Censorship of the Internet

Censorship of the Internet Threatens to Destroy it,

While Wide Spread Encryption Could Prevent the Need

for

Government Intervention.




by


Pedja Stojanovic
EN109
Prof. Thurston
































ABSTRACT


Computerization has influenced everyone\'s life during the last decade. This global net allows a person to send E-mail across the world in mere fractions of a second, and enables common people to access information world-wide. The Internet as network is key to the future of our society.
However, the key to the world-wide success of the Internet, its protection of free speech, not only in America, but in other countries where free speech is not protected by the constitution is now threatened. The newest wave of laws going through law-making bodies around the world threatens to ruin it for all. Recently, the US Congress has been considering passing laws that will make it a crime punishable by jail to send "vulgar" language over the net, and to export encryption software. No matter how small, any attempt at government intervention in the Internet will suppress the greatest communication innovation of this century. The government wants to gain and maintain control over this new form of communication, and they are trying to use the protection of children etc... as a smoke screen to pass laws that will allow them to regulate and censor he Internet. Censorship of the Internet threatens to destroy its free atmosphere, while wide spread encryption could help prevent the need for government intervention.
This paper will point out how any form of censorship is bound to fail and that government banned encryption could solve the problem. Privacy may well be the key to wider acceptance of the Internet.


















































INTRODUCTION


The Internet began in the 1960\'s. In 1962, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense developed a network of computers called ARPAnet. At first, this network only connected military and government computer systems. The purpose was to make all information safe, so that in disaster or war, if one computer was destroyed, it\'s information would not be lost.
In 1966, the ARPAnet was expanded to include universities and other institutions. One of the first universities to be added was Utah State University. Soon, large companies and corporations were added, too. By 1990, anyone with a computer, a modem, and Internet software could connect to the Internet. (Sterling)


During the past decade, our society has become based on the ability to
move large amounts of information across large distances quickly. Computerization has
surely influenced everyone\'s life. The natural evolution of computers, and this need for
ultra-fast communications has caused a global network of interconnected computers
to develop. This global net allows a person to send E-mail across the world in mere
fractions of a second, and enables even the common person to access information
world-wide. The World Wide Web is made up of sites, collections of files that can be set
up in a matter of hours, often for free, and allow unlimited distribution of information on
virtually any subject. Usenet is a collection of newsgroups or bulletin boards containing
messages centered on their own specific topics. Users can read each others’ messages or
post or cancel their own. With advances such as software that allows users with a sound
card to use the Internet as a carrier for long distance voice calls and video conferencing,
this network is key to the future of the knowledge society. At present, this net is the
abstract of the American first amendment: free speech. It is a place where people can
speak their mind without being reprimanded for what they say, or how they choose to say
it.
The key to the world-wide success of the Internet is its protection of free speech,
not only in America, but in other countries where free speech is not protected by a
constitution. To be found on the Internet is a huge collection of obscene graphics,
Anarchists\' cookbooks and countless other things, many of which could be considered
tasteless. With such a high volume of everyday users, those things are bound to offend
someone The newest wave of laws floating through law making bodies around the world
threatens to stifle this area of spontaneity. Recently, Congress has been considering
passing laws that will make it a crime punishable by jail