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Can Internet censorship of any particular content be justified under certain circumstances? Explain.

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow Walid Al-Saqaf

Walid is a Yemeni media researcher and activist. He is the developer of alkasir censorship circumvention software used to help users, primarily in the Middle East, access censored content.

This conversation will open at 1:00PM EST on August 5th.

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    Aug 5 2011: I think something needs to be brought in this discussion: I've always admired the internet for its capacity to "self-regulate".

    Again, the example of child pornography fits here. Of course it can be found online, and it will always be able to find it. But in my opinion, child pornographers stay in the "shadowy alleys" of the internet not only because of the fear for "real life" punishment, but also because the internet community doesn't see it as an acceptable practice.

    So is there really any point in putting a lot of effort to stop the spread of child pornography online? What I mean is I don't think it has any real effect. A child abuser or a child pornography appreciator will search for their sexual needs (and will probably find it) with or without the censorship.
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      Aug 5 2011: I think I get your point.

      In relation to that, I find that users in countries that filter Intenet porn end up finding ways to access it any way. There is a saying in Arabic that goes
      الممنوع مرغوب
      meaning what is prohibited is always desired.

      So I would think that along with the short-term measures of removing such content online, there needs to be a long-term program to fight such phenomena on different levels, e.g., prosecution, rehabilitation, etc. because censorship alone is not enough.
    • Aug 5 2011: That is an interesting take. It makes me wonder to what degree an organization like Anonymous is helping or hindering. The online community is technically the world at this point so why should anyone take the regulation of its' practices into their hands?

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