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Internet censorship

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Internet[2] censorship refers to the legal control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the internet. It varies greatly by country and can target specific domains. This is achieved through technical methods like IP address[1] blocking, DNS filtering, URL[3] filtering, packet filtering, and the use of blacklists. While some people support it for ethical reasons, others oppose it due to concerns about freedom of speech and human rights. Internet censorship can have a significant impact on freedom of expression and access to information. However, there are various techniques, such as VPNs, proxies, and encrypted communication, that users can employ to bypass it. It’s important to note that views on censorship continue to evolve with technological advancements.

Terms definitions
1. IP address ( IP address ) An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to each device connected to a network, enabling data to be sent and received accurately. It functions like a street address for the internet, marking the specific location of a device within a network. There are two versions of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4, the older version, has 32-bit addresses, while IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, offering a significantly larger number of possible addresses. IP addresses can be public or private, with private ones used within a local network and public ones used on the internet. Other key aspects include subnetting for routing efficiency, autoconfiguration for dynamic assignment, and potential conflicts from multiple assignment methods. IP addresses also play a significant role in routing and geolocation, determining the geographic position of devices. There are legal and regulatory aspects to consider, due to privacy concerns, and they are crucial in network configuration and troubleshooting.
2. Internet ( Internet ) The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use standardized communication protocols, primarily the TCP/IP, to link devices worldwide. Originating from the term 'internetted' used in 1849, the term 'Internet' was later used by the US War Department in 1945. Its development began with computer scientists creating time-sharing systems in the 1960s and further progressed with the establishment of ARPANET in 1969. The Internet is self-governed, without a central authority, and its principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It has significantly transformed traditional communication media and has grown exponentially over the years, with internet users increasing 20% to 50% annually. In 2019, over half of the world population used the Internet. The Internet protocol suite, which includes TCP/IP and four conceptual layers, guides internet packets to their destinations. Essential services like email and Internet telephony operate on the Internet. The World Wide Web, a global collection of interconnected documents, is a key component of the Internet.

Internet censorship is the legal control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. Censorship is most often applied to specific internet domains (such as, Wikipedia.org) but exceptionally may extend to all Internet resources located outside the jurisdiction of the censoring state. Internet censorship may also put restrictions on what information can be made internet accessible. Organizations providing internet access – such as schools and libraries – may choose to preclude access to material that they consider undesirable, offensive, age-inappropriate or even illegal, and regard this as ethical behavior rather than censorship. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship of material they publish, for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, political views, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.

The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While some countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress and silence discussion among citizens. Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other types of censorship include the use of copyrights, defamation, harassment, and various obscene material claims as a way to deliberately suppress content.

Support for and opposition to Internet censorship also varies. In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet". In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet". Perception of internet censorship in the US is largely based on the First Amendment and the right for expansive free speech and access to content without regard to the consequences. According to GlobalWebIndex, over 400 million people use virtual private networks to circumvent censorship or for increased user privacy.

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