Internet Censorship

Powerful Essays
Internet Censorship

The freedom of speech that was possible on the Internet could now be subjected to governmental approvals. For example, China is attempting to restrict political expression, in the name of security and social stability. It requires users of the Internet and electronic mail (e-mail) to register, so that it may monitor their activities. In the United Kingdom, state secrets and personal attacks are off limits on the Internet. Laws are strict and the government is extremely interested in regulating the Intern et with respect to these issues.10 Laws intended for other types of communication will not necessarily apply in this medium.

Through all the components of the Internet it becomes easy to transfer material that particular governments might find objectionable. However, all of these means of communicating on the Internet make up a large and vast system. For inspectors to monitor every e-mail, every article in every Newsgroup, every Webpage, every IRC channel, every Gopher site and every FTP site would be near impossible. Besides taking an extraordinary amount of money and time, attempts to censor the Internet violate freedom of speech rights that are included in democratic constitutions and international laws.11 It would be a breach of the First Amendment. The Constitution of the United States of America declares that 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 redr ess of grievances 12 Therefore it would be unconstitutional for any sort of censorship to occur on the Internet and affiliated services.

Despite the illegality, restrictions on Internet access and content are increasing worldwide under all forms of government. In France, a co untry where the press generally has a large amount of freedom, the Internet has recently been in the spotlight. A banned book on the health history of former French president Francois Mitterrand was republished electronically on the World Wide Web (WWW). Apparently, the electronic reproduction of Le Grand Secret by a third party wasn't banned by a court that ruled that the printed version of the book unlawfully violated Mitterrand's privacy. To enforce censorship of the Internet, free societi...

... middle of paper ...

... distributed, as well it shows the difficulty in preventing material deemed inappropriate from appearing where it shouldn't.

The Internet is much too complex a network for censorship to effectively occur. It is a totally new and unique environment in which communications transpire. Existing laws are not applicable to this medium. The lack of tangible boundaries causes confusion as to where violations of law take place. The Internet is made up of nameless interaction and anonymous communication. The intricacy of the Internet makes it near impossible to delete data that has been publicized. No one country should be allowed to, or could, regulate or censor the Internet.


Bradford, Bryan and Mark Krumholz. Telecommunications and Decency: Big Brother goes Digital. Business Today Spring 1996 : 12-16.

Gates, Bill. Searching for middle ground in online censorship. Microsoft Corporation. (27 Mar. 1996).

Irwin, Heather. Geeks Take to the Streets.

Jefferson, Thomas. Bill Of Rights. The Constitution of the United States.
Get Access