III Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 283-314 (April 2016)
In today’s world, information technology is an essential feature of hu-
manity. In fact, it has become more pervasive in today’s society that it
has ever before. Citizens of all ages and races depend on information
technology as instantaneous source of information, which is powered
by the Internet. is network connects all of us in any country or con-
tinent to every kind of piece of information imaginable, in turn, merg-
ing our cultures together and facilitating the exchange of information
around the globe. Simply put, the Internet has unarguably changed our
paradigm of social interaction, perceptions, and norms, and will con-
tinue to aect future generations as it evolves. It is no surprise that one
study, for example, nds that digital media plays signicant role in the
democratization movement across North Africa and Middle East.1 In
a sense, the Internet is at the forefront of the crusade for a free world.
However, just like all things in life, the Internet is a double-edged
sword. On the one hand, the Internet provides us with vast amounts
of educational and recreational information, while on the other it is
utilized as a means of perpetuating cybercrime and illegal activity. It is
because of the immeasurable scope of the ability and potential of the
Internet that countries attempt to regulate their citizen’s cyber activities.
More specically, the Internet, as “the Arab Spring” has shown,2 has
potential to be an important catalyst in the introduction of political
change. In light of its liberalizing potential, many illiberal governments
engage in many futile attempts to block the undesirable contents. e
most extreme example is the notorious North Korea, where Internet is
exclusively intended for an elite few.3
In this paper I will assess how the ideologically polar opposites
United States and China regulate the Internet, what content both
nations regulate, and whether regulation of that content is possible and
desirable. I believe that it is a crucial topic to discuss because what we
1. Philip N. Howard &Muzammil M. Hussain, e Role of Digital Media, 22 J.
D 35-48 (2011).
2. See Id.
3. Matthew Sparkes, Internet in North Korea, T T (Dec. 23, 2014),