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Internet Laws Essay, Research Paper

Internet Laws

Who has that right to make them?

The Internet is an international network of interconnected computers. It is the outgrowth of what began in 1969 as a military program called “ARPANET,” which was designed to enable computers operated by the military, defense contractors, and universities conducting defense-related research to communicate with one another by redundant channels even if some portions of the network were damaged in a war. While the ARPANET no longer exists, it provided an example for the development of a number of civilian networks that, eventually linking with each other, now enable tens of millions of people to communicate with one another and to access vast amounts of information from around the world. The Internet is “a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication.” The Internet wasn’t started by just one man it was a collection of many men who worked for the government of the United States. They stumbled across something that was new to everyone transporting information from one computer to another. This breakthrough in technology lead to the greatest invention known to man. However when the Internet was discovered it wasn’t perfect. It was slow and it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal, but steps were made in the right direction to perfect such a thing. Now days we have networks, modems, servers and much more to provide us easy, quick access to almost everything. However now days its gotten out of hand there are pedophiles who display child porn on the internet, there are companies that allow you to buy their product over the internet which can be then sold violating the patent and there are many more scenarios that need protecting. The government had to do something so it tried to create laws for such just such occasions.

Many laws that the Government tries to put on the Internet are not of the matter we would usually think. It’s not for child porn or for anything like that, but instead one of the first laws placed on the Internet was the Reform Act. “This act was passed in the senate with only 5 dissenting cotes, making it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say “shit” online. Or, for that matter to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media.” (Cyberspace Declaration of Independence) The article continues to speak of how this takes away the right to free speech, I disagree. The access to a file in which words of poor taste are displayed are granted but through a system of questions telling you of the material. As long as one answers the question of “Are you 18 years of age?” they completely remove themselves from becoming offended. Which is why the government set up the Reform act, which makes the user of the computer, specifying if they are above the age of 18. If such a question isn’t answered then the owner of the comment or of the web page has broken an Internet law.

However some laws don’t have a very long shelf life for example, two state Internet laws were struck down because they were ruled unconstitutional. In New York and in Georgia two state laws that were to protect children on the Internet against pedophiles and prevent anonymous communication in cyberspace.

“U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York ruled that a 1996 New York State law that made

it a crime to transmit pornographic material to minors over the Internet was a violation of a constitutional revision that bars states from intruding in peoples activities in other states. She added that only congress could legislate in this area.” (Cowles/Simba media Daily)

In the same kind of case U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob in Atlanta ruled that:

“Georgia could not enforce its recently enacted

law that makes it a criminal offense to be

anonymous in cyberspace because such a measure

is a violation of the First Amendment”

The area of the Internet has become a very confused matter in the world of law due to different states making laws. A law placed on the residents of Ohio can be enforced upon those people in Ohio. But it brings up the question of what state are you in when you are on the Internet. If you are talking to someone who lives in California and you are from Ohio who’s rules do you follow? This is why cases involving the Internet are not state matters and must be Federal matters and Federal Laws.

The invention of the computer was a great technological leap in the world where the world now has a program for everything. And now the World Wide Web makes it so that these programs can be transferred from computer to computer. This becomes a problem for now bulletin boards can be posted by anyone and pointing and clicking can make web pages. However there are many copyright products including programs that are around. And with the ease of web pages it can be set up for programs that someone has purchased to be given away free from bulletin boards. In the case State of Ohio vs. Perry, Perry uploaded a copyright program onto his bulletin board. Perry tried to get out of the charges by stating that “the prosecution of a violation of the unauthorized use statute is preempted by federal copyright laws.” (State of Ohio vs. Perry)

The government has taken steps to keep material that should not be seen by people under the age of 18 for example JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION ET AL.

This case was an answer to the many cases in state courts, which tried to keep this from happening inside the state lines. However this couldn’t happen because the Internet not only goes past the state lines but past international lines. States could do nothing but watch the Internet until the Federal court did something. This was that something.

Two provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA or Act) seek to protect minors from harmful material on the Internet, an international network of

Interconnected computers that enable millions of people to communicate with one another in “cyberspace” and to access vast amounts of information from around the world criminalizes the “knowing” transmission of “obscene or indecent” messages to any recipient under 18 years of age. Prohibits the “knowing” sending or displaying to a person under 18 of any message “that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs.” (lexis-nexis) Now these people that provide such sites are trying to say that it is a violation of their First Amendment Rights of freedom of speech.

The whole problem with the Internet is jurisdiction. And who has it, the answer is no one. There isn’t a single country in the world that has the right to place rules on what happens in cyberspace. What it comes down to is how can the world come to agreement with rules that should be on the Internet. Especially with Europe having much more lenient laws than the United States. The whole thing could just be a big mess, it would be almost impossible to create laws for everyone.


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