The Government and Internet Censorship

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Henry Holtgeerts
Ms. Molly Stroschein
PM Challlenge Bloc
30 January 2012

CBA 2012 Final Draft
Take 2

Only a few weeks ago the “hacktivist” group called Anonymous temporarily disabled nine websites and the FBI’s internal network (Brown), all in response to the fed seizing the file-sharing site This is just one example of the internet standing up for its rights, as has been demonstrated so dramatically by recent online protests or “blackouts.” The government attempting to censor the Internet on copyright grounds is shamefully unconstitutional, not to mention nearly impossible. This essay aims to provide a clear insight into why government censorship of the internet would be in stark violation of citizen’s freedom of speech, freedom of information, would cripple the internet’s security as well as one America’s largest economies.

There is no doubt that when the government censors any content made by anyone, people will likely see it as a free speech violation. However, the question soon arises over the legality of such actions, especially given the lack of jurisdiction around the internet. Not too long ago, as the government was first exploring the notion of “seizing” websites from individuals, they attempted to take down the ISP address linked with a certain YouTube video of a baby happily dancing to a song by Justin Bieber. Clearly unbeknownst to the US government was the fact that this particular video was in the process of becoming viral. In other words, when someone clicked the link to this video their friend had emailed them, instead of the video a page saying that the Department of Justice had taken down the video on copyright grounds greeted them. There are two things undoubtedly wrong with this picture. First, to take down a video which the babysitter of this baby clearly had no intentions of either profiting off of or aiding piracy with, is completely ridiculous. Additionally, the audio quality in the video itself is such...
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