Internet Censorship Problems Essay

The Concerns Of Internet Censorship Essay

The Concerns of Internet Censorship

As a professional Internet publisher and avid user of the Internet, I have become concerned with laws like the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) that censor free speech on the Internet. By approving the CDA, Congress has established a precedent which condones censorship regulations for the Internet similar to those that exist for traditional broadcast media. Treating the Internet like broadcast media is a grave mistake because the Internet is unlike any information medium that has been created.
My concerns about Internet censorship prompted me to write "Internet Censorship is Absurd and Unconstitutional." In the essay, I outline why I believe that the Internet should not be censored in any way for two reasons. First, any law advocating censorship of the Internet is too broad and unenforceable on this global information medium. Second, Internet censorship is a breach of First Amendment rights for those users residing in the United States. The essay will provide insight into why self regulation is the only viable solution to the problems that have and will be presented to the Internet.
Should it be illegal to publish literature with "indecent" content on the Internet but perfectly legal to publish that same work in print? This question has spawned the debate over Internet censorship, which is currently raging in the United States Congress as well as in other political forums around the world. The question as to whether the Internet should be censored will continue to be debated for many years to come. As with any political topic, the debate over Internet censorship has its extremes. Many proponents of Internet censorship want strict control over this new information medium. Proponents of Internet censorship such as Senator Jim Exon (D-NE), co-author of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), are in favor of putting strict laws into place regulating the Internet in order to protect children: "The Decency Act stands for the premise that it is wrong to provide pornography to children on computers just as it is wrong to do it on a street corner or anywhere else" (Exon). These proponents suggest creating laws for the Internet similar to those now in place for television and radio. Those strongly opposing Internet regulations, such as the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC), assert that the Internet is not like a television and should not be regulated like one. Both sides base their respective arguments on how they view the new information medium. Though the laws that Congress are proposing to regulate the Internet are well intentioned, I strongly believe that the Internet should not be censored because any law encroaching on the people’s right to free speech is a obvious breach of First Amendment rights and because laws limiting Internet speech are too broad and unenforceable on this global medium.
To understand why legislators are attempting to censor the Internet despite the fact that it is...

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With today’s technology, communication and information can travel across the world in a matter of seconds. Ever since the internet was first made publically available in 1991 the ease of accessing entertainment, education, and information has been increasing every year. We now live in an age where roughly 30% of all people in the entire world are connected to the web ("World Internet Usage Statistics New and World Population Stats"). However, despite the obvious advantages of the internet’s freedom, some countries are trying to control the internet and display what it deems appropriate for the public eye. Many countries, including Australia, China, and North Korea implement a system to filter web content. Even the United States is now in debate to construct a system to filter the internet and remove sites that are considered censor-worthy. Although this may sound like a semi-logical approach to uphold our internet, countries that have this system abuse the censor for more than hiding adult content from children or removing drug paraphernalia sites. Chinese web content filters, for example, do not allow pro-democratic information, religious materials, and any speech considered improper. Another problem that also arises from the use of internet filters and blocks is that it is a direct violation of the freedom of speech granted by the constitution. Because of the many burdens and problems internet censorship brings, it is of great importance that we keep our American internet just like our country, free.
Internet censorship is nothing original for many people around the world. Several large countries around the world have been using this form of communication blocking to channel the actions of the internet away from what users wish to freely do. Since 1994, China has been looking for the best possible methods to steer users away from content they see unfit for the public eye. The Ministry of Public Security took the initial strides to strangle the freedom of online browsing when it issued its regulations regarding the use of the internet.
Individuals are prohibited from using the Internet to: harm national security; disclose state secrets; or injure the interests of the state or society. Users are prohibited from using the Internet to create, replicate, retrieve, or transmit information that incites resistance to the PRC Constitution, laws, or administrative regulations; promotes the overthrow of the government or socialist system; undermines national unification; distorts the truth, spreads rumors, or destroys social order; or provides sexually suggestive material or encourages gambling, violence, or murder. Users are prohibited from engaging in activities that harm the security of computer information networks and from using networks or changing network resources without prior approval ("International Debates”).
Several years later, in October 2001 Li Runsen, the technology director at the Ministry of Public Security, explained the new...

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