During the last decade, our society has become based on the sole ability to move large amounts of information across great distances quickly. Computerization has influenced everyone's life in numerous ways. The natural evolution of computer technology and this need for ultra-fast communications has caused a global network of interconnected computers to develop. This global network allows a person to send E-mail across the world in mere fractions of a second, and allows a common person to access a huge amount of information worldwide. This newfound global network, originally called Arconet, was developed and funded solely by and for the U.S. government. It was to be used in the event of a nuclear attack in order to keep communications lines open across the country by rerouting information through different servers across the country. Does this mean that the government owns the Internet, or is it no longer a tool limited by the powers that govern? Generalities such as these have sparked great debates within our nation's government. This paper will attempt to focus on two high profile ethical aspects concerning the Internet and its usage. These subjects are Internet privacy and Internet censorship. .
At the moment, the Internet is the essence of the first amendment, free speech. It is a place where a person can speak their mind without being reprimanded for what they say or how they choose to say it. But also contained on the Internet, are a huge collection of obscene graphics, Anarchists' cookbooks, and countless other things that offend many people. There are over 30 million Internet surfers in the U.S. alone, and much is to be said about what offends whom and how. As with many new technologies, today's laws don't apply well when it comes to the Internet. Is the Internet like a bookstore, where servers can not be expected to review every title? Is it like a phone company who must ignore what it carries because of privacy; or is it like a broadcast medium, where the government monitors what is Broadcast? The problem being faced today is that the Internet can be all or none of the above depending on how it is used.