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Internet Censorship Means No Freedom Of Speech

2155 words - 9 pages

Picture it: you pick up your phone to read your email. You're expecting a message from a friend, who is sending you some information on breast cancer, but when you check your inbox there is instead a message from the server. It says the message that was sent to you from the address of your friend has been intercepted because it contained indecent material that did not comply with FCC regulations of the Internet. You call your friend only to find that the police have come and taken her away, and she is now facing up to two years in prison and/or up to $100,000 in fines. The message sent by your friend contained the word "breast," which by current FCC standards is indecent, and thus not ...view middle of the document...

Censorship of the Internet violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, and thus robs us of our right to freedom of speech. Since cyberspace is a fairly new concept, any restrictions placed on the Internet by the CDA will determine the degree of freedom we will enjoy on the Internet in future years. Enforcement of the CDA will potentially rob us of a valuable source of information on subjects ranging from abortion and AIDS to birth control.

     Despite the restrictions imposed by the CDA, and the jeopardy in which it places our First Amendment rights, many still support it, feeling that the Internet should be censored so that minors are not exposed to indecent, obscene, or pornographic materials when using it. These people should be made aware of the fact that there are currently several systems available, such as lockout programs, and several more being developed, such as Web site rating systems, which allow parents to screen and regulate what their child sees, according to their own standards, without government interference.

     Others support the CDA maintaining that the Internet needs to be censored so that pedophiles will not have access to and prey upon our children through the Internet. However, these people should understand that pedophiles are everywhere, and they habitually insert themselves into the most wholesome of situations (schools and churches, for example), gaining the trust of children. Lisa Schmeiser, an opposer of the CDA, says of this situation, "There are undoubtedly a small percentage of people on the Internet --as there are in the rest of society-- who are predatory pedophiles. These people will not get better and they will use every chance they have to get access to kids" (Internet). Today children need to be educated by their parents about sexual abuse, and how to avoid it. This includes on the Internet. Children need to know where not to go, and parents must screen their activities on the Internet, just as they would in any other place. Banning the material won't prevent child sexual abuse. Education will.


     While these are both legitimate fears in society today, such drastic measures as censoring the entire Internet are not necessary. The ramifications of such an action can prove to be far worse than any of the problems that censorship is attempting to solve. Perhaps those who support censoring the Internet do not understand the reasons behind those who oppose it. Possibly, they do not realize the impact that the results of this censorship will have on the Internet, society, the transfer of information, and the maintenance of our First Amendment rights, in the future.

     If the CDA is successful and the Internet is censored, valuable information used as research by students or anyone pursuing further knowledge on a topic will not be available. In order to grasp the significance of this situation, one must understand how important and useful a tool the Internet is today in the...

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