Introduction – How to Unblock the Internet
Before we can start with the introduction towards how to unblock the internet, let us understand the word “Censor.” This is a word that means – Any person who supervises the manner or morality of others.
Internet Censorship – How to Unblock the Internet?
Now that we are clear lets us begin. Internet Censorship is defined as the control, filtration, and restriction on access to information on the Internet. All of us have experienced censorship on the Internet in varied forms at different points in our lives. The earliest pattern of it that many of us faced – maybe even without realizing it – was censorship of inappropriate websites on the Internet by our parents when we were kids.
But doesn’t matter, ignorance is bliss. And it was probably the best thing for us as kids to be sheltered from the dark dangers of the Internet. Then, as school students, we had restrictions put on the amount of time we were allowed access to the school computers. And we could only access a handful of websites that our teachers thought were appropriate.
With time, we grew older, left home for college, started living on our own away from our parents. And that is when we also started thinking of ourselves as adults who are capable of taking mature, independent decisions. Only to realize a few days into college that our college had blocked almost all the exciting websites on the Internet. This also continues in the work area after college. Like the ban on Facebook or many sites.
More Than Just Internet Censorship
All traditional media in most countries have been regulated by the government for many years now. The traditional media here includes television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and others. What makes regulation and censorship on the Internet a little more complicated is the fact that the Internet seamlessly crosses geographical boundaries. It is common for a user to be sitting in one country and accessing content hosted on a website located in another country.
The content that is being accessed may be illegal and blocked in the country where the user is located, but may be completely legal, unblocked or unregulated in the country where the website is hosted. The extent of censorship of the Internet varies from country to country and within each country from organization to organization. For example, most western governments provide their citizens with unblocked Internet access.
On the other hand, many East Asian countries (like China, Myanmar, South Korea, Vietnam and others) and Middle Eastern countries (like UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others) are actively blocking varying portions of the Internet.
Reasons for blocking things on the Internet
The reasons for blocking stuff on the Internet also vary quite widely. These reason range widely for different countries. They are:
- Security reasons: Any content on the Internet that could pose a risk to the security of a country is typically blocked, censored or taken down by the government.
- Legal reasons: Governments, organizations, and colleges usually block illegal material like child pornography, piracy, copyright, gambling, violence, intellectual property theft and hate speech. In the corporate world, in specific industries that are working on sensitive data block normal websites. Since even the websites which are normal are not avalibale due to legal and compliance reasons.
- Economic interests: Various governments, companies, and hotels block access to websites that may hurt their selfish economic interests at the expense of the users. For example; Skype, the most popular VOIP tools in the world and many Middle East countries have blocked it. This is since its used to lead to a loss of revenue for the local government-owned telecom providers. Yes, Skype is a lot cheaper and could help users save a lot of money. But it has been blocked to safeguard the economic interests of specific governments and companies.
- Moral grounds: Many government and organizations like to take a high moral stance on perfectly legal websites. Since they feel that it may have some controversial content and block them out.
Some other Reasons to Block the Internet
- Bandwidth purposes: Many companies, organizations, colleges and even ISPs like to block certain websites that use more bandwidth than usual. Such as the video streaming websites, online music, gaming websites and many others.
- Time & resources: Many companies, organizations and colleges like to believe that if perfectly normal websites like Facebook, YouTube, Sports, News, Stocks and other are allowed to be accessed then everybody in the organization will end up wasting a lot of company time and resources.
- Unusual events: During the Arab Spring movements that took place across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, various governments ended up blocking access to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and others. In some extreme cases, complete access to the Internet was taken away by governments.
The ACCESS DENIED error message!
When you try to access a blocked site, you will be shown a message that says ACCESS DENIED error message. Where this message tells you that the website has been blocked by either the country, organization or college. Some governments and companies are very open and forthcoming about the sites and applications they are blocking. For example, many Middle East countries and others tell the user that they cannot access to the page they are looking for.
On the other hand, several governments like Chinese and others are not so open in it. Instead of showing the blocked message, they simply direct the user and display a fake NOT FOUND error message. While at times, they might also direct the user to some other website they feel is appropriate for the user.
What goes blocked on the Internet?
The things that the government or agencies block on the Internet are quite diverse. Some of the most commonly blocked stuff on the Internet is:
- Social networking websites
- Video & audio streaming
- Sports websites
- Job search websites
- Online gaming websites
- Instant messengers
- Web-based applications on your computer
- USB ports
- News websites
What I think about Internet Censorship?
My personal opinion about Internet censorship and blocking by governments, companies, and colleges are quite liberal. First of all, there is no question that illegal websites and content that threatens the security, peace, and well-being of a country should be obviously blocked, censored, regulated or removed from the Internet.
It is also best for governments, organizations, and colleges to be upfront and open about their blocking policies with their users. And this should be instead of trying to be secretive and vague about it. However, I strongly oppose any government actions towards blocking of legal but controversial content on the Internet. Such as political satire, criticism and humor along with harmless websites like YouTube, Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and other news and sports websites like they do in some companies.
We do not want anymore restrictions. We are demanding back our freedom. No, we are taking our freedom back into our own hands. We are not going to break laws and access illegal content; we are only wish to have unrestricted access to legal content on the internet.
The next posts would give you simple and legal grey hat methods on how to unblock the internet. Check them out!
All-in-all, let us and our Internet remain free. What do you think? Drop in your thoughts in the comments section below!