A Review of the development of Internet and Cyberlaw in United States
The history of Internet can be traced back to the Arpanet 1968, a military research network sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The ultimate purpose for the invention of the internet was to ensure the military communication during wartime. It was later developed to the private sectors and university researches in the 20th Century. This was the period of time when university students began to use Internet. Until today, the number of internet users increased accordingly. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, found out that 87% of the U.S. adults use Internet.
Figure 1 The survey conducted by the Pew Research Center regarding the number of Internet
users in 2014 in United States
With the rapid increase of Internet users, the governance questions are therefore aroused. The Cyberlaw was hence introduced. The Black’s Law Dictionary defines “Cyberlaw” as “ the field of law dealing with the Internet, encompassing cases, statutes, regulations, and disputes that affect people and business interacting through computers.”. Cyberlaw has been considered as a new emerging area of legislating the internet. However, the legislation of Cyberlaw is yet not mature to combat the emerging cybercrime as the Black law Dictionary still includes in its definition that Cyberlaw is an emerging area. The first creation of Internet Law was based on
the privacy law on internet usage in 1974. It was until 1996 that the Communication Decency Act was enacted attempting to regulate both indecency and obscenity in cyberspace. This act served as the first Cyberlaw ratified, aiming to regulate indecent materials online. However, many questioned that such regulation would violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. This question would be addressed in the paper.
Freedom of Expression and Internet
The First Amendment to the United States constitution claims that “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 assembly……”. This amendment prevents making laws that are oppressing the freedom of expression of the people. The freedom of expression was also recognized under the Universal Human Right Declaration, Article 19 mentioning that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference . The freedom of speech is the fundamental value of the political, economic and social construction of the United States to uphold a democratic society.
John Stuart Mill, the fundamentalist of some concepts in the U.S. Constitution, identifies several reasons for the moral importance of the protection of freedom of expression. The first reason is that the liberty of expression allows oppressed views, beliefs and...