"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace [the Internet], the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather" (Barlow 18).
The Internet is a vast network of computers, both public and private, which spans the globe. Recently, there has been a movement by governments worldwide, and the United States government in particular, to remove content deemed inappropriate from the Internet. However, numerous factors such as: the abundance of less restrictive alternatives, the impossibility of applying American law and community standards to an international communications medium, the active choice required to access the Internet's resources, the violation of our constitutional rights which it entails, and the fact that it is the parent's and not the government's responsibility to protect children contradict this rash and poorly thought out idea. While censorship is intolerable in all its forms, it is especially odious, inappropriate, and unworkable when applied to the Internet, an international medium of free speech, information, and communication.
The Internet began as a link between major universities and government computer centers to facilitate the sharing of information and allow certain universities to utilize the few existing supercomputing centers. With the advent and popularization of the personal computer and the increased use and development of modems, the size and capabilities of the Internet have exploded. The nature of the Internet is such that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine its size at a given mo...
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...because they may inadvertently happen upon objectionable material. The resources of the Internet deserve the same treatment.
Censorship is unnecessary and inappropriate with regards to the Internet. Numerous less-restrictive means of protecting the public, the global nature of the Internet, the active choice required to access the resources of the Internet, the fact that Internet censorship violates the First amendment, and the parental and personal nature of regulating the Internet all contradict the idea of Internet censorship. The Internet has the potential to revolutionize our society and bring us full into the information age. The information superhighway is not centuries or decades away, but just around the corner. Let us attempt to aid the growth of this technology and its respective culture in any way possible, and thus propel ourselves into the future.
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