Freedom of Speech and the Internet
December 14, 2012
The Internet is the biggest common area ever to be created; a public space not unlike a mall or even a town meeting of old. The internet combines the right to express and view ideas and opinion into one medium. It provides opportunities of publishing and communications; tools for broadcasting, education, entertainment, marketing, etc. It is however, through the course of growth and development that the internet has become a global concern regarding Freedom of Expression.
The Internet can be used for many diverse purposes; delivering and receiving new from around the world to facilitating criminal acts. Content, legal in one country is considered offensive or even illegal in another where it is viewed or accessed. According to the United States Attorney General, “While the Internet and other information technologies are bringing enormous benefits to society, they also provide new opportunities for criminal behavior.” (Goldstone, 2000). There are real and viable threats to human areas such as the human rights of children but how to enforce global regulation is an ongoing question.
Consider the fact that the First Amendment was written for offensive and/or controversial speech and ideas. The amendment is a restriction on power of the government, not individuals or private businesses. The concept of the First Amendment may be up for re-evaluation. However, with the growth and development of the Internet, it becomes more and more difficult to interpret it this amendment. Content can now be distributed to infinite audiences over indefinite periods of time. “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.”
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