Internet Censorship It has been two-hundred and nine years since the Bill of Rights was ratified. I doubt that our Founding Fathers ever imagined the changes that would come over our country. Although the Constitution has held up through the years, it cannot be argued that in the last fifty years especially, issues come up daily that seem to test the strength and integrity of our sacred Constitution. The Internet, for example, has caused more controversy than anything we have ever seen. The biggest issue: Censorship. For a number of different reasons, government and other organizations are trying to take our First Amendment right from us by censoring the Internet, but it is up to us to become educated and decide for ourselves if it is helping or hurting. There are many reasons for the Internet not to be censored.
First, it truly is unconstitutional. The First Amendment of the Constitution clearly says, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. As far as I’m concerned, this is abridging freedom of speech and press. Although pornography and obscenity are technically not protected by the First Amendment, it becomes a question of, how far will the government go? When do they stop censoring, and how do they decide what is obscene? “The equation is simple: Those who have power get to censor, and those who lack power get silenced. If you find yourself in a position to demand and get censorship, you can be sure you are among those who have the power, and you are acting to oppress others.” (Avedon Carol: BM FAC, Ph: (0181)552-4405) Another reason against censorship is that the Internet is a responsibility.
Although a large percentage of the material on the Internet may be harmful and inappropriate, adults should be able to decide what they are exposed to, and parents have the responsibility to regulate what their children are exposed to. Many parents argue that they cannot be with their children all of the time, and that often pornographic sites come up accidentally. There is a simple solution to this. A number of Internet software can be bought for a reasonable price to filter Internet sites. To name a few: Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS), CYBERsitter FTP archive, NetNanny and Web ratings council. (http://www1.tpgi.com.au) They all use a different filtration system, but all are very effective to individual regulation levels. Lastly, censoring the Internet will only be the beginning of more government interference in the people’s lives.
Those for censorship of the Internet in Congress argue that it is for children’s safety as well as others who are offended by certain material. Benjamin Franklin once said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (http://www.theroc.org) and he was absolutely right. Censoring the Internet does not make us safe. If we censored everything that offended someone on the internet, I’m sure there would be little left of this great tool we call the World Wide Web-and that, would be a shame. Currently, there are many laws being written for censorship, and attempted to pass through Congress.
It is the responsibility of the people to vote against these laws. They will only hurt our freedoms, starting now and continuing throughout the future. We, the people of the United States of America, are very lucky to live in this free country. People must remember that the government is not there only to protect us, but to represent the voice of the people. If politicians continue to please those who outspokenly voice censorship, our freedoms will slowly dwindle, and freedom is what our country is based on.
It is YOUR business what you do on the Internet, so let’s keep it that way.