Chinese President Xi Jinping has deemed it necessary to withhold full free access to the Internet. This filtration is due in part to blocking outside influences as well as Chinas’ public image. The government it self-has said these measures will bolster “positive propaganda” for the country but it’s the people who suffer from these restrictions.
Global Information Sharing
Tim Berners-Lee created the Internet in 1989 to be implemented as a tool to be utilized for sharing information globally. Today most of us are blessed to be able to access information instantly with a few types on the keyboard. Knowledge is power, and when you hinder the ability to grow you created a stagnated society.
In the current information age, there are many countries that have decided to engage in Internet censorship. Among these countries are Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and others. China is second only to North Korea in the suppression of Internet access.
Currently, China blocks apps, social media platforms, search engines and user-created videos such as:
Enter Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
A Virtual private network protects your privacy while you’re on the Internet by hiding activity from your Internet service provider (ISP) as well as advertisers and websites. It also protects you while you’re on public wifi with military level encryption.
The anonymity offered by VPNs didn’t sit well with China who responded by threatening its people. They have begun to focus on terminating illegal Internet use and warn that they will punish those found guilty with heavy fines of up to 1 million yuan (about $150,000) as well criminal punishment. They have implemented a new cybersecurity law that homegrown and foreign internet companies must adhere to. Among these laws are censorship, registration of usernames and even support with government surveillance of its users. What options do the Chinese citizens (especially Bloggers and journalists) have now you might wonder?
Freedom of Speech Is A Human Right
As people opened their eyes and ears to the hash-tag #MeToo that caught fire it blazed into a global outcry and movement. In China, it stirred up an old case that made a lot of people inquisitive. In 1998, while attending Peking University a professor attacked and sexually violated student Gao Yan. The traumatic experience cause Gao Yan to take her own life. The university tried to cover up and protect the professor who remained on staff for years after the sexual assault.
The Light of Truth Prevails
In April of these years, a group of eight students attempted to access Gao Yan’s school records to no avail. When the university refused to comply with their request a friend of Yan took her story to the public via the Internet. They were promptly shut down as the article was removed from any and every site and app it appeared on. Some university faculty and authorities began to bully the group of students.
The letter written by Yue Xin made it to the Internet via an open-source protected Ethereum blockchain. An anonymous supporter of the group’s efforts made sure that the truth of Gao Yan’s story was told and made public record.
Blockchain: What Is It And How Can It Help?
Simply Blockchain is a network of computers that are similar to a huge accounting system. It utilizes cryptography for the method for global trading and most importantly bypassing middlemen like trading companies (eBay and Amazon) and even financial institutions (banks and Paypal). It is the main technology at the core of Bitcoin. One of the many benefits of Blockchain transactions is that they are irreversible. Those of us who are privileged to live in a censor-free world need to utilize our voices.
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