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Censorship 2 Essay, Research Paper

The Internet is one of the technologies that are widely used in the world. It is also one of the most controversial technologies. The government wants to put some regulations on the Internet. These regulations mainly consist of the censorship of it. These regulations are lead by the Communications Decency Act. This censorship causes a lot of problems to its users. People are arguing that all this censoring would run people away from it. Other people believe that censorship has been needed to control all the indecent material that reaches the eyes of minors.

The Internet first came into being in the military. It was first known as the ARPANET (ARPA stands for the Advanced Research Projects Agency). There were many universities, corporations, and governmental agencies using the ARPANET by the 1980 s. The ARPANET died out by 1989 and what was left from that is what we know now as the Internet. Today there are over 40 million people connected to the Internet and an expected 200 million to be connected by the end of the century.

The Internet is being censored by a few regulations. The one that sticks out the most is the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which is part of the Telecommunications of 1996. The Communications Decency Act, which was enacted on February 8, 1996, it basically a law that criminalizes the

use of any computer network to display any indecent material without an effective method to restrict access to that material from anyone under the age of 18. Many of the Internet experts and authors of books on the Internet believe that the Communications Decency Act is a danger to the freedom of speech over the Internet. The inclusion of the Communications Decency Act menaces the freedom of speech and privacy rights of everyone. (Russell Wodell)

Another reason while the Internet should not be banned is because it would cost more for companies to make web sites. One of the reasons computer networks were successful because of the low costs. One of the primary reasons networks like the Internet have grown so fast as they have is the freedom from regulation (Solvieg Bernstein). (Computer equipment manufactures and designers were never burdened with any regulations. Competition was fierce and it forces prices down helping it grow faster. Now with the CDA is action there is a little change. It is no affordable way for low-profit speakers and non-profit companies to restrict access to a broad defined category of material that might be categorized as indecent. This bans speech on the Internet for some people and therefore the CDA is unconstitutional. (Solveig Bernstein)

The CDA also makes it harder to cruise around on the Internet. No more just typing in the web site that you want to visit and hitting enter. If that site that you would like to see has something, which is considered indecent, people would have to obtain a PIN number and/or a credit card number. This also will chase people away from using the Internet. Many people do not want to take the chance of sending their credit card number over the Internet or going through all the trouble of getting a PIN number. They also would not like to have to type it in every time they go to a different web site.

The CDA restricts young people from some web sites that can be helpful to them. It restricts access from information about breast cancer, causes and the spread of AIDS, all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, and about various forms of sexually transmitted diseases, etc. All this information that is banned from the Internet but can be picked up from off a library shelf. An example of this is taken from Nadine Strossen s Burning down the Net. The client owns a web site that offers information on safe sex using street language and explicit diagrams, designed for a teenage audience. This client does not want to apply an explicit rating to his site, because it would cause it to be

blocked, but if he does not rate his site it will be still blocked though (Nadine Strossen).

Some people say that the CDA is a good idea. That it will stop young children from seeing obscene pictures and reading explicit material. This is the main reason for the CDA. This problem can be solved right at home. If the parents do not want their children to look at indecent material they must be responsible enough to supervise their children while they are surfing the net. For the people who can t watch their children there are a lot of tools out there to block or filter out all of the web sites with indecent materials.

My thoughts of censorship are held by some of the authors of books on the Internet. It should not be censored and the CDA should be reversed. The CDA helps the government get one more step toward taking over the Internet. The government has put a long line of self-regulatory measures that are in fact coerced by threats of more direct control from the government (Nadine Strossen).

Internet censorship is a way for the government to control the things that we do. It the way of the government saying that we are not responsible enough to handle things on our own. The Telecommunications Act pushes aside the parents who accept the responsibility of monitoring their

children s use of computer services and places that responsibility in the federal government s hand (Russell Wodell). Parents, not the government could and should choose what happens during their child s time on the Internet. All the censorship on it will pull down communication on the Internet to a child s level of maturity.

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