Most people hardly worry, or even think, about their access to internet-based information; however, in some places around the globe, the internet is censored, and the censored-countries citizens do not have free and open access to Internet-based information and news as well as popular websites.
For example, there are over 60 internet restrictions on Chinese citizens, and Chinese citizens are not able to access the world’s most popular search engine Google. Instead, Chinese citizens are forced to use services that were created in China. To add insult to injury, the Chinese government monitors its citizen’s internet activity, and there are often repercussions if you are caught going against or circumventing Chinese Internet policies and regulations.
The confines of a censored Internet
Although China’s case of internet censorship is rather austere, internet censorship exists in all shapes and sizes around the world. Internet censorship can be as minute as an internet service provider or government entity deciding that certain swear words cannot be used in public press, or as severe as China, Iran, and Russia’s internet laws, where individuals typically cannot access some of the most popular phone apps, like Telegram and Twitter, and websites, like Google and Facebook.
Although the entity doing the suppressing typically believes–and preaches–that the censorship is for the best, and that it is for the protection of the citizens in their country, it is rarely advantageous for an individual not to have equal access to information.
Information is what creates a level playing field. That is one reason why having open and free internet access is so crucial. Imagine if you could not further your education because the country you live in has blocked the Google search results for the topic you are interested in learning more about. Not only is this not optimal for the Internet-censored citizen, it also creates a sub-optimal universe, where individuals who may have otherwise introduced new and innovative solutions to some of the worlds most pressing problems, can’t. This is because they do not have the resources (free and open access to information) available to them that they need to pursue a topic, further their education, and ultimately, bring unprecedented information and solutions to the world.
Having access to information is so crucial, that in industries like banking and finance, individuals are willing to pay $24,000 a year for a Bloomberg terminal subscription to receive information faster than their peers. That being said, there is clearly an advantage to having information, and limiting an individual’s access to information puts that person at a social and economic disadvantage.
Why the worlds needs censorship-resistant internet
A world with an open and free internet would be closer to operating at maximum efficiency than a world where the internet is censored. That is just one of the many reasons Substratum is working day in and day out to deliver a censorship-resistant internet to the world–especially for those who live in regions of the world where the internet is heavily censored like China, Iran, and Russia.
It can be argued that information (data) is one of the most valuable resources in the world. Many people have even referred to data as the new oil; this could be because having the internet, and therefore, nearly all of the information in the world available to you at your fingertips, opens up a world of opportunities to you. Opportunities that may not have been possible if access to certain information was blocked in your country or by your internet service provider; this information often allows individuals to educate themselves and grow. Therefore, preventing or restricting access to information means citizens can not learn and grow with maximum efficiency. Instead, when censorship is the case, the growing and learning will happen at sub-optimal speeds due to barriers put in place by governments, internet-service providers, and the other regulating entities that control the internet. It is important to note, a world where access to information is suboptimal is not a world that operates at maximum efficiency.
But censorship-resistant solutions are on the horizon…
However, a world that operates at maximum efficiency–or closer to maximum efficiency–may not be as far off as some people think. Our Substratum Node will be a significant player in the world of censorship resistance, allowing anyone in the world to access any part of the internet. Our Substratum Node makes this possible by encrypting internet requests and routing them through a network of nodes before returning the request to the machine it was originated from. An innovation like this is perfect for citizens who live in regions with stringent internet restrictions; as a matter of fact, Substratum Node has already been tested in a few of these areas and proved to be a successful solution to delivering content that would otherwise be blocked.
Although Internet-censorship may seem like a trivial problem depending on where you live in the world, it is a very real problem in other parts of the world, and it prevents individuals from being the best versions of themselves they could possibly be. This prevents the world from operating at maximum efficiency–and that is a significant factor to why we are working hard to deliver a censorship-resistant internet; because these are real problems that people have, and as long as these problems exist in abundance–which they do–the world cannot be the best it could possibly be.