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FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
 Strengths
• • •

of the Internet

Broad Accessibility Open-minded Discussions Anonymity



Right to freedom of expression – one of the most important rights for free people everywhere.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution
“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 grievances.”

 Types

of Speech that are not Protected by the First Amendment and may be Totally Forbidden by the Government • • • • • •

Obscene Speech relevant to Defamation information technology Incitement of Panic Incitement to Crime “Fighting Words” Sedition (incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government)

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Obscene Speech
 Miller

v. California – the Supreme Court case that established a test to determine if material is obscene and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.

 Miller

conducted a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of adult material.  Miller’s conviction was specifically based on his conduct in causing five unsolicited advertising brochures to be sent through the mail.

 Conditions

to Determine that Speech is Obscene and is not Protected Under the First Amendment •





Would the average person, applying contemporary community standards, find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest? Does the work depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law? Does the work, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value?

Defamation
The publication of a statement of alleged fact that is false and that harms another person.  Slander

– oral defamation  Libel – written defamatory statement

KEY FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ISSUES
 Controlling

the Internet  Anonymity  Defamation and Hate Speech  Pornography

Access to Information on

Controlling Access to Information on the Internet


THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT (CDA) - embedded in the Telecommunications Act that aims at protecting children from online pornography. - imposed $250,000 fines and prison terms of up to two years for the transmission of “indecent” material over the internet. Telecommunications Deregulation and Reform Act (1996) – its purpose was to allow freer competition among phone, cable and TV companies.

Reno v. ACLU (February 1996) – challenged the criminalizing of so-called “indecency” on the Internet. FILTERING - software that can be installed on a personal computer along with a Web browser to block access to certain Web sites that contain inappropriate or offensive material. Internet filters available: Net Nanny, Cybersitter, CyberPatrol, SurfGuard and SurfWatch  INTERNET

HateFilter™ – contains a redirect feature that offers users who try to access a blocked site advocating bigotry, hatred, or violence towards groups on the basis of their ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation the chance to link directly to related ADL educational material . Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) – its mission is to enable the public to make informed decisions about electronic media through the open and objective labeling of content. Members include: AOL/Time Warner, Bell South, British Telecom, IBM, Microsoft, UUNet and Verizon

 CHILDREN’S

INTERNET PROTECTION ACT (2000) - required federally schools and libraries to use some form of technology protection (such as an Internet filter) to block access to obscene material, pornography, and anything considered harmful to minors.

Anonymity
Anonymous Expression – allows one to state one’s opinions without revealing one’s identity.  Anonymity
• • • •

Cases

John Zenger Thomas Paine NAACP vs. Alabama United States...
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