Friday, August 7, 2009

Malaysia for Internet Censorship? Vain Move. 5 reasons why.

I read the Star article and Nasdaq this on Internet censorship. I think this is simply a vain move by our government. Why?

  1. Nobody should play God, especially when it comes to information and information disclosure! Who determines if one site is politically “compliant” and is not. Who determines if a particular site is “racial” or simply stating the obvious? Who determines if a particular site is “good” or “bad”? Those who decides, are they being objective?
  2. No technology in the world can avoid accessing sites if people wanted. China tried, but people still could go to those sites “banned” by the government. When i was in Beijing in 2005, they blocked access to certain sites. All i had to do was to get myself a public proxy residing outside China and i could access those “banned” sites (to name a few methods. See this link for VPN feature. VPN keeps everything within an encrypted tunnel, so no one sees anything. And other ways of course :). I will definitely blog a comprehensive list if this were to materialize. :P
  3. It will slow things down even more. Putting up filters will undoubtedly slow things down. In fact, any devices in between you and the host-you-access/server can potentially slow stuff down. Especially if filtering is at the application layer (in this particular censorship case). Not to forget, we already have a substandard internet!
  4. Nobody will be happy to know that now EVERYTHING they do is now potentially INTERCEPTED. Those blocking tools basically get headers and certain data from your internet transaction and “analyze” them against their policy for a ACK or NACK. So, YES, EVERYTHING IS PICKED UP.
  5. It will create unnecessary workload to start managing and maintaining sites that are to be blocked (sites bloom faster than fungi on soggy bread), managing the devices, managing the people managing the devices etc..

Instead, the powers at play should educate users, encourage and promote the use of the internet to users to be wise and decide how they would like to use this facility. Give them an option to opt for a censorship program if they like, through installing of a software etc. Promote healthy thinking. Build trust with the people but also, keep the law in tact. Enforcement of cyber laws is really in its infancy here. This should be the first move.

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