The Web of Hate
Technology has provided our society with numerous innovations that have been created to improve the quality of life on a daily basis. One such innovation is the Internet. The access to a wide variety of information is perhaps the most valuable tool, as well as the most important tool, that we have entering the twenty-first century. There are virtually no limits on how much can be achieved through the use of the Internet. This is not, however, necessarily a good thing. Most people find that offensive material such as child pornography and hate-related propaganda can be viewed by people too easily via the Internet. While child pornography is a detestable subject, it does not have the sort of appeal that a hate group website does in that there are stricter guidelines preventing individuals from attaining child pornography material from the Internet. These stricter guidelines include the Communications Decency Act (1995), which forbids the use of the Internet for such purposes as attaining material of a child pornographic nature (Wolf, 2000). This law can also be used to monitor the hate group websites, but since the law is too broad, it is rarely held up in court. The hate group websites do, however, have a large enough following that there is legislation being formed to specifically target the material on the sites. Despite the highly offensive nature of hate group websites, the sites should not be censored because the right to free speech must be preserved. In this paper we will define what is considered to be hateful content; why this hateful content should be protected; what else can be done to monitor this material on the Internet; and when are the people creating and serving these websites to be held legally responsible for the content on them.
HATE AND HATE GROUPS
It is important to determine what exactly is “hate” and a “hate group”. A hate group is an organization of individuals who believe that another group of individuals, be it ethnic or religious or both, is wrong or evil. The hate group prides itself on the common background of its members who usually share the same religious views as well as ethnicity. Some well known hate groups include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Aryan Nation to name a few. These groups are primarily white Christians and oppose blacks, Asians, Hispanics, homosexuals, and Jews. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there are hundreds of hate groups in the United States alone who maintain websites that are accessed by thousands. Now that we have defined what a hate group is made up of, we must further look at what hateful material consists of. Simple opinions of people do not necessarily constitute hate. You can for instance, have a web site stating that you “hate” a certain music group and this would not necessarily be considered hateful content, because you are allowed to express your opinion of the music that...