Legal Battles Over The Internet And Why They’re Misguided
It wasn’t long ago that protests over SOPA and PIPA shut down some of the most important sites on the Internet. While this was – sometimes with a bit of amusement on the part of writers– described as the first time Internet users made it apparent that they control the Internet as opposed to the government or corporations controlling the Internet, it also demonstrated another important aspect of the Internet. When it comes right down to it, governments and corporations have exhibited a disturbing lack of understanding of how the Internet even works.
The goal of laws such as SOPA and PIPA and other laws that actually were enacted in some European countries is to block out certain websites to Internet surfers. This raises a lot of disturbing questions that are not unlike the questions raised by people who lobby to ban books. Who decides what gets blocked? Do the people blocking the site even really know what’s on it? How effective is blocking a site, anyway? Unfortunately, these questions are seldom asked and, when they are, the answers given are sometimes downright silly.
You Can’t Block a Site
Blocking out an Internet site could work if everybody agreed to surf without any sort of encryption on their Internet activity. Understand that removing the option to encrypt Internet activity would completely cripple eCommerce, Internet banking, secure e-mail access, secure remote corporate network access and myriad other useful – even vital – forms of Internet access. It would also eliminate the means that private citizens use to enjoy private Internet surfing for wholly legitimate reasons.
Of course, according to the entertainment industry and sympathetic government officials, certain protocols are only used for Internet piracy. Bit torrent trackers, for example, are among the most effective means used to download large amounts of information on a peer-to-peer basis. They’re used to download video game patches, open source software, open source books and many other types of information. Yes, they are sometimes used to download pirated copies of copyright protected materials. Then again, highways are also used by bank robbers to get away from law enforcement.
All of this aside, the fact remains that it is much more difficult than entertainment industry lobbyists and government officials seem to understand to block an Internet site. To understand just how difficult it is, consider nations that actually have national firewalls in place, such as China, the United Arab Emirates and many other Middle Eastern nations.
Privacy, Freedom and Firewalls
In many nations, the debate over Internet privacy is settled before it starts. In such nations, the government has the absolute right to restrict any and all information they wish to restrict. In these nations, activists, dissidents and everyday people commonly use VPN encryption to allow them to penetrate the national firewall. Over and over again, it works. With enough money to afford a very small monthly payment and the ability to install a piece of software, all of the efforts of these governments can be defeated with the click of a button.
Part of what makes the Internet work as well as it does is the fact that, between a profit motive and simple altruism, people are driven to constantly improve what it offers and how accessible it is. VPN providers have a product that was once almost exclusively used by corporations and governments to keep sensitive transmissions secure but, a bit ironically, that technology is now being used to keep Internet browsing private from corporate and government intrusion for everyday consumers.
While new efforts are always being undertaken to restrict the level of privacy that users enjoy on the Internet, technologies such as VPN encryption and others ensure that privacy is always attainable, oftentimes for a very affordable price.
Michael Maxstead is a big fan of VPN and provides in depth information and reviews on hiding your IP address and getting around geographical restrictions. Visit VPNReviewz.com for more information on how to use VPN and choose the right service for you.