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Freedom Of Cyber Speech

2147 words - 9 pages

Freedom of Cyber-Speech

 
     Freedom of speech has always been an important issue in American society.  With the advent of the Internet as a high-speed communication device, this issue has become even more prominent in recent years.  This paper will explore the issue of whether the Internet should be censored. Additionally, it will investigate possible methods for undertaking this censorship.

 

            Since 1787, the Constitution has been integral part of American society.  The First Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1791, reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [1]

 

For two hundred years, this amendment has been tested in many different ways.  Over the years, the government passed many laws that did, in fact, "abridge the freedom of speech" for a variety of reasons.  Now, new technology appears to be giving the government another issue in which it must decide if it should go against the literal interpretation of the Constitution.   This paper will show how content on the Internet can be seen as dangerous, and if it should be censored.  It will then investigate what strategies are being used to censor it.

 

            The Internet has provided a new and very powerful communication tool for Americans over the past several years.  With the Internet, ideas can be transferred faster than ever before.  Countless benefits have arisen with the development of the Internet, including powerful research resources, on-line shopping, and more.  However, with the good comes the bad.  The same networks that are used to transfer e-mail are also used to display pornography and hate messages.  This leads to two key questions that the American society must confront in the upcoming years:  Should the Internet be censored?  If so, how can the Internet be censored?

 

            There are many types of information on the Internet that can easily be found that can be considered "harmful" or "dangerous."  Among these include:

 

* Pornography:  There are an overwhelming number of pornographic sites available on the Internet.  In fact, a recent study has shown that approximately one out ever fifty websites contains sexually explicit material.[2]  Many people consider this to be harmful in at least one of several ways.  For one, it can be harmful to the viewers of the pornography.  Also, it may cause mental or moral damage to the people actually in the pornography.  Additionally, the protection of children from Internet pornography is an important issue.  In recent times, many children have become more computer-savvy than their parents.  With the power of the Internet, many children have the ability to easily view pornography.  One example of a well-known pornography site...

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