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Internet Censorship

             The debate over whether the government should censor the Internet is intense. In 1995 the senate passed the Communications Decency Act written by Senator Jim Exon. The act "outlaws "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent" communications on the Internet," (Exon 130). Americans on both sides of the issue are asking some very pertinent, yet difficult to answer, questions. Does censorship of the Internet violate our First Amendment rights? Is regulation of the Internet even possible? Will censoring the Internet protect children from inappropriate material or will it hinder those searching for legitimate information? .
             As a mother, I am concerned about my child having access to pornographic or otherwise inappropriate material on the Internet. However, my personal belief is that it is impossible to regulate the Internet without infringing on the liberties of the First Amendment. Simply put: one person's definition of inappropriate or pornographic material may be totally different from another's. It must be made clear that although I am neither totally for nor against censorship, I do not wish to have a limit set on what I can and cannot access determined by someone else's values.
             Those who support censorship of Internet materials feel that applying obscenity laws to the internet will protect children from pornography without "significantly" infringing upon our First Amendment rights (Exon 125). Supporters of this view argue that we live with restrictions on our freedom of speech everyday, such as: libel laws and laws against false advertising. These people submit that the "anti-pornography laws that exist for U.S. mail, broadcast and telephone communications," should also apply to computers (Exon 126). These people suggest the use of blocking software in libraries and support the required use of "a verified credit card, debit account, adult access code or personal identification number," to gain access into questionable Internet cites (Exon 127).

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