There is an ever growing argument in the UK surrounding the subject of the world wide web and its possible censorship by the government. David Cameron is determined to introduce filters to prevent the viewing of any content that is deemed as being inappropriate or unsafe. Whilst most of us would whole heartedly agree that the protection of children on the internet is of paramount importance, is this what it is really about?
Birmingham, England -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/20/2014 -- It could be argued that there are many better ways to protect children online and that our government are simply using this as a way to control what we see online. Are we at risk of becoming a dictatorship rather than a democracy if freedom of speech is no longer a person's human right?
Safety VS freedom and democracy
Many who work within the internet industry have deep concerns about the way these filters may be implemented and the effects they may have. We spoke to Opace, a Birmingham based web design and internet marketing agency who told us, "our biggest concern is that these filters will be implemented or agreed by those who do not fully understand the internet and could end up doing more damage than good." When asked what possible damage the filters could cause, Opaces's Social Media Manager Adam Bullas explained "the government have made sweeping statements regarding these filters stating they will block any website they deem as 'extremist' or that questions the safety of our country. You could say the Guardian's views on the Snowden topic are extremist to some, so should this site be blocked?"
It does seem that the professionals in the industry have a clear argument for protecting freedom of speech and democracy. Pornography is one issue alone but to give the government free reign to block and filter what they choose could have detrimental effects on the way our democracy works. We could be moving towards countries such as China who filter not only the internet but also social media and television.
Education is key to the internet's survival
So what are the alternatives? There are already various free child protection software packages in existence on the market that parents can use to protect their children when they are online. Above all it does seem that education about the internet could be the answer.
Opace told us "we believe that education is key to keeping the internet as open as possible whilst still being safe. After all, you wouldn't close a dangerous road because of accidents, you would simply invest in educating those using the road of any danger."
The internet has been in the news a lot in recent months with pornography and cyber bullying with sites such as ask.fm. being linked to teen suicides. However, the site is a simple Q & A site that anyone can use to source a variety of information. The site has simply been misused by a minority which could have been prevented by educating parents and improving the software available to prevent these kinds of abusive posts being made.
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