Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 1996

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

A Michigan college student posts sadistic fantasy about a classmate to an Internet newsgroup and is charged with the threat to injure. A postal inspector in Memphis, Tennessee downloads a pornographic image off the Internet and the California couple who posted it is arrested for violating Tennessee's obscenity laws. A programmer's encryption software is duplicated by someone else and sent overseas via the Internet; the programmer is charged with illegal export of munitions. The three defendants in these cases felt that the First Amendment protected them, but it was not the case.

Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace is precise in its opinion on the First Amendment and defends every case presented within the book. Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace addresses the legal issues and ethical debates surrounding the worldwide growth of the Internet. The same qualities that make these networks invaluable--low cost worldwide reach, lack of censorship, interactivity, virtual anonymity, and the ability to carry huge amounts of data, text, images, and sounds--also makes them dangerous.

The pressure on the government to regulate the Internet is tremendous, and the implications of their judicial and legislative decisions will be far-reaching. Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace examines these battles and includes interviews with key players in both pro- and anti-regulation camps. The authors offer a spirited defense of the freedoms now under fire, and suggest ways to monitor the "net" without stifling it.

As an example the reader must look at is Jake Baker who liked to write savage, pornographic snuff stories and post them to the Internet. Always written in the first person and tinged with an eerie realism, his tales were simple, explicit, and gruesome.

"She's shaking with terror as Jerry and I circle her. She says in a little, terrified voice, 'Why are you doing this...I've never hurt you...p-please stop!' I pause...