Friday, March 8, 2013

Egypt's block on Youtube, Google, and Freedom of speech

In Egypt, the Cairo court order to block Youtube as a result of the anti-Islamic film, Innocence of Muslims. Rather than block the video, the court decided to block all access to Youtube. The article also references Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer, saying the decision behind blocking the website illustrates the weak understanding of technology by the court. This decision to block the whole website not only demonstrates the lack of technological understanding in the Cairo court but also exemplifies how the lack of understanding of technology leads to the repression of human rights to express ideas, speech, and right to gather knowledge. Although I do not agree at all with the video, blocking the website does infringe on the human rights of the Egyptian citizens to gather knowledge and express freedom of speech such as through vlogging on Youtube. I do agree on Eid’s recommendation to the government about only blocking certain pages because this moves towards a more forward approach in protecting human’s right to freedom of speech. Although there will be some websites block, citizens will still be allowed to access Youtube to express their right to freedom of speech. The article also references the Egyptian court cases against Google and requests of removing the video. Google denied to remove the video. Although the video is horrible, the people who made it have the right to freedom of speech like everyone else. Google’s stance to keep the video exemplifies that the right to speech must be defended no matter the circumstances.  It is difficult to defend Google’s stance to keep the video because of the video’s material, but it is the right action because if Google were to remove the video, more people will have a sense that freedom of speech is not a universal human right and can be suppressed depending on the circumstances. If this were true, people could easily oppress someone’s right to speech because the oppressor does not agree with the other’s viewpoint or thought. In order to keep the right to freedom of speech from becoming blurred, Google had to decline the requests in order to exemplify that the right to freedom of speech is universal to all humans.

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