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From a small network of people into an interconnection of the international community, the interest is the world’s largest network of people. Also known the World Wide Web, the internet has over 3 billion users that have access to it not just for communication but spread of information. With the advancement in technology, the increased accessibility to the internet presents many opportunities in addition to the ability to share information globally instantaneously. Similarly, it also poses greater risks to humanity such as the spread of hate speech and extremism.
As the internet continues to grow, it has become the main foundational infrastructure used in the creation, transmission, and storage of data. With numerous websites now allowing the streaming of content such as YouTube and Vimeo, individuals can broadcast their content live or upload it giving any time access to viewers. However, this has also let other individuals misuse the internet to stream and distribute content without authorization from the content developer.
Browsing is now a major pastime on the internet, however, by definition it is also an act of infringement on the artist right through public display or performance. By uploading pictures to websites, which are publicly accessible, one is in violation of the owner’s right to copy and distribute their copyrighted material. Clearly, traditional copyright laws were for the protection of materials in tangible form, therefore, protection in the digital world needs improving.
The use of the internet in such a free manner is due to the freedom of speech. In 1995, the Communication Decency Act (CDA) was meant to censor free speech that resembled broadcast televisions (EFF, n.d). The aim of this was protecting the children from seeing adult content. The bill, however, underwent modification because it was a direct violation of the First amendment but a small clause was left for the protection of web hosts. Section 230 offers protection to web hosts deeming them not responsible for the posts of third party individuals (EFF, n.d). This means that the website is not responsible for the actions and posts of the user but themselves. If the user is out of line, they face the wrath of the law.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
The media conglomerate Viacom filed a lawsuit against Google and its affiliate YouTube over copyright issues. Seeking $1 billion in damages, the company claimed YouTube committed massive copyright infringement by uploading 160,000 copyrighted videos (Kafka, 2014). However, the judge ruled in favor of YouTube twice because of the provision of Section 230.
Currently, the sharing of music, movies, and software if the most flagrant act of copyright violation. In the United States, owners of these contents are pursuing legal action against individuals found sharing it (WSU, 2018). However, there are ways of deterring and preventing piracy. The most important method of protection is adding watermarks, hiding information in recordings (Arts Law Center of Australia, 2018). Hiding information allows you track individuals participating in piracy with the help of internet service providers (ISPs). Moreover, low-quality samples should be upload rather than high-quality ones forcing individuals to buy the high-quality content on sale.
Another issue with this opportunity is increased censorship and interference with individual rights. President Trump recently passed a bill known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) incorporated with the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Traffic (FOSTA) (Blue, 2018). The design of the law is to target and hold accountable individuals responsible for posting or discussing anything pertaining sex work. No sooner than the announcement was broadcast, than content on the same began being erased systematically from the web leaving scores unprotected especially victims.
Despite the good intentions of the government with the bill, it passed without proper screening. Unlike its predecessor, the CDA bill, the FOSTA bill categorizes sex work and sex trafficking as the same thing (Blue, 2018). This is counterintuitive and hinders the work of protecting sex trafficking victims anyone found discussing the topic is accountable for their statement. However, such forums and private chat rooms enable law enforcement to follow potential sources to track and capture traffickers while rescuing victims of the same.
Legislatures clearly failed to conduct necessary fact-finding, investigating the pious neocons driving force in the support of the bill, but most of all they did not consider the public’s opinion in their decision-making process. Despite their intention of passing the bill as an anti-trafficking act, its target is sex. By removing provisions capped in Section 230 of CDA, it renders service providers answerable for hosting mature content and sex trafficking (Blue, 2018). It vaguely differentiates the two claiming that they are similar in definition thus blurring the line of reality between the two. Due diligence made them overlook the fact that most trafficking victims end up in labor rather than sex work.
Sites are moving to comply with the new law by removing content related to sex work else face the consequences. Actions like this are countering efforts made in protection of sex workers since websites such as Craigslist’s and Reddit’s erotic services provided safety on the job (Blue, 2018). Google is doing the same with content uploaded on to its cloud servers. In doing so the government not only infringed the First Amendment but negatively affected the livelihood of many individuals.
The internet is also a network of individuals that allows communication through social media among other platforms. As a result, it is easy to upload information and have it reach a greater amount of people in a short time of time in this digital era. This has allowed the people of the world relate and expose each other to their diverse cultures. However, individuals are misusing their access to the internet to spread hate speech moreover fuel extremism.
Hate speech on the internet is evident, especially on social media. These new digital platforms offer individuals the opportunity to share their thoughts with the rest of the world. Despite ones, freedom of opinion and expression, instances of people with similar biases towards a different group come together to discuss old and new ideas on their originals biases (Sambuli, 2017). The speech then becomes ‘dangerous’ when one’s expression is likely to increase the possibility of violence towards the group being discussed,
However, the differences in the region have made Europe and the continental United States have a difference in tolerance towards self-expression, especially in terms of speech. Europeans, based on their history, believe that free speech is key but not paramount (Versteeg, 2017). They priorities other essential valuables such as human dignity, choosing to preserve peace by reducing the possibility of tension. The Second World War was the direct result of the spread of fascism that they failed to control. After the World War II, European countries adopted a policy of zero tolerance to speech meant to spread, justify, and incite animosity and hatred stemming from intolerance. By the time these countries recovered from the effects of the war, Germany was able to build one of the strongest democracies and ban parties using the swastikas while France banned the sale of the paraphernalia containing the insignia within its borders, even online. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In the United States, freedom of speech is cherished and the minimal interference of the government forces citizens to take up its responsibility. However, the events in Charlottesville may provide enlightenment to the citizens on the steps necessary to expose the decay in the country (Versteeg, 2017). Europeans believe it takes a single leader can help an idea take root fast especially if they endorse the idea. As a result, political correctness as seen through Trump who balances claims to be on the fence, however, keeps mentioning that the alternative right demonstrators contain some fine people (Versteeg, 2017). These are telltale signs of a possible collapse in social structure unless necessary steps taken to remedy the situation.
The Middle East suffers the same issue as Muslim extremists use the internet to recruit and spread their propaganda around the world. Using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube among other platforms to appeal to the young American youth with fear or risk of capture (Posner, 2015). They bestow the responsibility of recruiting others to the cause with the aim of generating income for the group (Maura, 2017). The money buys weapons and trains militants. As a result, the United States used the law to force social media to block propaganda. Records show that five Arab countries were responsible for 25 percent of the total Facebook users in 2011 proving that they have the access to disillusioned youth. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
In addition, there is also the problem of ISIS sympathizers who seek out ISIS out of curiosity and end up wooed gradually to join the cause. Individuals like these should be provided with graduated penalties to deter them from continuing (Posner, 2015). The first would be a warning letter from the monitoring authority after which, the subsequent violation would warrant a fine or jail time. With these measures, citizens will refrain from visiting websites. Moreover, applying it to other numerous sites such as trafficking and child pornography sites would be beneficial (Posner, 2015). As a result, increased monitoring of social sites is now a necessity in the gathering the necessary information that will prevent radicalization over social platforms as well as determining the country recruiters operate from (Maura, 2017). In reality, this would be an infringement on the First Amendment as it hinders the freedom of transmission of a political message.
One of the social media platforms implemented the idea in the Syria crisis. YouTube, in an effort to remove the videos of atrocities taking place in the warring country, they are moving evidence that will assist in the prosecution of future war crime tribunals. After a recent upgrade in the platform’s technology, selected videos and channels were automatically flagged as content that breached user policy (Browne, 2017). Initially, they relied on individual users who saw videos that were too gory for them, flagged them and YouTube took the video down. Groups that monitor these videos are at a loss as they feel vital information that would determine the potential outcome of cases that would be charged (Browne, 2017). The new system is completing analysis faster and executing removals as per guidelines.
YouTube’s justification for its actions is the new law that Germany passed regarding hate speech and potential triggers to radicalization. Under the new law, social media websites are under obligation to remove such videos under 24 hours. Failure to do so will result in a $57 million as a penalty (Toor, 2017). The new law called the Network Enforcement Act, dubbed as the “Facebook act,” ensures these platforms delete obviously illegal material, with the provision of a week for ambiguous videos. The Germany government even authorized 36 homes based on posts showing evidence of hateful content leading to the arrest of 60 more people in 2016 (Toor, 2017). Along with Sweden, Germany has also convicted participants in the Syrian and Iraqi engagement from similar evidence from these platforms despite their refusal to comment on the incidents.
Digital activists openly criticize the move by German authority based on the power given to tech companies to decide the lawfulness of content. They propose that all parties concerned: government, commerce, and civil society, should come together and develop a solution for the current efforts further increases the rift in society. The trend has caught on with other big companies led by Google and GoDaddy (Ulanoff, 2018). The two companies decided to remove the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer from their serves for having posted a detestable article in reference to Heather Heyer, the Charlottesville victim. In a show of solidarity, Cloudflare did the same by completely redirecting traffic to the site (Ulanoff, 2018). These companies among others demonstrated that it is possible to stand up against supremacists and their agenda preserving human dignity. Furthermore, their actions were justified because the Daily Stromer was in violations of the sites’ terms of service.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
However, the efficiency and effectiveness of this method are questionable. Because these sites received commendation for their action, would a complete sweep of the internet to rid it other sites like this recommended. Moreover, should the streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, join by doing away with motion pictures depicting racism? (Ulanoff, 2018) As normal internet trolls, individuals with fake accounts on social platforms mainly to be a nuisance removed neo-Nazi websites will only change servers emerging with ever more morale on their agenda. It may lead to a situation in which rhetoric is mistaken for hate and a new cascade of events will take place.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
The Internet is a dynamic environment that allows global interaction with people from different corners of the world. Its ability to transfer and store information allows numerous activities including businesses operate. However, individuals using it to propagate their own agenda continue to be a global nuisance leading to increased web surveillance in an era where freedoms highly valued. As different nations employ different approaches in monitoring and regulating such activities, more cooperation that is global is necessary in order to develop an effective mechanism of streamlining copyright laws. Moreover, necessary research in preventing radicalization over the internet is crucial in combatting extremism in the world despite infringement of our First Amendment.
Arts Law Center of Australia. “How do you protect your work on the internet?” Arts Law Center of Australia, 2018. Accessed 21 April 2018
Blue, Violet. “Congress Just Legalized Sex Censorship: What to Know.” Engadegt, 2018, Accessed 21 April 2018
Browne, Malachy. “YouTube Removes Videos Showing Atrocities in Syria.” New York Times, 2017Accessed 21 April 2018
EFF. “Section 230 Protection.” EFF. (n.d.), Accessed 21 April 2018
Kafka, Peter. “It’s Over! Viacom and Google Settle YouTube Lawsuit.” Recode, 2014, Accessed 21 April 2018
Maura, Conway. “Determining the Role of the Internet in Violent Extremism and Terrorism: Six Suggestions for Progressing Research.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 2017, Accessed 21 April 2018
Posner, Eric. “ISIS Give US no Choice but to Consider Limit on Speech.” Slate. 21 April 2018
Sambuli, Nanjira. “The Importance of Monitoring Online Hate Speech.” Deutsche Welle, 2018, Accessed 21 April 2018
Toor, Amar. “Germany passes controversial law to fine Facebook over hate speech.” The Verge, 2017, Accessed 21 April 2018
Ulanoff, Lance. “We’ve crossed the free speech Rubicon.” Mashable, 2018, Accessed 21 April 2018
WSU. “The Internet & copyright.” Washing State University, 2018, Accessed 21 April 2018
Versteeg, Mila. “What Europe Can Teach America About Free Speech?” The Atlantic, 2017, Accessed 21 April 2018