In recent years, pornography has established itself as perhaps the most controversial topic arising out of the use of the Internet. The easy availability of this type of sexually explicit material has caused a panic among government officials, family groups, religious groups and law enforcement bodies and this panic has been perpetuated in the media.
One of the unique challenges to regulating or settling on the appropriate way to regulate is that there is no concrete definition of pornography. While law enforcement bodies such as the police, prosecutors and judges, are accustomed to dealing with issues that are exclusive to the United States, the Internet is a worldwide community with servers and members coming from hundreds of countries. Defining "pornographic content" on a global level has not been easy because of different moral and legal variations. In the United States one type of act may be defined as being "hard-core porn", however, another country could see this act as much less offensive. So while the United States may try to regulate one level of pornography, a person could go find it on a website launched from another country. This is one the problems that is being acknowledged when trying to find a way of dealing with the pornography on the Internet.
There are two real issues at stake when looking at this controversial topic. The first issue is finding a way to protect our children from potentially damaging material. There are advocates to censoring the Internet and removing this type of material because it will help shelter our children from this type of content. On the other hand, Free Speech advocates believe that it is the individual citizens right to have access to this type of material. So the real issue here is finding a way to regulate the Internet in a way that doesn't limit adults but still provides protection for children. The second real issue is finding a way to regulate and enforce the removal of material that is agreed upon as being inappropriate for anyone to have on the Internet. I am specifically touching on the issue of child pornography. While it is illegal in the United States, as it is in many countries, government and law enforcement officials are having a difficult time catching offenders who post this type of material. So with this type of problem concerning pornography this issue is not deciding on appropriate means of regulation, but rather how to enforce the regulation already in place.
It is obvious that for years, the government has been trying to regulate this type of content but has seen very limited success. Part of the reason for this is because certain regulatory actions intended to protect only a small group, such as children, should not require the prohibition of material that adults have access to in other arenas. It is for example, legal for people to rent pornographic movies or buy nude magazines, so distribution of this type of material on the...