Computers and the Internet have become a major part of everyday life for many people. As the Internet grows, the amount of X-rated material increases as well. The government feels that censorship of the Internet for everyone is the answer. Censorship of the Internet would only limit reference material, uses, and a persons freedom of speech. It is true, of course, that censoring the Internet may keep minors from viewing X-rated graphics that are available. The Internet is full of graphics and literature that is inappropriate for children to view. Many people feel that this 'pornography should be limited or even banned from computer networks because children are able to view such images and text' (Internet Regulation 35).
This censorship would include any indecent photographs, letters, and obscene language. It would limit the amount of pornographic material that could be viewed. But, by censoring all forms of indecency they may limit the amount of research material available for access. The United States Senate has approved a bill that would censor the Internet. This bill is known as the Communications Decency Act, or CDA. The CDA is so strict that it 'could censor on-line booksellers, human rights organizations, information regarding both AIDS and safe sex, and even classic works of art' (Kidd 1).
The CDA is a great deal of limitation set by people that do not believe parents will be able to control what their own kids see on the Internet. But, not all Senators are for the CDA; Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, does not support the CDA. Leahy states, 'none of us is in favor of pornography. But we can accomplish the goal of keeping pornography away from children without imposing a big new layer of government censorship and without destroying the Internet' (Internet Regulation 40). Censorship, by the government, would greatly decrease the amount of reference material available for use on the Internet.
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Censorship would also limit the amount of use a person gets from the Internet. The CDA would 'effectively ban 'indecency' in any forum to which a minor might gain access. The King James Bible, for example uses on of the 'seven dirty words', which courts have ruled to be indecent' (Kidd 1). Banning all indecency would create a great problem on the Internet, as you can see. The amount of materials and programs available would be decreased by a great number simply because they may contain an obscenity. The government would be taking their control a little too far. They would ban everything and limit the amount of knowledge that people could gain.
It would be such a problem that Internet use would probably come to a stand still. In brief, censorship would greatly reduce many people's use and access to the Internet and its many helpful and educational sites. Most important of all, by censoring the Internet, the government will be limiting a citizens freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is something that is important to everyone, and everyone wants to be able to interact and voice their opinions in any way possible. Censorship is going the opposite direction. Opponents to the CDA 'argue that the free-speech rights of users would be violated if the Internet were regulated' (Internet Regulation 35).
This is very true, by regulating the Internet people would be limited on how they could communicate. Consenting adults should be able to have access to whatever they want and should be able to communicate in any form they choose to follow. Speaker of the 3 House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said it right when he said, 'It is clearly a violation of free speech and it's a violation of the rights of adults to communicate with each other' (Internet Regulation 36). Freedom of speech is an important part of American life and when a law restricts this right, it is unconstitutional.
It will be a terrible day when the citizens of the United States allow the government to run their lives by censorship. Moreover, censorship of the Internet would limit the constitutional right of free speech. In closing, censorship would only limit reference material, uses, and a persons freedom of speech. The government should and does have the right to make laws, but they should not have the right to limit a persons right to view something and express certain thoughts. Maybe in the future, the government will realize what kind of effect they could have on so many people. I strongly urge any legislators that are in favor of the CDA to reconsider.
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