Criminal-censorship or criminal censorship? China’s Golden Shield Project is regarded as the world’s most influential system of censorship and surveillance, right alongside Google. With a broad blanket statement stating that “Individuals are prohibited from using the Internet to: harm national security; disclose state secrets; or injure the interests of the state or society,” the People’s Republic of China is able to block any information going in or coming out of the country subjectively as they deem fit.
Censored content in china can be categorized into a few general groups: sites belonging to outlawed groups, sites related to religious or pornographic content, sites related to hostile media/governments, sites that encourage criminal activity, and blogging sites. This model of censorship is being considered by countries globally in different form to deconstruct forms of terrorism and dissent. Already in the United States there is extensive internet and phone surveillance by the government in place to filter content for national security threats. Everyone can agree that surveillance and even censorship of criminal sites for the purpose of security is beneficial to all, which is why people have allowed governments to control their media. However, there is an ambiguous line between censorship of criminal motive, and the censorship of free information once sites start being de-listed from the internet.
In dozens of countries, governments have directly worked to block certain information from public view on sites such as Google. For example: in the United Kingdom, Google de-listed a website for Inquisition 21st Century, due to a campaign by law enforcement agencies in the US and the UK to suppress information on major police malpractice in Operation Ore. The ability for governmental agencies to influence Google to censor or completely de-list certain cites is quite concerning, as it does not seem to require motive towards national safety against terrorism or outside threats. Even in the United States, Google has been accused of manipulating search algorithms in 2017 to systematically suppress certain left-wing democratic socialist websites. Some of these sites would receive only a few hundred visitors from Google’s search engine, but tens of thousands from link sharing, which was a drastic decrease in search results from the previous year by more than 55%.
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