Internet censorship is suppression of content available online which poses the threat of any nature socially, politically or religiously. Manipulation and misinterpretations are remarkably common when it comes to internet community hence concerned authorities have to make sure what goes online isn’t affecting the society adversely.
Sites leading to internet censorship mainly consist of those promoting illegal content such as harassment, pornography, racial biasness, violation of ethical and moral values, wrongfully exploiting a religion and threatening to scathe a country’s sovereignty.
Websites containing malware and those auxiliary to malicious activity are suspended in order to mitigate the inevitable damages.
Internet censorship is flexible and is used considering where it’s being used and the nature of the problem. At businesses and firms employees are required to avoid unnecessary communication or indulge in viewing inappropriate content, at school kids aren’t allowed the use social media hence it is made sure respective content is suppressed as to make employees at a firm and students at a school perform to their optimum.
Governments censorship is usually for political and social reasons, one of the greatest examples is “The Great Firewall of China” which is an advanced internet censorship tool enforced by the government of China to regulate the internet domestically. The project is an ideology of Deng Xiaoping’s favorite saying “If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in too”. The role of the Great Firewall of China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic. This includes the blockage of foreign websites like Google, Gmail, Yahoo and mobile applications not belonging to Chinese origin. The firewall project has disabled people of China to browse the internet and China have worst ranking when it comes to internet freedom.
Right of Internet Censorship
The right to implement measures to stop unwanted activity is exclusive to agencies allocated by the concerned government or the local service providers. The exclusivity of rights ensures that only necessary blockage is done and censorship of the internet is not abused. Corporations do enjoy the right to censorship but it is limited to their local servers hence outside their firm they have no jurisdiction.
How an Internet Censorship Works?
There is an array of ways to implement censorship e.g. Domain Name System filtration commonly known as DNS filtration, over and under blocking but the most widely used methods are IP blocking and URL filtering.
IP Blocking – IPs which are subject to malicious activity or support inappropriate content are suspended making sure no website is able to operate via the infected IP.
URL Filtering – Domains are blocked or suspended to ensure any pernicious content is unavailable for viewing.
Bypass Internet Censorship
Bypass of internet censorship refers to the techniques a user selects to gain access to the censored content.
Use of VPN
Now one of the methods to bypass the internet censorship is the use of VPN, a Virtual Private Network is used to end the censorship and blocking of sites, granting the users full access to them. All you have to do is connect to a VPN server and before you know it, all curtains on censored content are raised.
All VPN protocols utilize unique ports. A simple and effective way to block off VPNs is the use of a firewall which acts as a deterrent to VPN usage. One of the most common ways to stop VPN is DPI and IP suspension of known VPN servers.
Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
DPI is an advanced method of examining and managing network traffic. DPI performs as a firewall, it functions at the application layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model.
DPI is mainly used as network security tool, blocking viruses and malicious traffic while also assisting in drastically increasing organic traffic.
Blocking IPs of known VPN Servers
The most common method of preventing VPN use is to discover IP addresses of VPN servers and then block access to them.
But in a populous country like China many people use VPN to get access to foreign sites, this allows the existence of massive VPN networks and hence it is almost impossible for organizations to block all of them. So, smaller and not so famous VPN services are safe for the users to access.
Simple Solutions for VPN blocks
Some VPN services such as FastestVPN uses DNS (Domain Name System) routing method. When you use a VPN service, the DNS request is routed through the VPN tunnel to your VPN provider’s DNS servers rather than those of your ISP. This allows you to connect to services such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, even when you are not present in US or UK.
Change Port Numbers
Many custom VPN clients allow you to change the port they use. This is a suitable alternative to counter port blocking. The two most popular choices of the port are:
TCP Port 80 – this is the port used by all unencrypted internet traffic. In other words, it is the port used by HTTP. Blocking this port effectively blocks the internet, and is therefore almost never done. The downside is that even the most primitive DPI techniques will spot VPN traffic using this port.
TCP Port 443 – this is the port used by HTTPS, the encrypted protocol that secures all sensitive websites. Without HTTPS no form of online commerce, such as shopping or banking, would be possible. It is therefore very rare for this port to be blocked.
Another option is to use the SSTP protocol (if available), which uses TCP port 443 by default.
Net Neutrality is the internet’s administrative principle: It preserves our right to communicate without any hindrance and ensure our right to freedom is intact.
ISPs are supposed to provide us with all available networks – and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any content that is accessible on those networks. When you call someone your phone service provider is not concerned to whom you talk and regarding what matter you have the discussion the same philosophy applies to ISPs they are not supposed to control what we do online.
Without the presence of net neutrality the digital world, we are so proud of won’t exist. ISPs would be free to operate as they wish, from hindering their competition to blocking content which they find unfit hence exploiting the online world to its very end.
Advantages of Internet Censorship
- Internet Censorship ensures a country’s sovereignty is not harmed.
- Internet Censorship protects people from watching inappropriate content which is likely to give birth to wrongful manipulation.
- Internet Censorship is vital when it comes to avoiding viruses and stopping hacking maneuvers.
- Internet Censorship guides against spamming which is a massive challenge in this digital age.
Disadvantages of Internet Censorship
- Internet Censorship limits the freedom of speech.
- Internet Censorship violates the fundamental human rights.
- Internet Censorship limits people’s potential to access information that may facilitate development in their lives.
- Some countries have the audacity to abuse the power of censorship and exploit their people by unlawfully using it.
- Internet Censorship limits a society’s ability to advance in its understanding of the world.
- People remain unaware of the current affairs and what is happening globally.
- Believe in local channels increases significantly giving rise to juvenile thinking and depriving people of having their own point of view.
- I firmly believe that is of paramount importance that internet giants and regulatory authorities find mutual ground and ensure that power of censorship is used modestly.
- It’s time to develop more comprehensive and improved security techniques to make internet available in a protected environment.
- Content which targets a particular race, religion or country should be strictly monitored.
- Sensitive matters should not be discussed in open forums as it might instigate violence.
- With appropriate use of censorship, it can be made certain that internet pros outweigh its cons.