Censorship of the Internet and the Tyranny of Our Government
"To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views also deprives others of the right to listen to those views," said Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr(Censorship and the U.S. Government 1). I completely agree with Mr. Holmes, and when the question of censoring the Internet arises, I cringe. Governing the Internet dominates many debates, censorship leading the fight. The Internet is the largest and most accessible form of mass media available today. It allows anyone with a few simple tools to consume, and produce, information and ideas to hundreds of people at a practically non-existent cost. Numerous factors indicate censorship of this force is not possible, and not the government's place. It should be left up to the users to decide what is broadcast. Most importantly, censorship of the Internet impairs the expression of ideas and infringes against the First Amendment of the Constitution.
First of all, censoring the Internet as a whole is not possible, so why even try? Cyberspace is the most decentralized form of communication today making policing the Internet a virtually futile task. Unlike television or radio, the Internet consists of thousands of individual computers and networks, with thousands of speakers, information providers and information users, and no centralized distribution point (ACLU vs. Reno Brief 1). No guards watch to see who goes where and if that place is appropriate. The Internet has grown to be a global network. Just because one country deems something inappropriate does not mean that another will comply with the decision and follow the ruling. If posting pictures of bestiality was banned in China, for example, someone in Switzerland could post those pictures and the Chinese would have access to every single bit of data. Another example, this being completely factual, occurred in Ontario...
Cited: ACLU vs. Reno Brief "http://www.aclu.org/court/cdacom2.html". 2/15/97
"Censorship." New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia 1991; Grolier electronic
Publishing, Inc. 2/15/97
Censorship and the Internet "http://cmns-web.com.stu.ca/cmns353/96-
Censorship and the U.S. Government http://www.arlut.utexas.edu/~
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