The Vast Cyberfrontier Is Being Threatend With Censorship From The Government

.. nternet.25 Only nine out of 11,000 Web pages contained anything obscene yet Time still said, “There’s an awful lot of porn online.”26 “[Cyberspace] is a safe space in which to explore the forbidden and taboo. It offers the possibility for genuine, unembarrassed conversations about accurate as well as fantasy images of sex,” said Carlin Meyer, a professor at New York Law School.27 “It is clearly a violation of free speech and it’s a violation of the rights of adults to communicate with each other,” House speaker Newt Gingrich shared.28 In a Time/CNN poll conducted by Yakelovich Partners, 1000 people were involved and 42% were for FCC-like control over sexual content on the computer networks, but 48% were against it. Towns supports the effort which Reps. Christopher Cox (R-Calif) and Ron Wyden(D-Ore) are working for.

Cox and Wyden encourage development of smart programs such as SurfWatch, which restricts access to files at home. The Cox-Wyden proposal would make individuals responsible for censorship, this would prohibit the governments interaction. Based on a poll takes in Black Enterprises 32% of those in the poll think the a new Internet governing body should control online services while another 32% say the users should followed by 16% saying a private enterprise should, and 15% saying none should, then lastly 6% believe the government is the right system for the job.29 The MIT media Lab’s Webhound project allows World Wide Web users to assign a number which rates each Web page seen. Webhound can then point someone toward Web pages of their own interests. The Home Net project which started February and goes until June 1997, gave computers to 50 Pittsburgh families and monitors their use. Out of 157 people surveyed, less then 20% viewed anything sexually oriented more the twice.30 “Places that provide erotica on the Internet are wild about the idea of voluntary ratings, they don’t want to sell to kids,” Nathaniel Borenstein the designer of Kid Code stated.31 The government itself is the largest buyer of pornograp! hic magazines in the form of sales to military bases and also requires sex education on children in public schools.

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A new development being worked on now is Kid Code. This would allow a rating system for each web-page, the user then would be allowed to set the ratings of the pages allowed to their children.32 Other protective programs are also available such as The Internet Filter, which sends e-mail to the parents if a child enters a sex site.33 Cyber Patrol is time sensitive and allows restraint on certain times of use and total time online can be set by parents not wanting their kids be on the Internet all day instead of doing their homework, or not allowing them to be on after 9pm.34 SurfWatch comes with a list of sites containing sexual material that may not be changed. With CyberSitter, parents can add to the menu to unwanted sites but not remove any.35 SurfWatch denies access to sites such as Hustler automatically, it also restrains newsgroups with words like “porno”, “xxx”, or “sex” in their topic.36 Microsystems Software’s CyberPatrol program filters 12 content subjects such as sex, violence, and hate speech, then parents can add sites to a “CyberNet” list.37 Indecent material is protected by the First Amendment, much of the materials printed in America including articles from Cosmopolitan magazine or James Joyce’s Ulysses could be called indecent. Many civil-rights groups were involved in calling the bill unconstitutional and prevents the citizen’s rights to free speech and privacy. If the U.S. succeeds in censoring the Internet, they will be in a position to mediate much more then just porn. Anything they wished could be controlled such as private conversations to each other.

Porn, sex, smut isn’t only found on the Internet, it can be found in books, magazines, films, television, music video, newspapers and many other places. People can walk into a corner video store and walk out with a pornographic video at only $4 a night. A team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, conducted an extremely detailed study of online porn.38 Some of their findings resulted in their conclusion in which the trading of sexually explicit pictures is one of the largest recreational past times of Internet users.39 At one unnamed university, 13 of 40 most frequently visited newsgroups had names like “”, “rec.arts.erotica,” and “”40 71% of sexual images on the Internet originally can from the thousands of privately owned BBS’s whose operators sell their contents at a mere $10 to $30 a month(long distance call not included), the largest of these take major credit cards and make up to an excess of $1 million a year.41 The team found consumers in more then 2,000 cities in all 50 states and 40 countries, also in China, where possession of pornography can be a capital offense.42 The censorship of the Internet should be the responsibility of the child’s parents and not the governments responsibility. There are many options for a parent to use when restraining their child such as informing themselves better about what’s in the Internet and taking precautions before hand. The average adult with children on the Internet might very well likely not know as much as the child. Perhaps a reason people want the government to censor it is because they don’t want to take the time it takes to learn about the Internet and find a private censor program. A parent’s laziness is no reason to restrict others who enjoy spending their time collecting ‘indecent’ pictures or reading medical documents about sex.

The government admitted to being Internet ‘dumb’ and not knowing of the goings on held within a person’s computer screen, when one person could be skimming for subjects like fantasy role-playing games, another person might be secretly trading child porn. With over 30 million users on the Internet, no one can guarantee that no pornography will stray down from someone. Footnotes 1. “Background Information,” Editorial On File, June 16-30, 1995, p.728 2. “Background Information,” Editorial On File, February 1-15, 1996, p.148 3. John Barlow, “Thinking locally, acting globally,” Time, January 15, 1996, EBSCO-CD 4. E.O.F., June 16-30, 1995. 5. Philip Elmer-Dwitt, “On a screen near you: Cyberporn,” Time, July 3, 1995, EBSCO-CD 6. Julian Dibbell, “Muzzling the Internet,” Time, December 18, 1995, EBSCO-CD 7. Steven Levy, “No place for kids?” Newsweek, July 3, 1995, EBSCO-CD 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. E.O.F., June 16-30, 1995 11. Levy. 12. Ibid.

13. Barlow. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Fonda Lloyd, “Is it wise to censor the net?” Black Enterprise, December, 1995, EBSCO-CD 17. Lloyd. 18. E.O.F., June 1-15, 1996 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Levy. 22. Dwitt. 23. Ibid.

24. Ibid. 25. Renee Olson, “Critics say Time exaggerated cyberporn threat,” School Library Journal October, 1995, EBSCO-CD 26. Dwitt. 27. Ibid. 28. Ibid. 29. Lloyd. 30. Olson.

31. Levy. 32. Ibid. 33. Ibid. 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid. 36. Robin M. Bennefield, “When kids prowl the net, parents need to be on guard,” U.S.

News, April 29, 1996, EBCSO-CD 37. Ibid. 38. Dwitt. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. Bibliography “Background Information.” Editorial On File, Vol 27, Number 3, February 1-15, 1996, p 148.

“Background Information.” Editorial On File, Vol 26, Number 12, June 16-30, 1995, p. 728. Elmer-Dwitt, Philip. “On a Screen Near You: Cyberporn.” Time July 3, 1995, EBSCO-CD. Lloyd, Fonda. “Is it Wise to Censor the Net?” Black Enterprise, December, 1995, EBSCO-CD.

Dibbell, Julian. “Muzzling the Internet.” Time December 18, 1995, EBSCO-CD. Levy, Steven, and others. “No Place for Kids?” Newsweek, July 3, 1995, EBSCO-CD. “Background Information.” Editorial On File, Vol. 27, Number 11, June 1-15, 1996, p. 700.

Barlow, John, “Thinking Locally, Acting Glabally.” Time, January 15, 1996, EBSCO-CD. Sirico, Robert A. “Don’t censor the Internet.” Forbes, July 29, 1996, EBSCO-CD. Olson, Renee, and others. “Critics say Time Exaggerated Cyberporn Threat.” School Library Journal, October, 1995, EBSCO-CD. Spertus, Ellen.

“Filtering the Net.” Technology Review, October, 1995, EBSCO-CD.