How to Balance the Role of Censorship on the Internet: The Benefits and Harms to People’s Rights.

Censorship logo,by DG-RA, is licensed under


With the popularization of the Internet and the rapid development of information technology, while we are benefiting from it, the problem of network security is becoming more and more prominent due to the openness and shareability of network information. Currently, we are familiar with cybersecurity issues such as hacking, insider leaks, malware, viruses and Trojans, as well as the common leakage of information on the Internet. According to Cybersecurity Ventures latest “Cybercrime Report 2022”, which is expected to cost the world $8 trillion in 2023. In 2023, cybercrime will be the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China when comparing the size of national economies. Cybercriminals may launch targeted as well as lethal cyberattacks, posing a considerable threat to individuals, businesses, societies and even governments.

Internet security case—hacker attack anonymous-hacker-working,by Marwanid branch(2021),is licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

On March 21, 2022, the South African company of U.S. credit giant TransUnion was attacked by a Brazilian hacking gang, compromising the credit data of 54 million consumers, the vast majority of whom were South African citizens, with the country’s total population known to be around 60.6 million. The hackers revealed that they had brute-force hacked an SFTP server that held a large amount of consumer data with the password “Password”, and TransUnion said it would offer affected consumers a free annual subscription to Identity Protection, at an estimated cost of more than $11.4 billion.

This incident is a classic example of cybersecurity threatening the privacy and personal lives of users. After the repeated occurrence of such incidents, many media and scholars are increasingly aware that the network is like a double-edged sword, if not properly utilized and controlled, it will cause a negative and far-reaching impact. Therefore, various parties have begun to call for the introduction of a censorship and regulatory system.

Why do we need cyber regulation?

In fact, the need for regulation can be clearly explained from the nature of the online platform itself. Platforms as integrated software systems, providing the infrastructure, business models and cultural conditions for social networking and publishing, by organizing economic actors to create scalable, re- configurable, multi-sided information and communications markets.(2019)

Internet safety, also known as online safety, cyber safety and electronic safety (e-safety), is the act of maximizing a user’s awareness of personal safety and security risks to private information and property associated with using the Internet, and the self-protection from computer crime. At a time when the cyber environment is complex, it is also necessary to rely on censorship and control systems in order to achieve Internet security.

Issues faced when regulating and how to balance censorship and human rights.

After a series of cybersecurity problems people realized that it was time to put in place regulations or laws to regulate bad behavior and protect the rights of online citizens. It seems as if this would be a once-and-for-all action, but in fact it is not. Moderation is often a complex issue that can be broken down into a myriad of subsections, such as international legal and moral jurisdictions are complex to find a common moral. Poorly trained moderators are empowered to make determination on what aspect of history should be written and told. At the same time, social media platforms may present themselves as universal services suited to everyone, but when rules of propriety are crafted by small teams of people that share a particular worldview, they aren’t always well suited to those with different experiences, cultures, or value system. Additionally, which party should lead the regulation of the internet? The tech companies or the government? Since the government operates at a much slower pace than tech companies, there is a question as to whether having the government regulate tech will result in its advancement suffering from stagnation. (2019)

Within the many questions, the main concern is the pros and cons of censorship on people’s power, and how to go about balancing the power of censorship so that it can be maximized while minimizing human rights violations.

Facebook application icon,by Pixabay,is licensed under Photo by Pixabay

Take facebook as an example,in May 2020 Facebook announced the inaugural batch of members of its Oversight Board,which will be a group of 40 people — of which 20 have been recently announced — supported by staff, whose initial task will be to serve as an independent appeals mechanism to have a final say on select cases of content removals decided by Facebook.(2020)

The pressures surrounding this are invisible and unavoidable to the general public, as many argue that this type of regulation and access to information violates the public’s right to privacy and free expression. Paradoxically, these systems of regulation protect one part of the rights of Internet users and hinder another part of their rights in another way. This seems to be a very cut-throat but reasonable approach, because there is no such thing as complete freedom, and we all have to find a balance in the middle of it. “Freedom of speech and people’s right to privacy and reputation cannot be violated, and that’s a real challenge in every country in the world.” Zwart said. “Creating a good online environment is a prerequisite for broader human rights protection.” Daniel Joyce, assistant professor at the University of New South Wales School of Law in Australia, said.

There is a trend that many countries have developed legal systems to access user information on the grounds of facilitating government law enforcement, and while it is true that these regulations can combat and counteract criminal behavior to a certain extent, it is clear that these laws do not take into account the protection of privacy rights. For example, the Chinese government requires many online platform services to provide them with data on their users in order to make determinations at certain times.


In balancing regulatory efforts and human rights, it is important to note that most national and international courts do not have a common and clear definition of the right to privacy as a human right, and it is difficult for ordinary people to formulate practical regulations that are accepted by the majority of the population in the context of ambiguous concepts and inconsistent cultural environments, which is why international law plays an important role here. Relevant Internet platforms and governments should refer to the protection of privacy and other human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when formulating regulations. At the same time, international law requires that choices be made by weighing the overall public interest.

Reference LIst:

1.DG-RA ,Censorship logo(2023),
2.Marwanid branch,(2021),anonymous-hacker-working,

3.Flew,Martin and Suzor,(2019),pp36

4.Javier Pallero,(2020),What the Facebook Oversight Board means for human rights, and where we go from here.pp2-3

5.Facebook application icon,by Pixabay,

6.Computerphile(2016),Internet Censorship Explained,

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