Is censorship sensible

Is censorship sensible

A lot has been said about Twitter’s announcement that it can now censor tweets on a country-by-country basis. There has been a LOT of talk about Twitter’s decision to ‘censor’ and bow down to oppressive regimes.

Twitter’s new policy now enables the company to block tweets or users on a country-by-country basis. Earlier, tweets had to be blocked/removed globally and no one could have seen them across the world. But, now Twitter can remove tweets in a particular country, but allow the rest of the world to see it.

The prevailing guidelines have always asked international users to comply with the law of the land in reference to acceptable online content. Even in the past, Twitter has sometimes removed tweets that were judged “illegal” such as copyright violation and the like.

Twitter as an organization has on a lot of instances removed illegal content at the request of governments.It’s debatable whether it is the right thing to do but I think if used wisely and not for political purposes it would probably not be such a bad thing.

Also, pragmatically if Twitter were to not censor or remove illegal content then it runs the risk of governments blocking them for everyone in that country.

Similarly, Google’s Blogger will begin redirecting users to country-specific domain names — like Google.au in Australia instead of Google.com — to avoid removing content globally. Readers will be redirected to sites with their own country’s domain name when they try to visit blogs deemed as foreign, as recognized by their IP addresses.

Google, however, also allows users to use a special No Country Redirect (NCR) URL, when visiting a specific-country’s blog domain. Blog readers may request a specific country version of the Blogspot content by entering a specially formatted “NCR” or “No country Redirect” URL. For example: http://[blogname].blogspot.com/ncr – will always go to the U.S. English blog.

This special URL creates a cookie that will prevent geo-based redirection from the requested domain.

I think the key is what kind of requests Twitter or Google agree to censor. If it’s only illegal, highly offensive or inflammatory content then I think it’s a step in the right direction but if it would be used by the political fraternity or governments to suit their agendas then it is extremely dangerous.

I think most people are fearing the former and hence, the outcry over this new policy.

What do YOU think about censorship on the web?