A social and
ethical essay task designed to provide students with a broader
insight into both the Internet and computer ethics.
beginning of time, men and women have fantasised over naked bodies.
Pornography has always been a part of life and yet it has never been
so readily available as what it is now. Erotic stories, explicit
pictures, XXX-rated films and modern day magazines, are all part of
the stimulus material which is known as “pornography” or as it is
legally put, “obscenity.” Is it ethically right for our children
to be looking at this erotic material at such an early age? Do we
have a twisted sense of morals if we support pornography? Or is it
just a natural part of life that should be nurtured and encouraged?
and more are springing to people’s lips as we enter the
technological age. The age of the Internet. Never before has
pornography been so readily available. Through mail-order, at secret
places around the schoolyard, or simply down at the local newsagent
or video store, pornography can be purchased in any form or media. I
know children, some as young as ten years, who have an unlimited
supply of pornography. They have been exposed to it from an early age
and it has become an addiction like smoking or drinking. Part of the
problem is that censorship laws are not enforced. Some newsagents
will sell a twelve-year-old, pornography, (legal age of 18) but will
not sell them a packet of cigarettes (legal age of 16 until June
1994). The obvious derivative from this statement is that fines and
punishments for selling pornography to underage persons are not high
enough. So why don’t we raise them? The answer to this question can
be found on the screen of every computer in the world. The Internet,
or as one person put it, “The closest thing to true anarchy that
has ever existed.”
How is one to
censor the Internet when it is literally impossible? What is the use
of placing fines for copying pornography when it is impossible to
tell the age of the user. How can one even trace the user when there
are twenty-five billion members and it is impossible to follow them
all. How can we delete the pornography when a new batch arrives every
day and it is impossible to stop it.
which makes censorship difficult, is the fact that censorship laws
have only recently being required. In England for instance,
censorship laws have, for hundreds of years, concentrated on heretic
materials, where as now, they are finding that the only offence
censorship is needed to prevent, is pornography. The US also want to
put strict censorship on all obscene material, however the first
amendment of their constitution states that,
be no law abridging the freedom of speech or press,” and so they
are finding it difficult to “step around,” the law.
It is obvious
that people are putting an effort in to censor the pornography,
however when it comes to censoring material which goes all over the
world, a balance must be found between the censorship laws of all the
countries that are hooked into the net. Here a problem arises,
because Denmark has no censorship of pornography, so obviously they
are going to be somewhat annoyed if it is banned from the Internet
since their laws state that it is perfectly legal. So an argument
occurs. How is the world to censor the Internet without causing
discrepancies between the different countries? Indeed, some people
say, “Why bother?”
So far, you have
seen that there would be a great difficulty involved in censoring the
Internet. So the other side of the argument, presented by the
economists and pornography fanatics, is that, why should we censor
the Internet when perhaps it is not needed. There are many people in
the world who will tell you that pornography is a harmless part of
life. Artists will tell you that the naked body is a picture of
beauty, grace and style. Authorities in Denmark will say that
pornography is a valued part of their society and psychologists will
tell you that pornography reduces the rate of sexual abuse and rape.
Indeed, the human body is a natural part of life in all of it’s
forms, so why do we regard the naked body as been obscene. Is it not
stated in the bible that wisdom told us to where clothes? And did it
not also state that God did not want us to have wisdom? So can it not
also be said, that God did not want us to wear clothes and so
therefore, he was encouraging pornography? This argument seems to
demolish the religious fanatics who say that we will burn in hell for
looking at obscene materials.
After looking at
both sides of the argument, it is obvious to see that some middle
point must be reached between the two. Pornography on the Internet
cannot be totally band and yet it cannot be accessed by any user as
our society’s ethics are against children looking at pornography. A
set of ethics or laws must be devised that will satisfy each and
every country which is on the Internet. It must be devised by a
governing party such as the United Nations, or by a committee which
has representatives from each country.
My evaluation of
the argument and my recommendations are as follows, Pornography which
is stored on the Internet must be placed in an area which can be
accessed only be a password, as well as identification which proves
that the user is over eighteen. (e.g. A drivers license number.)
Pornography, which is found on public bulletin boards, must be
deleted immediately. This is the responsibility of not only the
governing committee, but also the user. Files, which are identified
as pornography, are to be traced and any under eighteen users are to
be fined accordingly. Viewers of pornography who are over eighteen
are to remain strictly confidential. No personal data is to be
released unless it is required for National Security ecetera.
recommendations, if carried out on the Internet, would provide the
world with a pornography-safe network, one that could be used by
children and adults alike across the globe.
Electronic Encyclopedia, Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc, 1990
Magazine, James Button, December 13th, 1993
Magazine, Philip Elmer-Dewitt, July 25th, 1994
and Silence, Susan Griffin, 1981
Obcenity and the Law, Felix Lewis, 1976
6) The End of
Obscenity, Charles Rembar, 1968
Obscenity and the Law, Lester Sobel, 1978
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