Freedom vs Internet

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May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden

In legislating on the use of computers, governments are often urged to weigh issues of security and freedom. In examining the position in the United Kingdom or a country of your choice, judge whether the correct balance has been struck, and recommend changes that you would make.
Freedom of the internet and the security are two delicate issue to balance. As we have discussed last week internet is a connection of networks and does not belong to any organization or country. It belongs to us and free to use it. Even United Nations declared use of internet as a basic human right in 2012.
On the other hand we have issues related with internet security on nation or country level. On June 2010 a virus called stuxnet was discovered. This was a virus with specific target and aim which was to harm only Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition system of Iran’s nuclear program. Rumor was this virus created by US and Israel. Terrorist groups and other countries may have prepared such attacks in the past that we still unaware or unheard of. Countries and government websites were attacked by internet based organizations like Anonymous or Redhack. They support the idea of free and uncensored internet. Redhack, a Turkish activist group, attacked websites of Turkish Telecom, Police forces, Turkish Army, Higher Education, National Intelligence organization and as a result of these activities Turkish govt shut down all the communication channels of Redhack such as twitter, facebook and even open a public lawsuit against them. Funny to mention that they gov’t still do not know the names of the individuals in Redhack. In year 2008 again Turkish govt shut down YouTube because of inappropriate videos uploaded about the founder of Turkey Ataturk for 2,5 years. Freedom is sacrificed one more time. Turkish govt accepted these freedom movements as activities against security of the nation. This is not the only one. For example, as we all know that internet is heavily banned in China, Iran, Burma, North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Security of the country or the regime has the first priority in these countries. Freedom of the users replaced by the security concerns.
Some companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft formed Global Network Initiative (GNI) to limit the amount of data shared with these governments. We can see the same kind of patterns in western countries as. Such as UK Govt is planning to tap all the mail, phone traffic because of terror thread and the nation does not really like the idea. Copyright violation and piracy is another problem to probably affecting many countries. Every country has different solutions to the problem. For example French Gov’t tried reducing the online piracy by “3 Strikes” law. In the first wave 1.15 million warned, 102,854 on the second run this reduced to 340 on the last warning. Founders of the Pirate Bay jailed by Swedish Govt for illegal file sharing and the court prohibited the site.
In conclusion, less developed countries seems like place the security in front of the line and any activity violates the nation and its security is banned. As a result user rights and freedom is censored. But in more developed countries freedom and human rights are more concerned and laws and regulations developed accordingly.
References:
1- Stuxnet,(2013) (online) Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet [Accessed: 10 May 2013]
2- RedHack,(2013) (online) Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RedHack [Accessed: 10 May 2013]
3- James Ball, (2012) Internet freedom ‘under threat from hasty legislation in UK and US’ (online) Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/may/01/internet-freedom-threat-hasty-legislation [Accessed: 10 May 2013]
4- Rosalia Marshall, (2009) Weighing the issue of internet freedom (online) Available at: http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/opinion/1858001/weighing-issue-internet-freedom [Accessed: 10 May 2013]

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