The vast cyber-frontier is being threatend with censorship from the government Thesis: The vast cyber-frontier is being threatend with censorship from the government. Internet censorship should be left up to the individual not the governments discretion. I. Censoring the Internet. A.
Clinton passes the C.D.A. B. Our rights as Americans. C. Exon’s victory. D.
What’s really online. E. Strike to free expresson on Compuserve. II. Where the Internet stands now.
A. Judges Panel. B. Congress and other’s opinions. C.
Background information. D. Other opinions. III. Solutions. A.
Family’s responsibility. B. Censorship Software. C. Civil Rights.
* Conclusion. After threatening the Communications Decency Act with a vetos of the past versions, President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law on February 8, 1996.1 Before hand, congress approved the largest change of the nation’s communications laws in 62 years. One of the largest controversial topics included in the bill is the censorship of pornography, which now is a strenuously enforced crime of distributing knowingly to children under 18. The congress overwhelmingly passed the bill with a landslide 414-16 House vote and a 91-5 Senate vote.2 It seems now that the wide bill might not be what it cracked up to be, as it stands now, anyone who might upload James Joyce’s Ulysses could be placed in jail for two years and have up to a $250,000 fine.3 Representatives of on-line services industries were concerned about the bill, and feared they could be held criminally responsible for Internet conversations.4 “We face a unique disturbing and urgent circumstance, because it is children who are the computer experts in our nations families,” remarked a concerned Rep. Senator of India Dan Coats.5 Although in reality, censorship would do little to stop the pornography problems. The bill is a nation legislation trying to control a international network, which is virtually impossible.
According to the First Amendment, Americans were granted to write anything they please, whether it’s indecent or not, several series of judicial decisions also helped the freedom down the road.6 Nebraskan Democrat James Exon, put together an informational binder known as the Blue Book to show the Senate about the goings on within the Internet.7 Along the pages of the Blue Book were pictures of people bound and being burned by cigarettes, people pierced with swords and people involved in sexual activities with animals.8 The Senate, acknowledging their ignorance of the Internet, passed Exon’s proposal after seeing the pictures in the Blue Book.9 Along with distribution of pornography, a person carries the chance of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine which is a good reason to restrict much of the flow.10 The Internet is extremely massive, filled with usenet newsgroups, web pages, IRC channels, ftp sites, gopher sites and much more. The Internet is the last and largest frontier of uncensored speech, anything from friendly chat to child porn to bestiality goes on. Pictures of anything that can be imagined are most likely available to the searcher. Some estimate that over 30 million people are on the Internet. On IRC(Internet-Relay-Chat) a live time conversation can be held along with trading files from illegal computer game trading called warez to illegal picture trading goes on.
‘Cybersex’ is also a occupance that happens more in live chat areas then others. MUDs or Multi-User-Dungeons, live chat like IRC was first started for Role Playing uses like online Dungeons and Dragons, now among the MUD servers there are sexual MUDs for people interested in S&M along with other fetishes. Usenet newsgroups account for 11.5% of total Internet traffic and is a major distribution of smut pictures.11 The WWW also known as the World Wide Web is today’s largest portion of the Internet as well as the fastest growing with well over 12 million pages accessible. Despite its gargantuan proportions, it still remains fairly clean from hardcore smut comparative to its size. BBSs seem to be the major uproar of censorship, although BBSs are NOT part of the Internet, many of their pictures found in them later become available to users via someone uploading them.12 Electronic Bulletin-Board Systems(BBSs) require a user to dial that computer directly thought the phone lines resulting in long distance charges and often monthly access fees. In late December of 1995, a prosecutor in Munich struck a devastating blow to Compuserve and the larger picture of freedom of expression.13 This prosecutor was able to prevent the flow of information for 4 million people in 140 countries.14 By merely informing Compuserve that it was breaking Baravian law by giving German residents access to sexual newsgroups, Compuserve removed any newsgroup that had titles with “sex”, “gay”, or “erotic” which in turn denied access to not only Germany users but all its users.15 On June 12, 1996, three federal judges in Philadelphia, PA, ruled that the 1996 Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment to the Constitution. The panel comprised of three dedicated judges Stewart Dalzell, Dolores K.
Sloviter, and Ronald L. Backwalter. They voiced their opinion about the censorship and say that the bill is unconstitutional. The panel believes that the Internet must be protected since it is an important form of expression and free speech. The judges enacted a restraining order preventing enforcement of the unconstitutional act.
“It’s virtually impossible [to regulate the Net] because of the global nature of this communications device. It would mean monitoring every phone call [into the Internet], which is impossible to do,” stated David Ellington, the C.E.O. of NetNoir.16 “My boss supports First Amendment Freedoms, but is also supportive of protection of decency,” the legislative assistant to Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY), Khalil Munir responds.17 “As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion,” judge Stewart Dalzell offered.18 Dalzell believes that the Internet is a good place which allows its users the largest environment for free expression and speech.19 Dalzell assure that the Decency Act is not required to protect children from pornography.20 The July 3 report, “On a Screen Near You: Cyberporn,”[Time] was based on a Carnegie Mellon University study. Led by student Martin Rimm, researchers said they found more then 900,000 sexually explicit images and text files online, but neglected to point out that most came from privately owned adult bulletin boards with no connection to the Internet.[School Library Journal, October, 1995, EBSCO-CD] After hitting the newsstands, the magazine quickly found its way to the floor of the U.S.
Senate. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked to have the entire article entered into the Congressional Record in support of his bill S.892, the Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995. “There is a flood of vile pornography,” Grassley told fellow senators, “and we must act to stem this growing tide, because . .
. it incites perverted minds.”[School Library Journal, October, 1995, EBSCO-CD] In a seven week period the Smithsonian Institution’s web site gathered a total of 1.9 million visits, and in a seven day time during June, Playboy took in 4.7 million visits.21 Most of the pictures available on the Internet were at some point in time scanned from a magazine or other places which photos as such are found. Many private BBSs do business in taking free photos to scan for people then keep a copy of the picture for their site. Pornographic images only represent about 3% of all messages on the Usenet newsgroups although Carnegie Mellon found that 83.5% of Usenet newsgroup pictures were pornographic.22 The Usenet itself is extremely small compared to other portions of the Internet and only consists of 11.5% of overall traffic. The Carnegie Mellon team surveyed 917,410 sexually explicit pictures while doing their research on the Internet.23 98.9% of the online porn seekers are men according to private BBS operators, the same operators which require fees to gain entrance.24 Researches say that even though the 83.5% of images in usenets were pornographic that still only represents less the one-half of one percent of all traffic on the I …