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Internet Censorship

            In a time where society moves at a pace faster than most would agree is normal, just about the only way to keep up is to be a part of the ever growing internet community. You can do anything from chat with friends to research a history project to buy airline tickets online. At the moment, the Internet is the perfect example of our first amendment, free speech. It is a place where a person can speak their mind without being punished for what they say or how they choose to say it. But also on the Internet, are a huge collection of obscene graphics, Anarchists' cookbooks, and countless other topics not accepted by society as a whole. Almost everyone would agree that this is a big problem. Many people would say that the solution to this problem would be government censorship. This, in my opinion, is not the true answer. The government should not be the ones to censor the internet; it should be the job of a parent to make sure their child does not see anything they shouldn't.
             People on one end of the spectrum people say that government censorship is the only way to stop children from seeing obscene material and stop it from spreading around the internet. In previous attempts by the government to ban explicit material the effort was deemed unconstitutional. In 1997 ruled in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union that the Communications Decency Act was unconstitutional, declaring that "the Internet is entitled to the same broad free speech protections given to books, magazines, and casual conversation" (Beeson 592). In an appeal the Supreme Court upheld the ruling deeming the CDA unconstitutional. The next censorship bill that went through congress and was signed by then president Bill Clinton was the Child Online Protection Act. It stated that there would be penalties for harmful material that was circulated to minors. The vagueness of the wording led to some questions though. For example, what exactly is "commercial distribution" (COPA).

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