You know your internet censorship plans are too strict when China praises you for it.
I’ll say this right off the bat, if someone told me one month ago that I would end up writing a headline like that, I would have told them they were insane. I am simply stunned that it has come to this.
Last Thursday, British Prime Minister said that he wanted to “stop people from communicating on social media” whenever that person is using it to instigate violence. A growing majority of observers are interpret this as meaning that he wants to block social media websites altogether whenever civil unrest is suspected.
Blocking social media has certainly caused some debate in many places – especially in the UK. The discussions around possibly censoring the internet has received international attention. This includes China. Chinese state media website Global Times weighed in on the debate suggesting that “Western” countries are coming to realize that free speech cannot go unhindered on the internet. From the report:
The British Government’s wariness of the Internet and Blackberry Messenger – symbols of freedom of speech – is a forced reaction, which might upset the Western world. Meanwhile, the open discussion of containment of the Internet in Britain has given rise to a new opportunity for the whole world. Media in the US and Britain used to criticize developing countries for curbing freedom of speech. Britain’s new attitude will help appease the quarrels between East and West over the future management of the Internet.
As for China, advocates of an unlimited development of the Internet should think twice about their original ideas.
On the Internet, there is no lack of posts and articles that incite public violence. They will cause tremendous damage once they are tweeted without control. At that time, all governments will have no other choice but to close down these websites and arrest those agitators.
Turbulence must lead to self-examination, otherwise it’ll lead to great peril in one’s destiny.
If you think that David Cameron is trying to censor the internet and that there is no difference between his policy and China’s policy, then this will no doubt pretty much cement that opinion. If you think that David Cameron should be censoring the internet, I think, for some, this revelation will make your position a little more uncomfortable.
I think that David Cameron should think very carefully how he plans on going forward on his plans to prevent rioting. On the one hand, the move to crack down on rioters will receive little resistance. On the other hand, trying to control the internet in any way is an extremely slippery slope with respect to free speech.