With the increasing popularity of the Internet, especially among children, parents and others have been concerned that young people have easy access to a wide range of pornography available online. They have pointed out that it is a relatively easy maneuver for children to call up salacious material at home or in libraries--simply by searching for key words like "porn" or "sex." The purpose of this paper is to amplify on this subject of the need for regulation of the Internet.
In February of 1996 Congress passed--and the president signed--the Communications Decency Act, which made it a crime to transmit "indecent" material to minors on line(Communications). But the Supreme Court, at the request of the ACLU, overturned key portions of that law--a move cheered by some civil libertarians and librarians, who argued that restrictions on the Internet amounted to curtailment of free speech. Many objected--and still object--to filtering devices--commercially available software that blocks access to some web sites that contain objectionable material.
They say that it would limit people's ability to have access-- thinking of adults in particular--to have access to information let's say about breast cancer or sexual harassment because they're keyed in on key terminology.
Despite those sentiments, some family groups and lawmakers are still demanding controls over what gets on the net. Several Internet industry leaders--hoping to head off legislation or strict regulation--announced their own voluntary plan to limit what is available to minors.
The Center for Democracy & Technology markets what is called "the Internet tool kit" which allows parents and u...
... middle of paper ...
Ultimately, the burden is on the parents, and I think that's the message that these companies want to give. There is a responsibility--it's implicit upon these companies that these companies generally accept that it's up to them to let parents know that this stuff is out there, and it's up to them to make it easy enough so even an adult can use. One very big problem is that kids, by and large, are more conversant in technology than their parents are. So when you talk about a program to keep a child from something on the Internet that a parent has to install, you've got a problem right there because in a lot of households it's the kids who teach the parents how to use it, not the other way around.
Communications Decency Act. http://www.epic.org/CDA/cda.html
"US Supreme Court Strikes Down CDA" http://www.epic.org/cda/
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