FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
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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.”
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)
v. California – the Supreme Court case that established a test to determine if material is obscene and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.
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.
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?
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
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
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.
Anonymous Expression – allows one to state one’s opinions without revealing one’s identity. Anonymity
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John Zenger Thomas Paine NAACP vs. Alabama United States Navy sailor
REMAILERS - internet users who wishes to remain anonymous by sending an e-mail to an anonymous remailer service, where a computer program strips the originating address from the message.
DOE LAWSUITS - one for which the true identity of the defendant is temporarily unknown.
Defamation and Hate Speech
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Relating to Hate Speech
“Asian hater” e-mail Coalition of groups who opposes abortion Varian Medical Systems Internet defamation and harassment lawsuit
1 in 4 regular Internet users (almost 21 million Americans) visit a Web sex site at least once a month – more than the number of visitors to Web sports sites. Forrester Research estimates that sex sites on the Web generate at least $1 billion a year in revenue.