The Internet, Freedom of Speech, and the CDA. Mike Holmes CS 99 February 29, 2000. Introduction. The Internet is a new medium, so few laws or ethical guidelines exist to control its content.
February 29, 2000
Declared unconstitutional by a unanimous Supreme Court decision on June 26, 1997.A major attempt by the US Government to regulate Internet content:
It is illegal to: “[initiate] the transmission of, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or indecent knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the communication;”
It is illegal to: “[use] an interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age, or [use] any interactive computer service to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age, any comment, request suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs, regardless of whether the user of such service placed the call or initiated the communication”
The Supreme Court case that decided that the CDA was unconstitutional.
To protect minors from viewing certain types of content which is legal for adults but which has been deemed harmful to children and teenagers.
It is ethical to restrict a few types of speech because they are materially harmful:
It is sometimes unethical to intentionally expose others to material that upsets (or “harms”) them against their will, but it should not be illegal, as no objective definition of what is upsetting or offensive can exist in a pluralistic society.
The CDA would have greatly restricted legal speech in its effort to restrict illegal speech. (http://www.cdt.org/policy/freespeech/12_21.cda.html)