ENL 111 5.3
December 9, 2000
Censorship of the Internet
"We should demand that all public schools and libraries install and configure Internet Filters." This statement shows how Jeffery Pollock, a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat in Oregon, views the Internet. Unfortunately for him, the one thing that he ranted and raved about was the one thing that gave him an unfair disadvantage in the in the upcoming elections. (Blind Ballots) Cyber Patrol, One of the leading Internet censoring companies and is used in over 17,000 schools in the Untied States, actually blocked his website from potential voters. Needless to say, when Mr. Pollock discovered this injustice, some of his views about Internet censorship changed. But Mr. Pollock isn't the only candidate whose chances of winning are diminished because of Internet censoring software. In Fact, The two leading school censoring products Cyber Patrol and N2H2 Bess, used in over 40,000 schools and school districts across the nation, also blocked millions of people from viewing Pat Casey's website, Mark Greene's website, and over 37 other candidates' campaign homepages. Most of the millions of people blocked from these campaign pages are also blocked from many pages dealing with gynecology, sex education, racism, gambling, ethics, teen parenting, and the list continues. (Blind Ballots)
Certainly in some situations, censorship of some material can be justified. For Yorwarth 2
example, A first grade teacher takes her students to the computer lab for a day, the teacher wouldn't want the kids getting hounded by hundreds of porn sites, but would it really make a difference if a six year old kid was using a censored internet or uncensored internet? A kid is not going to be looking for anything that has to do with porn or anything remotely close to getting blocked. If a child goes to Yahoo and searches for cartoons or the mighty morphin' power rangers, they will not get pummeled by so called "bad" internet sites, so there will not be anything to censor anyway.
Middle School and High School students across the nation are often required to do research papers and the Internet is a logical source because it contains so much useful information. It would be much harder for a senior in high school to find information about sex education or sexually transmitted diseases on a censored internet because the current software simply can't tell the difference between the sites with good information and the garbage sites, so the program just blocks it all. It would be beneficial to censor the Internet in schools if the censoring program actually worked; sadly none of the programs are good enough and actually do more harm than good. If there is a student who wants to find porn on the Internet, he will because the censoring programs suck. Not only will he find the porn, but also he will not get into trouble for it because since it is censored only good sites that are approved are available. When I was in high school, I did an Ecology paper and the censoring program actually blocked out informational internet pages about black bears and bullfrogs, simply because it contained information about mating habits, which is ridiculous. Yorwarth 3
Many highly respectable organizations are completely against Internet censorship. One such organization is the American Library Association or ALA. The ALA is against any type of censoring software or programs in any of their affiliations across the nation. In Fact, a line in the ALA code of ethics specifically states, "We uphold the principles of intellectual Freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources."(Weckert 44) There is no mistaking that the ALA is against censorship. Another highly regarded source is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, In this Article 19 states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this includes freedom to hold opinions without interference...
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