comment this 2 article (50 words for each comments)
The topic I researched was China’s monitoring and censoring information related to the Coronavirus through its communication apps, especially WeChat.
China does not have access to all the communication apps we have in the western world, but the government provides similar applications to its people. However, the catch is the government monitors all activity on these apps between its people. It can search for key-terms and even has a blacklist where it censors information related to those key-terms. At the beginning of this year (2020), the government knew something was happening in the Wuhan region of China where the outbreak started and it added many phrases and key-terms to its blacklist. The most well known example of this was the fact that they censored and arrested the doctor who started talking about it that later died from the disease.
One of the articles I posted mentioned that this outbreak was so bad that it was impossible to block all communication related to the virus despite its attempts, but much communication was still stopped.
The ethical question this brings up to me is “If communication had not been blocked and information not been blocked related to this outbreak, would the world have been better prepared and lives been saved?” Also, “Is it ethical to block information related to outbreaks and critical medical information?”
I would argue to the first question, that yes. The Chinese Government had an ethical and moral responsibility to notify people as soon as something odd detected, and that people lost lives because of the censorship.
To the 2nd question I would say that it is not ethical to block information about outbreaks and critical medical information related to the outbreak. The only reason it would be potentially to block some information is if releasing the information would cause a panic that would cause more harm than the virus itself. However, it seems that by blocking the information more harm was done than if they had reported it.
In summary, the blocking and censoring of information with regards to outbreaks and medical information about outbreaks is not ethical and those who have said information have a moral responsibility to report the information to the people and the world.
If one were to look up “censorship” on the internet today, chances are they would quickly find references to Chinese censorship and information control. Censorship is a theme across many media, and often it is used as a means of brainwashing the population.
This censorship has brought to light ethical concerns in the US where censorship is frowned upon. Should American Internet and high-tech companies adhere to Chinese censorship restrictions? Is it right to provide an unfiltered version of software for those who are given the right to learn what they want and also a filtered version for the oppressed?
I believe that supporting or yielding to the idea of censorship is immoral. The case of supporting Chinese censorship by providing censored software is putting profits before morals. ISP companies have argued that it is better for Chinese citizens to have something rather than nothing, but in the end they are only being shown what the government deems worthy of being shown.
Employees at Google have been protesting the censored Chinese Google app. Google has an artificial intelligence ethical code that states that the company will not deploy or build technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.” However, this ethical code seems to have been forgotten when this app was being developed in secret by less than a hundred employees out of the 88,000 working at Google.
Once again, I believe allowing and supporting censorship by making software that is designed to be censored is morally and ethically wrong. Censorship is scary, and supporting it in any way can potentially bring it into normalcy.
https://theintercept.com/2018/08/16/google-china-crisis-staff-dragonfly/ (Links to an external site.)
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