Internet Censorship

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Internet Censorship

Is Internet Censorship Needed?
Internet censorship seems to be the target of many debates nowadays in the U.S. due to the rising popularity of the internet and the large amounts of pornography, warez, illegal drugs, and general threats to society. It is a very hard subject to handle, after all no one really is in charge of the internet, and in fact no one really owns it except perhaps the “millions of people throughout the world who contribute to it in various ways” (Burton). The argument for censorship has been going on for at least 5 years now and no one really sees an answer being had anytime soon. Sure getting rid of all the unwanted content on the internet would perhaps make it more productive but can you stifle someone’s rights like that? The government thought so at one point and tried to pass a law to help filter the internet only to have it found unconstitutional soon after. So many people are affected by the internet either in the business place or at home it is going to be very hard to find a solution that satisfies everyone so maybe we should not censor it and just leave it how it is. Internet censorship may prove to make the internet more productive but by censoring it you would be bringing unwanted solutions upon people and also cripple their rights.
Sexually exploited material on the internet is in fact not a threat to our children and need not be filtered. One of the biggest arguments for internet censorship is by parents that do not want their kids corrupted by pornography on the internet. If you think about it though, how much of the internet is actually sexually explicit material? The amount of business pages, school pages, personal homepages, and computer related web pages far outweigh the amount of sexually explicit material. Miller agrees saying “Compared to the overall size of the Web, however, the proportion of sites that are devoted to sexually explicit material is small” (157). Although the actual amount of pornography sites on the web is small they are some of the most profitable e-businesses. “Despite the small number of Web sites devoted to sexually explicit material, commercial pornography sites are among the most profitable sites on the Web. In 1998, commercial pornography sites garnered between $750 million and $1 billion” (Miller 158). So if you tried to censor these sites you would be preventing people from making a living and denying their right to entrepreneurship. Since entrepreneurship helped found this country no one can deny someone that. Also has anyone thought what would happen to all the people who do intentionally visit these sites every day who are adults? “Nine million people visit sexually explicit Web sites each day according to The New York Times” (Miller 158). With the amount of legit people who look at these sites they would be missed. A lot of the activity on the internet has to do with the use of search engines and arguers for censoring the internet claim that pornographic sites are all over and you can’t tell the difference from other sites. What they fail to realize that anytime you use a search engine and bring up your results it has a description for each page. So if it is a pornographic site it will normally let you know that via the description. By banning, or filtering these sites the internet would be much more productive, but at the same time restricting the rights and wants of the people too. Since you can still find resources you need if you are a competent computer user and put your mind to it the people’s rights far outweigh the need to ban sexually explicit material.
The CDA (Communications Decency Act) and the COPA (Children Online Protection Act) are both bad examples of government regulation. In 1996 the CDA was passed stating that it was prohibited to “knowingly transmit any communication which is obscene or indecent, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under [eighteen] years of age” (Miller 68). It also “prohibited knowingly sending or displaying to a person under eighteen years of age any communication that, in context,

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