Once upon a time, the world was made up of many, many communities with different opinions about free speech. Some allowed it, some prohibited it, and some operated in vast gray areas depending on their particular dictionaries defined as freedom of speech. It only mattered what a country’s constitution said about free speech and most of them had something that ended up being somewhere in the middle regarding free speech. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that it became apparent that there would be something that could take the world’s different ideas of free speech and make them all into one basic definition and one basic idea.
That was the internet. The internet was this broad land where anyone could go and post just about anything. There wasn’t anything too much for the internet – as things got more complex, sites just got bigger and more able to handle large amounts of information. Everything got bigger. At last count, there were millions of websites and domain names. Everyone wanted in on the action.
Especially the companies that decided to log on to the internet as well. Remember all of them, vying for places to be and domain names, thinking they would hit it rich and make the big time just by being online? It just so happened that many businesses made it online... and a lot more that did not. When it came right down to it, selling things online was simply another way of selling, and in the selling world, some things work while others do not. However, the internet ended up being about much more than selling.
It was about having a place to speak and tell others what you thought. It becomes apparent that being online is like being on a huge sounding board that spreads worldwide. You could say anything, and there were no rules and regulations to censor you. Even on sites that had adult content, people were posting things, and people saw things. There was no way to control what went onto the internet, and there’s still no way to ensure certain things stay off it. It was a nightmare for a country that didn’t want its citizens to see anything. Before nations could log onto the internet, borders between countries meant so much more than they do now. Governments could set rules about the kinds of things allowed in their countries.
They could search people as they left and came into their countries, taking away things that were either not supposed to leave their homeland or not supposed to be brought in. Governments could control publishing houses and tell them what they could and could not put into books. Music, writing, and the arts could all be censoredbyo the government, and all it would take to enforce the censorship would be government police raiding homes. It was effortless for governments to censor what their citizens were allowed to see and what they were allowed to do. Some countries contained citizens who were not allowed to know anything about the rest of the world. When important things happened in these countries, the rest of the world wasn’t allowed to know about it. It was easy for governments to shut down radio and television links and cut phone lines.
Information could be trapped and kept in or out of a nation. For many years, you could see that the countries twithleaders who did not want any information about their country to get out were virtually shut off from the rest of the world. Then, the internet came to be. Sincee then, borders have been eliminated, much to the anger of the leaders of countries who do not want their citizens to see things they should not see. It has all changed drastically in the last 20 years. The internet has no country borders.
There is no way to restrict certain sites to be only viewable within a country and to prevent citizens of a country from having access to areas within another country. If someone has an internet connection, they can view any site. There is no way for a government to allow its citizens to consider one particular area over another unless they set up an internet of their own and don’t let their citizens connect to other internet sources. The thing about the internet is that no matter how hard someone tries to keep something off it, it is nearly impossible to do. There are even ways for people to get around sites that require passwords and other things to get on the site. Hackers have been logging in to view items for many years, which means that even if a company tries to make their sites into areaswithe restricted or limited viewing, it will be to no avail.
This posed a difficult problem for governments that wanted to establish rules and regulations about what their citizens could and could not know. Because it was nearly impossible to outlaw technology like computers and cell phones, it became impossible to deny the internet, much less restrict what citizens could find there and what they could learn about their country and the rest of the world.
This was very frustrating and disappointing to countries that want their citizens to have the technology but don’t want them to see things happening in the real world. Most of the concerns for governments in these countries lie in the fact that when a person logs on to the internet, not only can they access information that their government might not want them to see, but they can also access information about their government and news about their own country, that other countries are reporting. This becomes very dangerous for countries because many governments try to keep things from their citizens, but these things are impossible for the rest of the world not to notice. When something happens in a particular country, it might not report it to its citizens, but the rest of the world will surely see it and talk about it. You will find that news, especially about major operations in different countries, readily available online. This becomes the norm for people trying to look up information about the country they live in; they will find it out from news sources outside of their country.