CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET


CENSORSHIP ACROSS THE GLOBE



The United States is not alone in respect to its' concerns about Internet content. The UK has demonstrated a concern as well. In an attempt to understand the unlimited access of the Internet, the UK Home Office and Internet service providers met to discuss the problems. It was indicated in this meeting that the UK would be looking towards the service providers to regulate content (Burton, 1996).

Britain responded to the passing of the CDA by emphasizing responsiblity of content to Internet service providers. In August of this year "a letter was sent to all Internet service providers by Chief Inspector Stephen French of the Clubs and Vice Unit of the Metrolopolitan Police. Giving a list of newsgroups which contain 'offensive material', it goes on to say,'we are looking to you to monitor your Newsgroups identifying and taking necessary action against those other found to contain such material'" (Watson, 1996).

This kind of implication by the police weighs heavy on internet service providers. Disregarding the ethical concerns, there is still the issue of time."With hundreds of postings being made every day, asking a provider to read every mail message to check for something offensive is like expecting a library assistant...to look through every book to make sure" the borrower has not "defaced any of the pictures or altered any of the text" (Watson, 1996).

Germany is another country attempting efforts to censor their citizens access to the Internet. Content concerning Nazi's is currently outlawed in this country. "The German government even asked Compuserve, America Online, and other Internet providers to assist them in tracking Nazi-related material on the net." Germany's government is promoting the banning of child pornography world wide as well (Hein 1996).

Due to pressures placed by German officials, CompuServe "blocked 200 newsgroups." It is impossible to limit the block to "users in one country", claims CompuServ. This denial of access will be felt by CompuServ clients all over the world (Burton, 1996).

The United States was not the only country taking charge of the Internet situation this past February. The Chineese government required its' "servers to go through the Telecomunications Ministry and told users to register with police." Sites which have been removed from these servers include "major U.S. news media, politically sensitive sites such as home pages for groups that monitor human rights abuses and publications such as Playboy" (Associated Press, Sept. 12,1996).

According to Tang Fengming, president of the Internet provider CINet, the current situation is "temporary." This action by the Chineese government is an attempt to "distinguish which sites have problems and which ones don't" (CNN, Sept. 9, 1996).



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