Challenge Match: vkey08 vs beezzer: Does the Internet need Censorship?

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posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 12:22 AM
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The topic for this debate is "Does the Internet need Censorship?” From porn sites to file sharing, copyright infringement to hacker attacks, the Internet has evolved into a versatile tool and also a computer user's worst nightmare with malware and spyware sneaking in from everywhere.

vkey08 will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
beezzer will be arguing the "Con" position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 08:00 AM
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Whew. What a day, but here I am.

The topic to be discussed is Internet Censorship, but what most people don't realize is that we have a fair amount of it already in place but you never really realize it. Why else would some have to utilize the TOR network?

I digress though and will be taking a deviation from Socratic questions and the like to just present some fun facts about the internet that you may not know, like the fact that you are censored 100% of the time already.

I will start out with this one question, how many times on ATS have you gone to participate in a thread only to have staff close it for some vague violation of the T&C's, maybe because some subject matter was discussed in it that they found objectionable... that's censorship, it's happening right here on our own site.. How many times have you searched for something on the internet and found it wasn't there when maybe you had sworn you saw it a week ago. That's censorship. How many lawsuits do we find from the RIAA and MPAA and now Google not allowing torrent sites to have listings that are "predominant" that's censorship. It's a part of our lives already, we don't really have to have anyone do anything, the mechanism is in place, and they use it. So why is it needed?

Censoring certain topics has always been a means of controlling the flow of information from one to another. On the internet it started under the guise of protecting children from child pornography, but this wasn't the real reason. It became very evident very quickly that in this new and exciting age of instant communication, if we went to war , or were about to go to war, the Internet could tip someone's plans off pretty quickly, and with real time reporting, news could reach home instantaneously, worrying others needlessly. So the United States Government put restrictions in place, you never see them, you don't know they are running but they are there.

Example: If you were to post even on some secret site, that you were going to take out the biggest ball of wax (using something benign as to not trip the software) and you were going to do it on April 10th, the software would pick that up and flag it for review, then they get into gear, protect the wax, and get you. Well hey guess what, they saved lived, reduced panic and all is well in the universe.

So here are the main reasons we need, nay should keep in place some semblance of censorship on the Internet.

1) Protection of minors form exploitation, always a good cause, and the net just makes it easier.
2) protection of the public from threats foreign and domestic, again who can argue this.
3) Protection of the population from life altering hoaxes, we have a big one going right now, get rid of it..
4) Protecting you, the public from, inane, and possibly dangerous material, that could potentially harm your lives.

Ok so here it is... We need a system of censoring sites that deal in the above... Especially threats to our young and our livelihood. There are plenty of non- censored sites out there to go to if you so desire, and it doesn't affect your freedom of speech one iota not to be able to threaten someone.

Question (and I will be tugging strings here) Do you think teenagers killing themsleves because they read a hoax online because they think it's real due to many talking about it, is something we should as a civilized society allow?

Question: Do you think that the free flow of information trumps the individuals need to be protected from harm by their government?



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 11:55 AM
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Thank you forum mod and my opponent for providing this debate.

Does the Internet need Censorship?
No.

Please let me explain. The internet is perhaps, the last bastion of freedom. Speech, films, books, have all suffered under the boot of censorship. The true free flowing action of concepts, ideas, information across the world wide web would be truely inhibited if censorship weree to rear it's ugly head.

The internet is also international. As seen on ATS, we have people from a variety of countries talking to each other all the time. If censorship were to be allowed, by whos standard would it be put under? Do we go to the lowest common denominator?

Some cultures won't allow talk of religion.
Some cultures don't allow women to have access.
Some cultures may accept nudity, but decry violence.
Others allow violence but panic over nudity.

Censorship would be highly impractical and ineffective to the users of the world.

The "policing" of questionable traffic would require a multitude of resources and manpower for individual countries. And even then, censorship of material wouldn't be garanteed.

So in my opening statement, I would like to say that the internet does not need to be and can not be censored.


Question (and I will be tugging strings here) Do you think teenagers killing themsleves because they read a hoax online because they think it's real due to many talking about it, is something we should as a civilized society allow?


Allow? How can we anticipate a trigger for suicide if anything can be a trigger? It isa terrible tragedy when a young life is lost like that. But responsibility resides with the parents in what the child may be exposed to and to follow up with the child if content does trigger an emotional response.


Question: Do you think that the free flow of information trumps the individuals need to be protected from harm by their government?


Absolutely. The government (any government) has shown itself to be highly unreliable when it comes to determining content for it's citizens.

Socratic questions.
1. Under what auspice woul you standardise censorship?
2. How would you effectively censor an idea or a concept?
3. Would you select a central authority to govern internet content for the world?



posted on Aug, 16 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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1. Under what auspice woul you standardise censorship?
2. How would you effectively censor an idea or a concept?
3. Would you select a central authority to govern internet content for the world?


I shall attempt to answer these three questions in clear and concise fashion.

As to question 1.) The standardization would be based upon International Law, there are things that we all as humanity have found to be putrid and socially unacceptable. Child Pornography, Terrorism, et al. These would form the basis of a censorship program, not removing any one person's rights to free speech, but enforcing that the right of Free Speech ends when the rights of another are infringed upon. Example in point, if a White Supremacist Organization started a website, not to simply discuss their views in a controlled and closed environment, but to openly proclaim that they were going to exterminate, say Japanese, this should be censored under the rules. They infringed upon the rights of another when they made the threats.

As to question 2.) You don't need to necessarily have to censor an idea (as ideas can flow in other ways besides the internet) but you can restrict the ability of those radical, and violent people from gathering more disciples by use of instantaneous mass communication. Imagine the difficulty a group like Al Quaeda would have getting recruits if they couldn't hide in the deep depths of the internet in the realm of Onion and put up hate sites.. While they have the right to their opinion, the minute it passes from opinion to threat, it's no longer protected speech and therefore needs to be removed from the web to make the web safer for all.

As to your final number 3.) There should be a panel made up from all nations that would choose to participate in this to decide when a site has violated a set and published rule. The United Nations, can and does have the ability to set this up and it would go further into protecting everyone, worldwide from hate, from violence and honestly from filth.... I am not advocating the stifling of free speech, I have to stress that, free speech is a right that should never be trampled, I am advocating the restriction on HATE and VIOLENCE, on using children as sex toys, all things every society has an issue with. Could a system like this be abused, yes, which is why we also have CITIZEN panels around the world that give advice and make recommendations and have a voice when they feel that the censoring is actually infringing on free speech.

It is a workable system, it most certainly has flaws, but sitting by and doing nothing but complaining about sites that preach violence and hate that put up pictures and videos we all find reprehensible, it needs to end..

I have a few Questions for you Beezer now:

1) Do you have a better idea on how to curb the use of the Internet for criminal / terrorist means?

2) If there isn't some sort of censorship, not full but limited, where do you see the net (as it stands now) in ten years?

I do have a statement to make after this debate is over Beezer, I do not wish it to influence anyone, however so I will keep it for later
(It's nothing bad to you Beez, I love ya ya little furry rabbit)



posted on Aug, 16 2012 @ 02:30 PM
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1) Do you have a better idea on how to curb the use of the Internet for criminal / terrorist means?


Laws already exist to deter criminal activity. Censoring internet activity would only make it harder to detect criminal enterprises.
As for terrorists? The difficult thing about freedom is that it does come with a price. Ben Franklin has a saying. When you sacrifice freedom for security you end up with neither. Allowing censorship would sacrifice too many freedoms for the sake of security. To do so would automatically place a win i the terrorists side.


2) If there isn't some sort of censorship, not full but limited, where do you see the net (as it stands now) in ten years?


I place my trust in people. Where do I see the inernet in ten years? Barring any sci-fi uber breakthroughs, I see it pretty much as it is now. The internet is user driven. Sure, there are sick people out there. There have been, there will always be, sick people out there. User generated "policing" of the internet will always be more effective than any outside agenct using their personal bias to determine what should or should not be censored.

What is your definition of freedom as it relates to the internet?

What benefits would censorship provide to the average user?



posted on Aug, 17 2012 @ 10:20 AM
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What is your definition of freedom as it relates to the internet?

My definition of freedom applies across the board.. Your right to freedom ends when you infringe upon the rights of another.

Simply put, just because it is the Internet does not give you the right to play god, nor does it give you the right to threaten another, or exploit another. And that is the same in real life. As for the suggestion that community internet policing works, it works until you get to the point where the people that claim to be policing then start breaking the law to accomplish their means, Anonymous comes to mind, leaking out personal information and credit card info "because they can" and claiming it is in some way "policing the Internet" Remember Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, which is why there should be a mixture of whom sits on a censorship board, so no one person or group or country gets to over-ride common sense, but sticks ot a pre-defined list, (Terrorism, Hate that turns to Violence or suggests violence and Child Exploitation)




What benefits would censorship provide to the average user?


That's easy, and if you actually take it one step further than I was outlining and do the following:

1) the board censors all that falls under the three categories above, it protects users from having to wade through the hate and the kiddy porn. Children are protected from being influenced by it and all is well.

2) force Porn sites to use the new .xxx domain, if they dont' they are closed. Inform people and put in the OS a way to block all .xxx sites from showing (yes it's a form of censorship)

3) don't punish users, punish site hosts for allowing any of the big three prohibited items online.

4) continue to allow member countries to enforce their own rules on top of the world wide censorship, without it effecting other countries.

this triple tier would not only protect people from having to deal with the seriously nasty side of the web, but also it has been upheld in court that freedom of expression does not extend to the World Wide Web, as evidenced recently with the court ruling about the deputy that was arrested for liking his boss's opponent on Facebook. We need to be vigilant, the Web should no longer be the Wild West, we as a society have supposedly grown out of that phase.

I have no Socratic questions at this time.



posted on Aug, 17 2012 @ 11:50 AM
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Remember Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely


From my opponents post.

This is my concern. Most every normal persons would find child pornography abhorent. Most every normal persons would find terrorist endorsement sites abhorent.

But it doesn't stop there. It never does. TSA was supposed to protect us from terrorist attaks. When it first came into play, people applauded the actions and direction to protect us.

But it didn't stop there. It never does.

Censorship denies freedom. Censorship is the imposition of one set of morals over another. Censorship is placing one set of values over another.

Child porn is sick and disgusting. censor it, you won't find any to fight it. But what comes next? Heterosexual content between consenting adults? I'm sure you'd find people who find that objectionable.

The danger is not what is on the internet. The danger lies in what some authority may allow us to view.

I have no questions at this time.



posted on Aug, 17 2012 @ 07:26 PM
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I am going to close with one statement and one statement only:

The rights of one to free speech end when that speech infringes upon the rights of another.

Think about this one fact when you think we don't need to have some sort of censorship in place to protect the population of this great nation from harm, and harmful actions. Community policing has been found to be lacking in this regard, and the court have upheld the fact that internet is not protected speech.

Thank you beezer, it was an enjoyable debate, thanks Druid for setting it up and thanks to ATS for allowing these types of discussions.



posted on Aug, 18 2012 @ 12:27 AM
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I would like to close with the following points.

Entrusting censorship to any individual or group is asking them to use their interpretation to what is right for the individual.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. To have "absolute control" over the internet would invite certain corruption for the internet. I am a strong believer in individual rights and the responsibilities that follow.

I would like to thank my honourable opponent and Druid for chairing this debate.



posted on Aug, 18 2012 @ 01:25 AM
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The results:

Very tough debate to call. As they all are. Both vkey08 and beezzer presented valid points, and throughout the debate, as a reader, I was swayed back and forth.

I'd like to highlight the few key points that lead to my decision:

vkey08:



what most people don't realize is that we have a fair amount of it already in place but you never really realize it


As her opening, vkey08 struck first, stating a point she'd reignite over and over. Here's a prime example of re-enforcing a point:



So here are the main reasons we need, nay should keep in place some semblance of censorship on the Internet. 1) Protection of minors form exploitation, always a good cause, and the net just makes it easier. 2) protection of the public from threats foreign and domestic, again who can argue this. 3) Protection of the population from life altering hoaxes, we have a big one going right now, get rid of it.. 4) Protecting you, the public from, inane, and possibly dangerous material, that could potentially harm your lives.


Then she makes the delivery:



The rights of one to free speech end when that speech infringes upon the rights of another.


vkey08 makes a very convincing arguement, but let's examine her opponent:

beezzer:

He also strikes quick, and clear, in his opening statement.



The true free flowing action of concepts, ideas, information across the world wide web would be truely inhibited if censorship were to rear it's ugly head.


However, he caves to his opinion, and makes the fatal flaw of sympathizing with the opponent in the debate.



This is my concern. Most every normal persons would find child pornography abhorent. Most every normal persons would find terrorist endorsement sites abhorent.


He's not endorsing censorship, but almost admits it's requirement.
He recovers nicely, however, by stealing a quote from his opponent, and using it against her, effectively re-enforcing his position once more.



Absolute power corrupts absolutely. To have "absolute control" over the internet would invite certain corruption for the internet


Unfortunately, the debate was about censorship, not absolute control as is the case in China and other communist countries. vkey08 has once again proven herself able to stick directly to the debate topic, and therefore I nominate her the winner.



posted on Aug, 18 2012 @ 10:07 PM
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My vote goes to vkey08

I felt she did a slightly better job pushing her side of the debate than Beezzer. She also had a point or two that really cemented her case for me.

My personal opinion is that the internet does not need censorship, but putting those feelings aside, vkey08 did it for me.



posted on Aug, 19 2012 @ 01:24 AM
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I would like to thank the judges and my worthy opponent for a very interesting first. A blind debate. Congrats.

You did an excellent job vkey.




posted on Aug, 19 2012 @ 08:15 AM
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Thanks Beezer, it was a great romp, I loved debating you
Awesome job... You almost made me stumble, which is why I had to take a few hours before i responded



posted on Aug, 19 2012 @ 08:51 AM
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I wouldn't mind a try at one of these "blind" debates. However, this weekend has me busy with a project in the real world, and my posting time is limited.

Monday or Tuesday I'd like to rustle up a pardner.

I think you guys both did a great job, starting with no ideas what the topic would be. Very smooth and timely, and also, the judging was quick and concise.

Also, it appears we are on a three post debate schedule now, so that will be interesting as well.





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