ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Topic 27

Ability to filter incoming data by Alex Young

With the internet being a major part of our everyday lives, one must get to know more about network filtering. Network filtering is used by blocking incoming information or placing certain information through a certain network filter. For example, in Yahoo! e-mail accounts, there are filters for suspicious mail (such as a virus or spam) and places those mails automatically to the bulk folder which separates it from the inbox folder. Also there are certain software that filters certain websites such as St. Bernard or even antivirus programs such as McAffe software which restricts certain websites by the content they include (Such as spyware/adware adult content, shareware, gambling).

In today’s world the Chinese government has a major filtering program, which restricts certain images in search engines such as Tiananmen Square which shows peaceful images in Google China while in Google US, it shows the tanks on the streets of the infamous day. Also, Google China censors certain search terms from showing up such as (adult content) or content in which the Chinese government feels vulnerable to its own country or makes the government look bad.

4. What are the advantages and the disadvantages for those stakeholders?

Web filtering can be an advantage if the Chinese government is censoring certain images and websites because they don’t want certain people accessing them such as a gambling site. The disadvantage is with the web censoring in China through filtering, is it causes controversy as to whether or not this is an human rights violation because it restricts Chinese citizens because the government of China redeems as harmful for the country. What if in fact is not harmful for the country but in fact the Chinese government is filtering certain websites because they don’t want the Chinese people from knowing the truth or make the Chinese nation look bad (Tiananmen Square).

5. What solutions can overcome this problem?

One way for the Chinese people to try and go around the filter is to try to hide the internet’s IP address. An IP address is the numeric address of a computer connected to the internet. This can locate what country he is using the internet and also approximately identify where in the country he lives. Therefore each country has certain numbers assigned to know what country it is coming from and the other numbers further identify and separate from one user of the internet from another. There are software in the world to try and hide or conceal the computer’s IP address to not be identified. This can be useful for people because if people are downloading from torrents, the government cannot find out where the person is downloading from. Also in the case of the Chinese people, they can now access certain sites. Another option is to use a different IP address to try to also hide the real address (which is your computer’s network). Although these alternatives are nice, they often do not work well because it is hard to find software to try to conceal the IP address. Also, with the option of trying to use a different IP address it is not reliable as most of the ones shown on the internet do not work and even when they work, they are very slow.

6. What areas of impact does it affect?

Obviously, with network filtering, it affects to whoever is using the internet and where they are using it. Fortunately in the US, they do not follow the Chinese filtering doctrine and instead lets the people live in America surf whatever they want.

8. What are the ethical issues?

Although filtering certain junk mail to the bulk folder or using anti-virus programs or software to filter us from entering websites we have no intention of going to is useful, the Chinese government’s strategy of censoring certain websites is ethically wrong because it deprives the Chinese people from entering certain web sites because of the filtering and therefore is taking away the basic human right for Chinese citizens which is to freely surf the web.


taro kondo11 said...

filtering or not filtering certain things should be judged by the individuals; as the writer says, government should not intervene. for example in google, you can set the filtering mode from high to low.

Saturday, December 09, 2006 1:36:00 AM

Simon Ruiz said...

As you have mentioned that accessing filtered websites is a basic human right - are there any laws that apply to this specific issue?

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:43:00 AM

Anonymous said...

I think you should have discussed the role of pornography. Many countries have filters child pornography. This is the promotion of a good cause and is ethically correct.

Friday, December 15, 2006 5:41:00 AM

Anonymous said...

In some countries they automatically restricted sites. In the UAE they have disbaled the feature "call" on yahoo messenger to prevent people from calling overseas with it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 5:35:00 AM


Blogger Juju said...

Data filtering is useful sometimes and annoying sometimes. It really comes down to what is being filtered. If you are being prevented from reaching your destination, its annoying. if it is blocking ad's its good.

January 07, 2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger akirajackson said...

filtering is not always good becuase it might filter information you need to know or some truth the government doesnt want people to know. I heard they do that in North Korea.

January 16, 2007 8:05 PM  

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