September 2014Monthly Archives

Online Religious Freedoms

Wherever you go the internet is increasingly becoming filtered by a variety of individuals , groups or Governments.  It’s often for political goals but commercial and religion are often equally to blame for the increasing censorship.

In Turkey for instance, which is primarily a secular Government – various legal challenges have been made and effectively caused internet sites to be censored.  For example a book on Creationism was criticised heavily by a scientist called Richard Dawkins – this was enough to get his site blocked in Turkey. However Turkey’s internet access is increasinly becoming filtered in many other ways too.

Many Muslim countries heavily restrict access to social networking sites in order to restrict  people’s ability to discuss and criticize religion.  There are drivers from the powerful Evangelical groups within the USA to do something similar from there.  Fortunately this hasn’t happened in the US yet but the internet may yet be crippled from another source – commercialism.

A specific act in the US based on protecting intellectual property threatens to allow huge control over what access you have through a US ISP.  A link to a pirated DVD or film may be all it takes for a court to block an entire website from an entire country.  This will put censorship and control on a whole new level.

Already a lot of sites are inaccessible from different countries, for instance you can’t watch the BBC Iplayer from anywhere outside the United Kingdom.  In fact you need to connect through a UK proxy to be able to view it.

However just to add some balance to this discussion it should be pointed out that even non-religious people are looking to censor access to the internet.  I noticed the other day an application called the ‘God Block’ which blocks access to all internet sites  that have any sort of religious concept.  This is supposed to protect children from potential brainwashing apparently although how making children ignorant about religions will help them in the long run – I’m not quite sure.

John Helsingbane