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How and Why Do States Control and Monitor Their Citizens’ Access to Information?

Autor:   •  March 2, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,618 Words (7 Pages)  •  189 Views

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Topic about social media


How and why do states control and monitor their citizens’ access to information?

Student name: Yuting Zhai

Student number: 0080770599

Date: 23 March

Word count: 1513

In 21century, people can access information easily because of the development of the Internet. The speed of spreading information become extremely quickly and SE (search engine) play as a vital role in helping people to access external information. However, different countries’ residents have different level right of searching the data on the cyberspace because the government of these countries monitor and control their citizens’ access to the information in different extent. This essay will analyze the situation in the North Korea, China and US, because these countries have totally different level of network openness and this essay will also explore the reasons why these states censoring their citizen and the method which they use to monitor.

North Korea

A close state has been dominated by Kim dynasty in three generation and citizens in this country do not have the basic right to use the internet to communicate with outside world. Although the dramatically growing the number of users on the Internet because of globalization, the number of netizens in North Korea can be seen as zero. AS Warf (2015) mentioned in the article, the United Nation has added the right of using internet into human right in 2011, but the Kim family choose to disregard this. The external network signal only exists in the border, but residents cannot use it because accessing Internet is illegal action for the general public in North Korea. Only few senior government officiants can get permission to use the external network. Another reason why the citizen cannot access the internet is the lack of infrastructure which can be used to connected to outside. According to Mansourov (2011, cited in Warf, e. d), only 1.1million people have the cell phone and most of them work for the government or state-owned enterprise. The supply of cell phones and computer is extremely limited and they do not be allowed access internet or call to outside world. The government created an intranet which be isolated with international websites by the firewall. In the capital city of North Korea, citizen can access the internet in the specified location. However, the fee of accessing the intranet far more than their income. Therefore, accessing internet is very extravagant for normal publics. As the explanation from Kim (2004, cited in Warf, e. d), the major factor lead to the lack of information technology is the dictatorial policies. The reason why the state discourages their citizen to contact with outside world is that accessing global information be referred as an open and democratic society. The external information might become the potential factor lead to the democratic movement. In many countries citizens’ political participation be expanded by the development of the internet, but the dictator of the North Korea attempts to maintain hegemony leadership by reinforce the state control. A widespread of cyberspace can bring threats to highly centralized rule. The last but not least, North Korea also is the victim because of the cyberterrorist attacks. Hackers attack make cyberspace become military battlefield for the state. Therefore, the government of North Korea control citizens strictly from getting the information (Warf, 2015).


Comparing with the North Korea and United States, the openness of China network is in middle position. When China decided to follow the policy of reform and opening, the beginning of the network information era also enter into China. An increasingly number of Chinese netizen witness the development of Chinese network information over the years. This process also brings some negative influences the societies, such as the ‘cyber crimes’ (Liang and Lu, 2011). As Subramanian (2011) mentioned, Chinese government have clear awareness of the potential harm. The criminal attack the specific system or the information network, which is monitor by laws and regulations instead of an independent law. Another reason why the state need to monitor the citizen access to the information is that the single party political system determines that they do not want their citizen can get the too much information which comes from western culture and ideology. As same as many countries, Chinese also want to prevent the spreading of pornography (Knoll, 1996, cited in Subramanian, 2011). Therefore, states create the great firewall to filter the information which they do not want to be browsed by the citizen. And then, the government established ‘self-censorship’ which is be referred as the restriction of the technological infrastructure. As Liang and Lu (2011) mentioned that Chinese government give pressure to the enterprise in some extent. The different between North Korea and China is that Chinese received support of investing money from many foreign companies. For the monitor system, the Chinese government updating


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