Emerging technology shifts control of communication from governments to civilians

With the rise of the Internet, as well as technological devices that access it, it has become increasingly easier for the average person to broadcast his or her ideas to small and large audiences alike. With a few clicks of a mouse, or a single press of a button on a cell phone, one could submit an entire social campaign to a million receivers. With over half of the world having access to this type of global communication, ideas now spread like wildfire, and people can inspire change from another continent.

While individual citizens find this to be a completely positive method of change, governments across the world see things a bit differently. Governmental agencies now have an infinite medium they need to try and regulate, all while attempting to ensure that their own secrets don’t somehow find their way into the public realm. A prime example of what most governments are worried about was Wikileaks, an organization founded by Julian Assange that published secret government documents, withheld media clips and stories, and other sources of news kept from the masses. After having many of its controversial documents leaked, the United States government was in hot water for a while with its upset civilian population.

The Internet can be a very valuable tool, or destructive weapon, depending on the user. Oppressed individuals consistently fight their oppressors every day by spreading word of their cause over the Internet, while on the other hand terrorists and other criminals continually utilize the medium for organizing cybercrime or hacking into defense organizations. It is practically impossible for any organization to regulate the entirety of the Internet and its users without restricting free speech unnecessarily or crushing Democracy, and so it is up to we, the users, to implement it in a constructive and positive way.

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