Freedom of Speech: Abused from Abroad

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Freedom of Speech: Abused from Abroad
Peter A. Purdon
CSC302X - Social, Legal and Ethical Issues in Computing
Connie Eyle, Instructor

Foreign hate groups are using America’s servers to circumvent their countries restrictions. As a responsible international citizen, America should revise our policies to allow the restriction of this right as applied to non-American groups hosting their message in our country. The constitution allows for the freedom of speech to all our citizens but does not specify this right being extended to those who do not reside or live here. The constitution was designed to protect us from tyranny and abuse by government and dictators. Our policies need to protect us from those that would slander a segment or our population. Foreign hate groups direct their views to those protected by the same document that affords them their right to post. Freedom of Speech: Abused from Abroad

The first amendment protects the rights of Americans to have free speech even if that speech is hate speech but it should not be used to protect foreign hate speech just because it is hosted on an American server. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world. (Liptak, 2008) Given the nearly unanimous international institution of regulations restricting online hate speech, the United States stands alone in its support of free speech—including Internet hate speech. (Breckheimer, 2011) These are good examples of our first amendment and how it is perceived across the globe. We are known for our liberal view of free speech protections and based on our history of oppression by monarchs and the purpose for us to seek a new land to call our own it fits our nation well to have such an amendment in place to protect the rights of our citizens. I feel that this very right is being abused by foreign hate groups who not only direct their rhetoric towards others in their own countries but also towards U.S. Citizens who are being protected by the very document that allows them to be harassed from afar. Many countries that we consider our allies have laws that prohibit hate speech and they level severe penalties upon those who break these laws. I support the right to free speech for every American as accorded by the first amendment. I do not support providing that same right to those who are not Americans and do not hold themselves to the same values that we Americans hold ourselves to. Free speech is just one of the things that make Americans unique in the world. To claim the right of first amendment free speech you need to be an American citizen. Our first amendment was not meant to be used as a shield for foreign dissidents wishing to bypass their countries laws. As a world citizen the United States needs to make certain that we respect each country for it rules and regulations as we would wish them to respect ours. We need to change our foreign policy to reflect the fact that our constitution was meant for Americans and not for the world. To allow foreign groups to host their messages on our servers even if we agree with their message shows that we as a nation do not respect the governing body of the nation and it’s laws. We should be extra vigilant to protect our citizens from the ranting’s of foreign hate groups. The first amendment was meant to protect the citizens of the United States and not those wishing to belittle and malign its citizens. Paul Przybylski wrote that because many servers, and especially those that spread hate speech content, are stationed within the United States, any solution without U.S. participation severely limits the effectiveness of any international regulation. (Przybylski, 2011) The fact that we house so many sites that allow hate speech to exist from abroad invites the groups wanting to be heard to use our core values as a shield. Since we hold free speech so dear to our core values as...
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