the gate.* I’m guessing that your smarter animals, say porpoises, could have found a way in also. But porpoises had no interest in conquering China, so we’ll never know. *Something tells me that blocking all the unacceptable content on the Internet will be about as effective as the Great Wall.*

p. Pakistani officials are hellbent on trying to build their own little “gated internet”:http://pakistan451.wordpress.com/ but unlike the Great Wall there aren’t going to be any ruins left behind for tourists to admire. Just “a bunch of smoke and mirrors”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakistan/2006_03/internet_censorship_the_pakistani_way.html, designed to please those in power and enrich their stooges.

One wishes “they”:http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/ would go build an actual wall somewhere instead of messing around with the internet. That would lessen unemployment and provide the generals a nice place to hold parades. They could claim it’s to stop that damned Indian air from infiltrating the border, or to stop global warming or some such thing. And it would work a damned sight better than the current ham fisted attempts at internet censorship.

What does the world outside countries like Pakistan, Burma, India, the UAE, China, Iran (it’s a pretty long list…) think of these attempts to censor the internet?

3 thoughts on “On Censorship”

  1. I think most of the US has a lot of sympathy and really feels bad about this, but you have to admit that it is rapidly increasing the technological skills among average computer users in these countries, something that isn’t happening here. So its bad, but the end result may end up giving more power to people rather than governments.

  2. Publia, I don’t think censorship increases the technological skill of the average computer user. A lot of people just stop using the censored sites. For example, a few people I knew who used to write at blogspot gave up on it after it got censored.

    Even other, very techy type people stopped using blogspot after the Pakistan govt. stopped using it.

    Of course a few internet diehards reroute around the censorship, but at the end of the day people here just accept it. Even more welcome it.

  3. Censorship is rarely succesful in the long term. I can see some exceptions like using censorship to protect children’s areas. Censorship for the masses generally never works out. You need to give people the option to view or write whatever they want. If you do not give them the option they will always seek it out and find a way to work around your limits.

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