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Internet Censorship

Internet Censorship The Internet is a wonderful place of entertainment and education, but like all places where people conspire, there are some corners that people would prefer children not to explore. World society as a whole attempts to protect children, yet there are no required technological constraints to Internet surfing. In a civilization where people have become demented and twisted, aiming to please themselves with naked pictures of women and children, it may be necessary to censor this material for the moral advancement of our society as a whole. The Internet was originally a place for people to freely express their ideas worldwide, and it has become one of America’s most useful tools. Scientists use email for quick and convenient communication. They can post their current scientific discoveries on the web and others in the same field can know in minutes.

But at the same time, adults who spend the majority of their pathetic lives in their mom’s basements, can post pictures of naked women for all to see. Since the Internet is open to virtually anyone, it is incredibly easy for children to be exposed to this material. Whether or not this material is damaging to children, or anyone for that matter, can not be determined. The Internet itself is completely amoral, but its what the people do with it that make it good or bad. As a whole, the Internet is incredibly useful and informative.

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Anything that you could ever wish to know, can be found somewhere on the net. This surplus of information is useful for students, teachers, doctors, lawyers or basically anyone in any field who wishes to become more informed. Though it is sometimes quite difficult to find the information you are looking for, primarily because of all the porn that you have to stumble through, it is a consequence that comes with the use of this extraordinary tool. The information is out there, and when the right amount of time is invested, it can be obtained. The media is giving a mixed message on censorship of the Internet. It really depends on what you are reading.

Most newspapers and magazines take an objective standpoint, but the Internet as a whole seems to oppose it. Most people don’t want to censor themselves or the things that they are looking at, and this is certainly understandable. I found a drastic majority of sites on the net opposed to censorship than I did for those who were for it. People seem to enjoy freedom of speech and they should be able to. On-line systems give people far more genuinely free speech than ever before in human history (Corn-Reverse 71). This is very true. If the government were to take action to censor the Internet, they would be acting unconstitutionally and would face hearings in front of the Supreme Court.

This is why they do not take direct action towards complete censorship of the net. It must also be understood that censoring the net is technologically impossible. As described by Allison and Baxter, Any computer Science graduate can create a completely secure encryption system for their own purposes. The material can even be disguised, for example hidden inside a perfect picture (Allison and Baxter 6). If a person wants to publish offensive material on the Internet, then they will find a way. The same thing happened during prohibition. Though alcohol was illegal, it still made its way into the United States.

Also, censorship of the Internet would be a complete contradiction. Pornography is legal in videos and magazines, so it would be inconsistent to ban the Internet equivalents. People should be able to restrict the information flow into their homes. They should be able to exclude any subject matter that they do not want their children to see. But sooner or later, those children will be exposed to everything that they have been shielded from, and they will have to deal with these shocking sights with their uncultivated moral standards.

Everyone will sooner or later be exposed to something that they find offensive, so there is really no reason to attempt avoidance. These sights will be drastically more horrific for someone who wasn’t exposed to them at an earlier age, than someone who was and has learned how to deal with them. The government should maintain their hands off policy on this issue. It should be the parents full and complete responsibility to censor their child’s Internet use. If the parent does not wish to or is unable to supervise their child’s Internet use, there are ways to secure censorship. There are hundreds of programs that can be easily installed that will block most of the offensive material.

America On-line even has this feature built in and it can be easily turned on to prohibit viewing of certain sites. If the parent wishes to block all offensive material, then the only solution would be to not have Internet accessibility at their homes. These parents should stop being so naive and should let their children freely use the Internet without fear of restriction. The government isn’t going to do anything about it, and neither are Internet providers. Pornography will always be there, and it’s not really that big of an issue.

Even if a parent were to restrict Internet use, in a feeble attempt to keep their kids away from porn, they should realize that it is not hard to obtain. If the child wishes to look at pornography, then they will find it. That is a harsh reality in our society today. The media frequently addresses the issue of censorship, and I feel that they are saying the right thing. The majority of the time they are saying, hey, we’re not going to censor ourselves, but feel free to do it yourself.

This is what I firmly believe. If someone wishes to post an Internet site that appeals to pedophiles and zoophiliacs, then so be it. If you don’t want to view that site, then don’t go there. These things aren’t disguised. You know when you see the description for a pornography site.

It is sad that people are sexually aroused by this type of thing, but that’s just the type of society that we live in. This isn’t going to change, so everyone should learn how to deal with it. Psychology.

INTERNET CENSORSHIP

Last October, congress passed and President Clinton signed into law a new “sequel” to the
unconstitutional Communications Decency Act. This new Internet censorship bill, the Child Online
Protection Act or COPA (a.k.a. “CDA II”), would establish criminal penalties for any commercial
distribution of material deemed “harmful to minors”. Although I feel that this law will probably be
overturned like CDA, it shows how determined some politicians are to ignore our constitutional rights to
free speech and impose their own views of whats “indecent” and “harmful to minors” on others.


I believe that the government should have no business imposing these unconstitutional laws. The
laws themselves are way to vague, many avocates of Internet censorship laws are ignorant of what the
Internet really is or how it works, laws like these wouldnt work, and there are many alternatives to
government enforced laws to protect children that would be much less invasive.

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The bills for laws aimed at regulating the Internet for the sake of child safety are, in my opinion,
extremely vague and broadsided. They give absolutely no definition of what should be considered
“obscene” or “harmful to minors.” Definitions annexed on to them are extremely broadsided and could not
only ban pornography but also things like information on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases,
birth control, breast cancer, certain forms of artwork, and many other things that should never be
considered “obscene.” However Internet censorship laws could potentially make it illegal to publish things
like this on the Internet, and in being so vague, there is plenty of room for abuse of laws like these.
Politicians could misuse these laws to ban things that they personally consider immoral or simply dont
like even if they arent considered “offensive to minors” by most people, abridging our rights to free
speech even further.


Aside from the vagueness of these proposed laws, they could prove impossible to enforce. Many
people who push laws like these are ignorant of how the Internet works or even what the Internet really is.
Most of these people argue that web site content should be regulated like television stations regulate the
content of their programs. However, the Internet is not a television. Unlike television, the Internet is
almost completely baseless, no one company has complete control of whats online as opposed to a
television station. And also unlike television, as well as most other forms of mass-media, its cheap and
easy to run a web site as opposed to a television show or a newspaper, thus rendering anyone with an
Internet connection, the right software and the know-how capable of publishing material on the Internet.
Another thing often overlooked by the Censorship supporters is the fact that the Internet is a worldwide
network. No US law could control the content of foreign web sites any more than that of foreign television
stations or newspapers, and a foreign web site is just as accessible as a domestic one.


There are numerous alternatives to government enforced laws to keep minors from accessing
“offensive” sites on the Internet. At home, the computer should be kept in a generally high-traffic area of
the house to make it easy to monitor a childs Internet usage. Another option, although I personally
disagree with it, would be to install blocking software that would restrict access to sites that contain key
words that would supposedly make the site “offensive.” Overall, I feel its the parents job to supervise a
childs Internet access and not the Federal Governments.


Of all the ways I feel that Internet censorship laws are wrong, the most important is the feeling
that these kind of laws are a violation to our constitutional rights to free speech as stated in the First
Amendment. The Internet is a new medium for free speech worldwide, and I think that it would be terribly
ironic if the United States should be the first nation to pass laws restricting this, for the sake of inefficiently
protecting minors from unproven “damaging” material.

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