Censoring Internet
The freedom of speech that was possible on the Internet could now be
subjected to governmental approvals. For example, China is attempting to
restrict political expression, in the name of security and social stability. It
requires users of the Internet and e-mail to register, so that they can monitor
their activities (Gates). In the United Kingdom, state secrets and personal
attacks are off limits on the Internet. Laws are strict and the government is
extremely interested in regulating the Internet with respect to these issues
(Gates). Laws intended for other types of communication will not necessarily
apply in this group. Through all the components of the Internet it becomes easy
to transfer material that particular governments might find objectionably.

However, all of these ways of communicating on the Internet make up a large and
vast system. For inspectors to monitor every e-mail, every article in every

Newsgroup, every webpage, every IRC channel, every Gopher site, and every FTP
site would be near impossible. Besides taking as extraordinary amount of time
and money, attempts to censor the Internet violate freedom of speech, a right
that is included in democratic constitutions and international laws (Silencing
the Net...). It would be a breach of the First Amendment. The Constitution of
the united States of America Declares that "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
the people peaceably to asse3mble, and to petition the government for a redress
of grievances" (Constitution). Therefore it would be unconstitutional for
any sort of censorship to occur on the Internet. Even though it is illegal,
restrictions on Internet access and content are increasing worldwide under all
forms of government. In France, a country where the press generally has a large
amount of freedom, the Internet has been in the spotlight. A banned book on the
health History of former French president Francois Mitterrand was republished
electronically on the World Wide Web (www). To enforce censorship of the

Internet, free societies find that they are becoming more closed, and closed
societies find new ways to crush political expression and opposition (Silencing
the Net...). Vice President Al Gore, while at an international conference in

Brussels about the Internet, said that "Cyberspace is about protecting and
enlarging freedom of expression for all our citizens... Ideas should not be
checked at the border."(McCullagh) Another person attending that conference
was Ann Breeson of the American Civil Liberties Union. She is quoted as saying,
"Our big victory at Brussels was that we pressured them enough so that Al

Gore in his keynote address made a big point of stressing the importance of free
speech on the Internet."(McCullagh) Many other organizations have fought
against laws and have succeeded. A prime example of this is the fight that
various groups put on against the recent Communication Decency Act (CDA) of the

U.S. Senate. The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition, on February 26, 1996,
filed a historic lawsuit in Philadelphia against the U.S. Department of Justice
and Attorney General Janet Reno to make certain that the First Amendment of the

U.S.A would no be compromised by the CDA. Just the range of plantiffs alone
shows the dedication that is felt by many different people and groups to the
cause of tree speech on the Internet (Silberman). "Words like *censored*,
*censored*, piss, and tits. Words of which our mothers (at least some of them)
would no doubt disapprove, but which by no means would be regulated by the
government. Bet it\'s not just about dirty words. It\'s also it\'s also about words
like AIDS, gay, and breasts. It\'s about sexual content, and politically
controversial topics like drug addiction, euthanasia, and racism" (Irwin).

In France, a high court has struck down a bill that promoted the censorship of
the Internet. Other countries have attempted similar moves. The Internet cannot
be regulated like other things can simply because it is not the same as anything
else that we have. It is a totally new and unique form of communication and
deserves to be given a chance to prove itself. Laws of one country cannot be
enforced in another country and this is true with the Internet because the

Internet has no borders. Although North America has the largest share of
servers, the Internet is still a worldwide network. This means that domestic
regulations cannot oversee the rules of foreign countries. It would be just as
easy for an American teenager to download pornographic material from England as
it would be from down the street. One of the major