How Internet Censorship Affects Your Web Experience

2 min

The internet is not what it was 20 years ago. Back then, it was an open pasture with free access across websites regardless of where they were hosted. You could enter any web address into your browser and access it the same way someone else could in another country. The web was equal back then.

Today, studies show that almost all countries – developed nations included – enforce some kind of internet filtering on their citizens. It can be as bad as restricting access to specific content on a website or curtailing network access altogether. In the latter, the idea is to prohibit communication.

Government-actioned internet censorship is the worst form of web restriction that you can face. In our perspective, it eclipses the smaller types of censorship such as ISP restrictions and website-level censoring. However, they still affect your web experience in ways that go against the concept of open internet. In 2013, even the creator of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, criticized censorship and surveillance as concepts that limit freedom of opinion and association online.

In effect, all forms of internet censorship inhibit the way we enjoy the internet. Here’s a sneak peek into how bad the status quo is.

It Starts with Smaller Forms of Internet Censorship

Ever tapped on a video link sent to you by a friend only to land on the video page and see an error? It may turn out that the provider, the platform, or your country does not allow the playback of that specific video for you. Just because you are in a certain country. This is the most prevalent form of geographical censorship where platforms and countries curtail access to some content.

While some of these are related to copyright restrictions, in some other cases it’s tied to your government’s internet censorship policy. Although not being able to watch a video may seem like a petty hiccup, regular censorship of this kind can lead to a poor web experience.

Censorship can show itself in different ways. Like a website not loading because of IP restrictions, a streaming platform not supported in your country, or just some content not visible on a webpage. In the last case, you may not even know that you are experiencing censorship.

Government-Induced Censorship

Here’s an example of how government-sponsored censorship can affect your web experience. A netizen tries to access a certain payment site to transfer money to her relatives in another country. However, her government has directed all ISPs in the country to block that particular website among others for any reason. As a result, she has to rely on an alternative. That may not always be easy or even the same for everyone.

In certain countries today, internet censorship can get intense. Internet blackouts in entire areas for weeks are a good example. Such an instance can question even the fundamental rights (of communication) of citizens. 

Another form of censorship is gatekeeping, where countries create a careful virtual boundary for their netizens. This means that the citizens cannot access much of the global internet but have to stick to what their country offers. 

It’s common knowledge that internet censorship can be found in everyday web surfing. Governments, platform owners, and nexuses between different parties are responsible for this. The only way to tackle such censorship is by using a virtual private network.

While a VPN is not the perfect answer to tackle all kinds of censorship, it’s a great supportive tool. Want to try tuxlerVPN for your censorship woes? Click here.

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