Cyberspace Freedom

Essay by David HembreeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 1996

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Being one of millions of surfers throughout the Internet, I see that fundamental civil liberties are

as important in cyberspace as they are in traditional contexts. Cyberspace defined in Webster's

Tenth Edition dictionary is the on-line worlds of networks. The right to speak and publish

using a virtual pen has its roots in a long tradition dating back to the very founding of democracy

in this country. With the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Congress has prepared

to turn the Internet from one of the greatest resources of cultural, social, and scientific

information into the online equivalent of a children's reading room. By invoking the overboard

and vague term "indecent" as the standard by which electronic communication should be

censored, Congress has insured that information providers seeking to avoid criminal prosecution

will close the gates on anything but the most tame information and discussions.

The Communications Decency Act calls for two years of jail time for anyone caught

using "indecent" language over the net; as if reading profanities online affects us more

dramatically than reading them on paper.

Our First Amendment states, "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...." The Act takes away this right. The

Constitution-defying traitors creating these useless laws do not they understand the medium

they're trying to control. What they "claim" is that they are trying to protect our children from

moral threatening content.

This "protect our helpless children" ideology is bogus. If more government officials

were more knowledgeable about online information they would realize the huge flaw the

Communication Decency Act contains. We don't need the government to patrol fruitlessly on

the Internet when parents can simply install software like Net Nanny or Surf...