A Defense of an Uncensored Worldwide Web

The fight for an uncensored worldwide web is, of course, characterized with conflicting principles and values.

Although this can be resolved by the courts and other government agencies, there is no doubt that such resolution would not in any way mitigate or stop the struggle. It should be noted that values are not deterministic (behaving in pattern) or located in single set of arguments. They are defined by intensity and of course necessity. There are people who want to abolish the internet in some countries (the president and the imam of Iran for example). There are those who want to regulate the internet; that is, setting up limitations on internet access.

And there are those who view the internet as an avenue for articulation (creativity); where intellectual, emotional, and psychological growth could be achieved.

One of the most known cases involving the unlimited access to the internet occurred in the Alameda County on January 14, 1999.[1] The county court dismissed a lawsuit that seeks to require the Livermore Library to censor the use of internet at the library. It was the second time that the request had been denied by the court.

The plaintiff argued that the unlimited internet access at the library “constituted a public nuisance.” [2] She also argued that she had a constitutional right to force the library to discontinue its open access policy. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California though in a statement argued that such demonizing of the library also constitutes public nuisance.

Not only that the civil liberty to inform was affected, but also the “right of the public to be informed” (the policy rests on the First Amendment values). [3] The same organization also noted that the internet use at the Livermore Public Library informed its patrons over its material content, and that the primary responsibility of supervising the use of internet for children belongs solely to their parents.

The same organization noted that “it enables each family to be sure that its children use the Internet in a manner that is consistent with its own values without imposing those values on other families.”[4] After all the arguments and evidences had been examined, the court decided in favor of the defendant (Livermore Library); that is, for unlimited internet access.

Here what one sees is a conflict of values: 1) individual freedom vs. order, 2) right to be informed vs. right to be protected from obscene materials, and 3) individual happiness vs. freedom of conscience. Such conflicts though should not be viewed with rigidity. They are conflicts that cannot be reconciled or settled. In this paper, we shall present evidences and arguments that favorably seeks unlimited internet access; that is, a defense of an uncensored worldwide web. The first part begins with a staunch defense from a normative view, that is, hedonism.

[1] Court Upholds Livermore Library’s Uncensored Internet Access Policy. (California: ACLU of Northern California, January 14, 1999). URL http://www.aclunc.org/news/press_releases court_upholds_livermore_library’s_uncensored_internet_access_policy.shtml. Retrieved October 1, 2007.

 [2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Court Upholds Livermore Library’s Uncensored Internet Access Policy. (California: ACLU of Northern California, January 14, 1999). URL http://www.aclunc.org/news/press_releases/court_upholds_livermore_library’s_uncensored_internet_access_policy.shtml. Retrieved October 1, 2007.