Censorship on the 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 electronic mail (e-mail) to register, so that it may monitor their activities. 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. Laws intended for other types of communication will not necessarily apply in this medium. Through all the components of the Internet it becomes easy to transfer material that particular governments might find objectionable. However, all of these means 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 an extraordinary amount of money and time, attempts to censor the Internet violates freedom of speech rights that are included in democratic constitutions and international laws. It would be a violation 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 assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" (1)
Therefore it would be unconstitutional for any sort of censorship to occur
on the Internet. Restrictions on Internet access and content are increasing worldwide under all forms of government. To enforce censorship of the Internet, free societies find that they become more repressive and closed societies find new ways to crush political
expression and opposition. Vice - President Al Gore said that "Cyberspace is about protecting and enlarging freedom of expression for all our citizens ... Ideas should not be checked at the border".(2) 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 26 February 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 not be compromised by the CDA. The range of plaintiffs alone, including the American Booksellers Association, the Freedom to Read Foundation, Apple, Microsoft, America Online, are amazing.
Words like shit, fuck, piss, and tits. Words of which our mothers would no doubt disapprove, but which by no means should be regulated by the government. But it\'s not just about dirty words. 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. Just recently 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 in the way of other mediums 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 can not hold jurisdiction in another country and holds true on the Internet because it has no borders.
Although the United States has the largest share of servers, the Internet is still a worldwide network. This means that regulations cannot oversee the rules of foreign countries. It would be just as easy for an American teen to download pornographic material from England, as it would be from down the street. One of the major problems is the lack of physical boundaries, making it difficult to determine where violations of the law should be prosecuted. There is no one place through which all information passes through. That was one of the key points that was stressed during the original days of the Internet, then called ARPANET. It started out as a defense project that would allow communication in the event of an emergency such as nuclear attack.