Censorship and Surveillance in the Digital Age: The Technological Challenges for Academics
Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 1(4), p. 346-355, 2016
28 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 18, 2016
Technologically supported censorship and surveillance practices have become prominent topics and also affect the academic profession. In particular, the growing reliance on digital tools makes scholars as well as their research data and/or participants vulnerable to the consequences of potential censorship. As technological information control is interfering with basic principles of academic freedom, the current paper aims to systematically explore methods which can be used for digital censorship and surveillance as well as ways to resist them. The article is split into three parts. The first section discusses why academia and especially security studies are required to engage in debates on censorship. It touches upon the current societal and political climate, emphasising the need for the inclusion of cryptographic tools. The second section outlines how censorship is technically implementable and how these techniques can impact the academic profession. It discerns various practices of information control, referring to real-life examples. The final section examines what to do against technologically supported censorship and surveillance and is referring to common cryptographic circumvention methods. They can be applied to improve participants’ anonymity and ensure the secure storage, integrity, and transmission of data. Overall, the paper strives to stimulate a discussion about the inclusion of these tools within academia and students’ curricula. It further endeavours to foster a debate about the legal and technical protection of academics that allows for independent, critical research in the digital age to proceed.
Keywords: Censorship, Surveillance, Cryptography, Encryption, Academic Freedom, Internet
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