Digital freedom should not be overlooked

Robbie Denhoff Columnist

With election time approaching, the topic of internet censorship has failed to be a large part of the presidential candidate campaigns. The internet is a crucial part of society today. It informs and educates citizens about current issues that politically influenced news media outlets either turn into stretched and/or warped propaganda or are blatantly ignored. Yes, not all of the material on the internet portraying violence or explicit information should be allowed to be viewed in schools or other public venues, but such information shouldn’t be censored completely from the public eye.

The world-wide web is without a doubt the largest source of all information on the planet. Governments with this in mind should not be halting the information to the people, but defending the freedoms on the net to allow its people to grow and mature.

Maturity has never been gained from an individual or a society by hiding the dark, cruel truth of the world. It can only be realized by witnessing it yourself.

Currently, organizations like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States are fighting for an open internet and have been successful for the most part. Yet, organizations like Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are fighting for internet censorship increasing the benefits of the few like business exploiters, Hollywood bigwigs and those in the music industry. SOPA’s last legislation against the internet freedoms was nearly three years ago and those who failed can be expected to attempt another time.

The internet is our unregulated exposure to the rest of the world. If the right to view information from the outside world is taken from us, how long before we find ourselves in a similar situation as the Chinese and North Koreans, who are either very or completely isolated from the rest of the world? Or how different would that really make the United States from them?

Our rights and freedoms can be easily lost and very difficult to regain. The internet is a tool for all people, not just the one percent that we work for.

Robbie Denhoff is a mechanical engineer here at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]