Implications of Internet Censorship

2596 Words11 Pages
Abstract: This paper deals with the ethical and social implications inherent in filtering content online. As exposure to the Internet penetrates deeper into mainstream lives across all demographic groups, there has been increased concern about the ability of children to obtain access to printed and graphic material believed to be detrimental to their development and/or well-being. Not only could this material be argued to be damaging, it could possibly lead children to act violently or maliciously towards others. Proponents of filtering objectionable content argue that through such means society will be able to utilize the power of the Internet to acquire information, while still adhering to certain community values regarding the welfare of children. Numerous critics of this argument claim that by filtering Internet content, society would be crippling individuals' right to use the power of the Internet for free-speech. They argue that not only will unregulated speech be discouraged, but that the means for filtering are themselves inherently imperfect, often restricting worthwhile content from reputable queries. While not a complete solution to the dilemma, perhaps enforcing an instituted rating system on web pages might be an effective means for working past the unpredictable nature of content filters. Just one decade ago few could have envisioned a world where scientists, business professionals, media agencies, activist groups, and children all over the globe would have access to equal common material via an online medium. Originally started as a small interconnected network for government agencies, educational institutions, and computer researchers to trade information, the Internet has permeated the daily ... ... middle of paper ... ...n Law Firm, http://www.fmew.com/archive/censor/. The Internet Police. http://www.internet-police.co.uk/aims.html. "Information about Labeling and Rating Systems". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://www.mit.edu/activities/safe/labeling/summary.html. "Communications Decency Act," Yahoo!. http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Issues_and_Causes/Civil_Rights/Censorship/Internet_Censorship/Communications_Decency_Act/. Communications DecencyAmendment (full text of final language passed by the u.s. senate on June 14, 1995). http://www.prognet.com/contentp/rabest/thebill.html. "Internet Indecency and Communications Decency Act," University of Texas. http://www.gslis.utexas.edu/~cjyoung/. "Net filters strain to block sites," cnetNews.com, http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4833800.html?tag=st.cn.1.lthd
Open Document