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Internet censorship

Legal control of the internet / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Internet censorship is the legal control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. Censorship is most often applied to specific internet domains (such as, for example, Wikipedia.org) but exceptionally may extend to all Internet resources located outside the jurisdiction of the censoring state. Internet censorship may also put restrictions on what information can be made internet accessible.[1] Organizations providing internet access  such as schools and libraries  may choose to preclude access to material that they consider undesirable, offensive, age-inappropriate or even illegal, and regard this as ethical behavior rather than censorship. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship of material they publish, for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, political views, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.[2][3]

The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While some countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress and silence discussion among citizens.[3] Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other types of censorship include the use of copyrights, defamation, harassment, and various obscene material claims as a way to deliberately suppress content.

Support for and opposition to Internet censorship also varies. In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet". In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet". Perception of internet censorship in the US is largely based on the First Amendment and the right for expansive free speech and access to content without regard to the consequences.[4] According to GlobalWebIndex, over 400 million people use virtual private networks to circumvent censorship or for increased user privacy.[5]

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