The computer technologies we see in society today has changed our lives very markedly. It can be euphemistically called as a “disruptive technology” because it changed the way we do our daily routines (NRC, 2009, p. 40) from shopping to banking to meeting our new friends on social networks. The ways by which we communicate has also changed, and this trend continues in the ways the younger generation prefers to keep in touch on social network sites.
The rapid growth of the Internet (nobody calls it the World Wide Web or WWW anymore) has been due to two factors set out by the original inventors of the Internet: it must be free and it must be not under anyone's control. What this means is that nobody is allowed to censor contents of the Internet. Anybody can publish anything on the Web these days, from blog sites to the plan of how to make a roadside bomb (an improvised explosive device or IED).
Complete freedom of the Internet in terms of access and content has far reaching effects on society. Freedom of expression is one of basic guaranteed human rights and now even the U.N. has declared recently Internet access as one of those human rights. This freedom always has the upper hand in any democratic society as against the unproven theoretical benefits of censorship (Green & Karolides, 2005, p. 282) and ironically, the freedom extends to pornography. Any form of censorship, no matter how well intentioned, always tends to stifle human creativity.
Various governments have responded to this situation by passing laws on censorship which bans anything subversive, offensive and injurious to any “reasonable adult” or anything that can be “offensive to young children” and this includes pornography (Khosrowpour, 2001, p. 1157). Attempts to control pornography is bound to fail as there are no adequate ways to limit access to pornographic sites and it is also protected by the First Amendment (Trapp, 2009. p. 182).
Green, J. & Karolides, N. J. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Censorship. New York, NY, USA: Infobase Publishing.
Khosrowpour, M. (2001). Managing Information Technology in a Global Economy. Hershey, PA, USA: Idea Group Publishing.
National Research Council (2009). Persistent Forecasting of Disruptive Technologies. Washington, D. C., USA: National Academies Press.
Trapp, R. & Editors of Idea (2009). The Debatabase Book: A Must-Have Guide for Successful Debate. 4th edition. Istanbul, Turkey: Idea Publishing House.
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