The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Should the government censor the Internet to prevent Internet crimes?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/15/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,139 times Debate No: 36702
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




In my opinion, the government should censor the Internet to prevent Internet crimes.
Some children are exposed to violent and indecent sites or scenes on the Internet. There should be some limits like blokcing sites or suff like that.
Also, there are instructions on how to build bombs and how to make drugs online. To prevent any problems, the government should censor and delete those instructions.


I want to thank PRO for instigating this discussion; censorship is a topic that stirs me a great deal.

Although I will develop and present my full argument in the next round, I should ask to clarify a few positions at the outset. If any of these assertions are in error, I invite PRO to correct me. I will consider the following areas of discussion important to the debate otherwise.

I understand PROs argument to be:
P1: Governments should limit the free flow of ideas, debate, and speech in order to prevent crime
P2: In some cases, crime should be punished (by censorship) before it occurs
P3: Children should be victimized by law before they are able to be victimized by crime, by restrictions on what they may learn, and limits to what they may ask and what opinion they may hold

Clearly, PRO does not acknowledge the damage that can be caused by censorship, or that it represents a form of restraint. Further, since censorship is postulated as a harmful response to crime, it necessarily is being discussed here as a deterrent punishment for a crime. As such, the parties being punished (by having their access to information and ideas restricted) is not only being punished before being found guilty of illicit sexual, drug or violent behavior, but these parties are being punished before even committing the act in the first place.

How can the grassfire of protective internet censorship be contained? It seems likely that many groups will want to control what we see and hear or read or learn. How can these groups be prevented from causing even more restrictions?

There is an obvious conflict of interest involved whenever any government begins controlling what is spoken, learned, read or heard. It seems very likely that the state censoring authority would also seek to expand its grip on power by controlling public discourse. Isn't it reasonable to avoid such conflicts of interest?

Many governments and political parties are held in office thanks to donations made to them by commercial interests. These commercial interests must advertise in order to remain profitable. How could we ensure that these advertisers are not using censorship laws to their financial benefit?
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for Con's insight.

Isn't it good that censoring harmful websites like making bombs and drugs is helpful to remove any possibilities of potential criminals approaching those websites in the first place? I think that is more beneficial than restricting freedom of access to those contents.

Also, it is an absolute dictatorship to make government's censoring as a law without people's consent, which only agree adapting it when there is a pledge that the government would not use it to expand its power by using it. In consideration of it, governments would not use censorship laws to expand its power or financial benefit.


Communication is an integral part of the human condition. We expand our wisdom, understanding and knowledge through communication. We learn to love and respect one another primarily through our ability to communicate our needs and wants out into the larger world.

We have a primal need to communicate our humanity to others, making free speech and expression inalienable rights shared by all people. Inalienable rights can never be taken away; they can only be punished when they are inevitably exercised. Allowing governments to punish its citizens for practicing such human rights permits that government to punish its citizens for being human.

The Internet does one thing; it allows people to communicate. The government censor’s computer has only one button: delete. As more and more communication is done online, access to unrestricted Internet communication should be considered a human right – since human communication itself is a human right, regardless of what medium it occurs on.

A state that is given warrant to ‘allow’ rights also enjoys the ability to deny them – through either incompetence or villainy. Allowing government control of speech, even in cases of extreme speech, allows government control of human rights. This cannot be tolerated if one holds to the principle that government obtains its sanction to govern from the people themselves.

Government by the people, for the people should only be santioned to protect the rights of its citizenry – never to ‘allow’ their exercise. A parent that feeds her child is a good parent. A parent who ‘allows’ her child to eat is not.

Why Internet Censorship Doesn’t Work, unless the Censorship is Large-Scale

The very nature of the Internet and the World Wide Web makes individual, case-specific censorship impossible. In the long run, it is impossible for any government to censor the internet without shutting it all down.

The internet was designed initially in the United States in the 1960’s as a means to create “fault-tolerant” communications systems for the American military. [1] It was developed as a “self-healing” system that would respond to communications disruptions as “damage” that would be instantly circumnavigated.

This was done by linking computers directly to one another via specially designed, standardized systems. This interconnection allows the millions of networked computers to work together as individual neurons in a larger brain, multiplying manifold the computing power of the individual components. The World Wide Web (which is not the Internet) allows documents, images and other computer data to become accessible from one computer to the next.

This creates a “Scale Free” system that cannot be easily censored or disrupted by governing agencies.

In order to censor a particular website, a government such as Iran or Pakistan or Kansas, would need the legal ability to order the owner of a particular computer or document to comply with the censorship. Obviously, this is often impractical; a Turkish politician cannot easily demand that an American or British resident obey Turkish laws.

Instead, governments who want to censor the Internet must block an entire IP (Internet Protocol) address. For example, rather than killing a particular YouTube video, the nation of Pakistan was recently required to black out the entire YouTube site. [2] To make censorship even more difficult, attempting to block a particular IP Address can often result in new IP Addresses being created to replace the old ones, making continuing censorship time consuming and ultimately futile.

Another method by which governments may censor the Internet is to route the entire Internet access capabilities of a nation through a state-controlled bottleneck. This has been done in police states such as Syria, Iran and China, and allows these totalitarian regimes to control much of the flow of information in these regions. It does not isolate this control to only those sites that offend the state; in order for the system to work, all internet content must be filtered, monitored or otherwise held to scrutiny. [2]

In other words, even banning small websites requires massive policing and censorship activities.

Allowing Human Rights Protects Safety Better Than Denying Human Rights

The interconnected nature of human rights, all based on the common denominator of the human condition, tends to support agents that are amenable to human safety and wellness.

The argument for censorship from safety is tempting, but cannot be surrendered to. Human communication will inevitably become contentious, profane or otherwise offensive – or it will not be diverse. However, given the opportunity, any community would respond to dangers by coordinating an effective response; which requires communication and debate.

Censorship removes, it does not add, to such debate. It requires silence and ignorance, and is the opposite of sharing and wisdom. Censoring the website of a bomb-maker will deny police access to important clues by which they can better learn the habits of the bomb-makers.

On the other hand, denying the freedom of discussion harms the population more than the bomb-maker, because it enforces ignorance among that community; rendering that community innocent of the dangers presented by the bomber. An ignorant, censored community allows the bomb-maker to do his work in secret.

The Argument Against Censorship

The case against censorship must always include the case for human rights themselves – since humanity is required by its nature to communicate with one another. While the rare misuse of communication exists…fraud, threats, libel and the like, there are many more compelling reasons to strictly curtail how our liberties can be denied us.

The argument that “our freedoms make us unsafe” is not the slogan of a free society. More freedom allows a more permanent degree of safety than oppression. Allowing oppression to be visited upon a citizenry requires imposing a level of public vulnerability that is far more dangerous to the masses than a lone bomb-maker in a dark basement. There is no way to limit speech and expression that is not oppressive.

Moreover, the Internet specifically cannot possibly be censored over time without complete government control.


Debate Round No. 2


jane_eyre forfeited this round.


I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF and obvious reasons