How the censorship of social media affects you, and why we're fighting against it.

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

31 December 2015

When you talk about censorship, what are you usually thinking of? Do you think of the banning of anti-government artists like Ai WeiWei, or online activists, or teenage books that talk about sex? These are the stories of censorship that are usually talked about, and to the regular observer, they never seem all that bad.

However, censorship isn’t just about stopping someone from saying or reading what they want to read – although, of course, we should be able to enjoy these freedoms. Censorship doesn’t just stop people from expressing themselves. Censorship also stops systems from working, makes jobs harder, and negatively impacts upon people’s lives. And this is why we fight against it.

Take the recent ban on WhatsApp that occurred in Brazil. On the face of it, it may seem that a social networking tool was simply taken offline for a couple of days. Of course, it’s scary that a government should be able to shut down any method of civilian communication, but the media would have us believe it’s an inconvenience at best.

This is not the case. In Brazil, for example, almost 90% of doctors use WhatsApp to communicate with their patients; in Italy this is over 60% as well. The recent ban on WhatsApp effectively closed this method of communication between medical practitioners and the people they need to help. When censorship negatively impacts your access to medical care, is that when it gets serious?

Similarly, there was a  recent social media ban in Bangladesh, that saw Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber out of use. The Bangladeshi government cut off access to the internet after the Supreme Court upheld a controversial death sentence ruling. An hour and a quarter later, the internet access was back, but access to social media was not. The government maintained that the blackout was an error, but kept up the social media ban. When censorship hides what the government is doing, is that when it gets serious?

Social media communication is a huge part of our lives these days. Fire services in Western Australia use WhatsApp to alert people of wildfires; in September, WhatsApp helped police in Dehli rescue three kidnapped children; last year, the BBC World Service even used WhatsApp to distribute vital health advice through their Ebola WhatsApp Information Service, helping to stop the spread of an incredibly infectious and deadly disease.

Social media is more than a frivolity. In many cases, it saves lives.

Here at SurfEasy we believe that it’s everyone’s social and corporate responsibility to help support freedom of access and security of communications. We’re incredibly proud to help people fight censorship; our VPN allows people to work around location-specific bans on services like WhatsApp and Facebook, and where their access to the internet may be negatively impacted due to government or network restrictions, we help them to experience the internet as it should be: open, free and accessible to all.

Our bank-grade encryption keeps the information of our users safe, and stops them from being tracked online. We protect your privacy while opening up the internet for all.

To try for yourself, go to surfeasy.com and register today; we’ll even give you a free 7-day trial to ensure that our service is right for you – and when you decide that it is, we’ll give you unlimited protection on up to five devices for just $4.99 per month.

Stand up against censorship. We know we will.

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