Essay on Attempts at Internet Censorship

2032 Words9 Pages
Ever since the Internet became such a large source of information in our lives, there has been a group of people who believed it need be cleansed of certain material. These people believe that groups, corporations, and the government have the right to block whatever material they deem objectionable. They are quite simply wrong. The First Amendment guarantees our right to freedom of expression. Furthermore, the ability to block or ban these sites does not exist. There have been several attempts to enforce some sort of standard of morals on the Internet. The online community has always fiercely opposed these intrusions on its Civil Liberties and privacy. One of the most famous cases was short lived the Communications…show more content…
The CDA was restrained by a lower court until the supreme court could have a hearing on the matter.

The Supreme Court heard argument from both the senators who originally proposed the bill and from people concerned with the broadness of the act. The supreme court eventually determined that the CDA was indeed unconstitutional, violating not only the first amendment, but also the fifth due to the vague wording used. In the opinion statement Justice Stevens said:

The vagueness of the CDA is a matter of special concern for two reasons. First, the CDA is a content based regulation of speech. The vagueness of such a regulation raises special First Amendment concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech. Second, the CDA is a criminal statute. In addition to the opprobrium and stigma of a criminal conviction, the CDA threatens violators with penalties including up to two years in prison for each act of violation. The severity of criminal sanctions may well cause speakers to remain silent rather than communicate even arguably unlawful words, ideas, and images.ii

The Supreme Court has always based their decisions on free speech on one base concept, the idea that certain speech can be punished, but cannot be banned ahead of time. The concept behind the CDA is clearly that, to ban "indecent" speech before it can even become available. The CDA was originally created in response to an
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