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Can the Internet Be Regulated?One of the basic rights that Americans have today is in jeopardy; that right is freedom of speech. As of now U.S. citizens are restricted on what they can say and post on the Internet. This is due to the fact of the Communications Decency Act. This act is part of the Telecommunications Bill of 1996, and severely restricts what we can do and say on the Internet. He prime goal of this bill was to curtail the availability of indecent material to minors; but for those of us who are not minors this bill purely unconstitutional. The reason for this bill is understandable, pornography is not something immature audiences are ready to see; but not allowing individuals who are of age and want to see it is a crime. They are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to be able look at or purchase those materials. The first amendment only allows free speech in printed media’s, but a media type that is broadcast. This is for the simple reason that no matter what you do, broadcasting are going to sent into your homes weather or not you want them. This is where people have run into problems with the Internet. Is it broadcast or a printed media? Marty Bruce brings up an important analogy, of the Internet compared to a library. Bruce says that, “When a person sits down at a computer terminal and explores the Internet, it is almost the same as if they were in a library, took a book off the shelf, and began reading it.” This was said because you can restrict yourself to what materials you read based on what the card catalog tell you. This sounds good for those individuals who are of age and can legally access web pages that are considered illegal for minors to access. But technology today allows the parents of a child too not only restrict the child’s access on the Internet, but also on television. The technology for television has been labeled the V-chip. This chip allows parents to select what channels or even programs are not acceptable for their children. This technology is also available on the Internet. Today Internet providers are required to give the main user of the service the ability to block the use of web pages that are designated “bad” or “for use only by mature audiences only”. Also, most pages require that the user subscribe using a credit card and give the following information: Social Security number, birth date, address, home phone, and work phone. This information is used to determine if the user is a minor or not.

The debate of weather or not the Internet is a broadcast or printed media, can be simply solved. As I stated earlier, broadcast signals are going to enter your homes no matter what you do to stop them; but an individual actually goes out and buys products that allow them to access the Internet. This is the same as the library analogy. If the service does not provide a control on what other users of the service in the household can use, the individual can choose not to purchase the product. I do believe that their needs to be some sort of regulation of the Internet for minors. I feel this way because there is explicit material that they are not ready for, but cutting into the enjoyment of the Internet of adults is unconstitutional. I know our fore fathers didn’t have any idea what advances technology would have, but until the United States government passes an amendment saying we do not have free speech, the Communications Decency Act is illegal.

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