Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Internet porn and the First Amendment

Internet porn and the First Amendment



Pornography has been proliferating on the Internet and is obviously a serious problem, especially for parents of computer savvy children. What should be done? Should porn be controlled? Can it be controlled somehow when the Internet is boundless? Should Congress regulate it legislatively? Or is it better to leave its control to programmers, software companies and the marketplace?

19 comments:

  1. oops, the above is by Matthew Poitras

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  2. The first issue concerning internet porn is jurisdiction. If the pornographic images are contained on servers outside of the United States, then there is little the US can do about it; they cannot control internet content if it is hosted out of this country. The gov't could attempt to block such content, but that would hinder educational studies being done on the internet. Also, flat-out censorship of internet content is what Communist China does, and the US Gov't (especially in the past few years) has been promoting "freedom" and "democracy" around the world. Banning access to any online material would be hypocritical of them.
    The US Gov't DOES have the power to prevent children from accessing pornography, as was stated in the Ginsburg V. New York(1968) case. The outcome stated that the gov't can constitutionally prohibit children from accessing pornography that it cannot constitutionally ban for adults. The problem applying this to the internet is due to the difficulty in determining the adults from the children, as people can lie about their true identity.
    I the Miller V. California(1973) case, it was ruled that material can be judged obscene according to "community" standards, and as a result does not enjoy First Amendment protection. The problem in applying this to the internet lies in the fact that the internet is "boundry-free" (i.e.: if the porn is coming from another country, it is out of their jurisdiction).
    The Communications Decency Act of 1996 made it a crime to knowingly "by means of a telecommunications device [make available] any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or indecent...[to any person] under 18 years of age" (47 U.S.C. Section 223(a)). This law is good for enforcement if someone is caught, but unless a parent complains it is difficult to catch a person doing it if the youth is willing to receive such things.
    The Child Online Protection Act of 1998, which was intended to protect children surfing the web, was recently sent back to a district court to be re-judged for it's effectiveness. Authorities, such as Senator Patrick Leahy, say that it is better to use technology instead of laws to restrict pornographic access for children. Effective internet filters are the future of the internet, with age-verification technology built into it, and this is what the government should be pressing as the solution to the problem. The Supreme Court said in June 2004, "filtering’s superiority to COPA is confirmed by the explicit findings of the Commission on Child Online Protection, which Congress created to evaluate the relative merits of different means of restricting minors' ability to gain access to harmful materials on the Internet."
    While filters may not be 100% effective, they are a big enough hinderance to keep younger children away from such material. Even if kids figure out ways to overcome filter technology, these technologies can be updated as often as necessary (even daily). The same cannot be said of laws.

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  3. The First Amendment protects ones freedom of speech. The protection of pornography depicting adults is included under this protection, but not pornography depicting minors. Because the Internet is boundless, it is hard to control or filter what gets seen on the internet by children. As always, the issue of jurisdiction comes up. It is hard to filter what is seen on the internet, and there is nothing legally the US government can do if the material being shown originates from a foreign bandwidth.
    Congress has regulated pornography on the Internet, but there is not much more they can do. They have passed the Child Online Protection Act, the Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
    As far as Internet savvy children are concerned, I think their guardians should be responsible for controlling what they are able to access on the Internet. Many online service providers provide parental controls and there is software available that limits what children are able to view while they are online.

    Alicia Dutil

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  4. The First Amendment protects ones freedom of speech. The protection of pornography depicting adults is included under this protection, but not pornography depicting minors. Because the Internet is boundless, it is hard to control or filter what gets seen on the internet by children. As always, the issue of jurisdiction comes up. It is hard to filter what is seen on the internet, and there is nothing legally the US government can do if the material being shown originates from a foreign bandwidth.
    Congress has regulated pornography on the Internet, but there is not much more they can do. They have passed the Child Online Protection Act, the Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
    As far as Internet savvy children are concerned, I think their guardians should be responsible for controlling what they are able to access on the Internet. Many online service providers provide parental controls and there is software available that limits what children are able to view while they are online.

    Alicia Dutil

    ReplyDelete
  5. The First Amendment protects ones freedom of speech. The protection of pornography depicting adults is included under this protection, but not pornography depicting minors. Because the Internet is boundless, it is hard to control or filter what gets seen on the internet by children. As always, the issue of jurisdiction comes up. It is hard to filter what is seen on the internet, and there is nothing legally the US government can do if the material being shown originates from a foreign bandwidth.
    Congress has regulated pornography on the Internet, but there is not much more they can do. They have passed the Child Online Protection Act, the Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
    As far as Internet savvy children are concerned, I think their guardians should be responsible for controlling what they are able to access on the Internet. Many online service providers provide parental controls and there is software available that limits what children are able to view while they are online.

    Alicia Dutil

    ReplyDelete
  6. The First Amendment protects ones freedom of speech. The protection of pornography depicting adults is included under this protection, but not pornography depicting minors. Because the Internet is boundless, it is hard to control or filter what gets seen on the internet by children. As always, the issue of jurisdiction comes up. It is hard to filter what is seen on the internet, and there is nothing legally the US government can do if the material being shown originates from a foreign bandwidth.
    Congress has regulated pornography on the Internet, but there is not much more they can do. They have passed the Child Online Protection Act, the Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
    As far as Internet savvy children are concerned, I think their guardians should be responsible for controlling what they are able to access on the Internet. Many online service providers provide parental controls and there is software available that limits what children are able to view while they are online.

    Alicia Dutil

    ReplyDelete
  7. I feel that porn should not be controlled, unless it is illegal, such as child porn. There is almost no way congress could contol whats on the internet, because sites could be posted from other countries. This means each user should take the matter into there own hands. If parents are worried about there child looking at porn on the internet, they should use a software program to block it. Also, if a parent has a good relationship with there child, internet use should not be a problem. It is important for the parent to build a strong sense of what is right and wrong in there child.

    Joel Freidank

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  8. Pornography is a large problem on the Internet. Parents always have to worry about their children looking up porn, especially when the children know more about computers than the parents do. I think porn should be controlled. One way is to have a charge for each time a person goes into a web site with porn. Using passwords and user names could also be useful. Congress should look at the problem and find out if it is a big enough problem to regulate. Internet companies should now have stricter bounds on a child's username. When a child signs on to the Internet, there should be places that that child should not be able to go to. Internet suppliers should regulate this and update the list regularly. Also, people who make the websites, should have to regulate who enters.

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  9. Pornography on the internet is a growing multi billion dollar industry. It can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection and the knowledge of what to search for. Chrildren are no exeption to this due to the fact that many chrildren have a more advance technological feel for computers then the one's enforcing the use of it. I believe that porno should be controlled and it can be controlled in a few ways. Individual log on's and have each log on have destinctive prohibitations. There are a number of parental control programs that allow the parent to control what can be viewed and opened on the computer. In the cases that none of these work then you should throw the computer out the window and smack your child. I don't think that congress can have any say due to the fact that most porno on the internet is located in different countries, which brings in the huge factor of jurisdiction. I think that parents are the best stopper and if the problem is going to be stopped the parent in the only one who can make it happen.

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  10. Porn on the internet might be seen as a problem for others it is not. Many people feel that ther eis no probelm with porn on the internet because it creates good buiness and one can look at it without buying a magazine at a store. Pornography is speech and expresion and it is protected by the 1st amendment of the US constitution like any other speech. I feel that we should not outlaw porn on the internet because people have a right too see what they want to see. People would like to ban porn beucase it is in bad taste and unpopular. Who is to say what bad taste is and once we censor unpopular ideas we start to censor everything we dont like or agree with. Many times unpoplar ideas have become the norm. Internet porn as touches children. It is very easy to acess and all that is needed to acsess it in many situations is just to verification of age. The verification of age many times is just done by clicking a box that says that youa re of age to view this material. The bad part about this is poepl lie about there age and children are exposed to this material. I feel that congress should not try to bann this material with legislation. I feel that man people want this to happen ebcuaes they do not lik eother poeples ideas or are not responsible enough to keep an eye on their own children. Even computer savy children can be monitored. Parents can allow children only to use the computer in the precnece of an adult so the adlut can monitor what the child is looking at. The internet is also boundless so that would also not allow congress to stop it because many of these sites could be from other countries where it is alright to view this material. I dont even think that it is better lef tto soft ware companies. Soft ware companies could play a vital role in making soft ware that would not allow pornographic sites to be displyed but even those soft wares are not fool proof and many times aites cna be viewd and educational sites get blocked. In closeing i feel that speech should not be censored and that laws and computer programs cannot make up for parenting. -- W.LaBelle-Boucher

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  11. I dont see a prctical solution to the problem. I thinkthat parent s are going to have to get serious about the problem and get a clue about what there children are doing on the Internet. There is no way to regulate it. It needs to be dealt with on an individual level. A parent should know whats happening with the kid, and should be able to speak into their lives about issues like this.

    Tommy Holmes

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  12. I dont see a prctical solution to the problem. I thinkthat parent s are going to have to get serious about the problem and get a clue about what there children are doing on the Internet. There is no way to regulate it. It needs to be dealt with on an individual level. A parent should know whats happening with the kid, and should be able to speak into their lives about issues like this.

    Tommy Holmes

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  13. Alicia and Tommy:
    We got it the first time. you don't get extra credit for multiple posts that are the same. jeez.

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  14. I do think that there needs to be some type way to keep porno away from the kids and try to limit who is able to see. But I dont think that much can be done. ou cant totally take it off, it is completely legal and is a billion dollar industry. Legislation I think has already tried to regualte it and cant. No matter what they do there is no way to regualate who gets to it. Younger and younger kids are becoming wiz kids with the computer and a way will always be a way around it. Is what needs to happen is parents need to take better care of their kids. They need to pay more attention to what their kids are doing and do their jobs as parents. that is the only affective way to regulate.

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  15. The Internet exposes people to all sorts of information and entertainment some of which is offensive in nature. Pornography is an example of this. The Internet is filled with porn sites and without regulations all are viewable by anyone. There are also many programs and parental controls to safeguard children from adult material online. One big problem with this is when children know more about the computer than their parents do. Parental controls are easy to get around and parents who do not know better have a false sense of security. Porn is such a vast empire on the Internet I do not believe it can be controlled through legislation or things like that. I feel it should be left up to the programmers to make programs to safeguard children from porn sites. Any parent who does not want porn on their computers should invest in a good program that blocks all porn from their computers. One master program should be created that will eliminate all “bad” sites from being viewed. I do not feel the internet should be restricted or regulated.

    James Carmichael

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  16. Pornography on the internet has grown rapidly over the years. These days anybody can get on a computer and look up porn without even having a password or a credit card. I think that porn chould be controlled because there are children that surf the web all the time, and it is just as easy for them to look up porn as it is for adults. The government should have restrictions to porn sites that are getting published on the internet. Some restrictions that might be useful are to always obtain a passwoed from the porn site that is being visited, and they can't get a password unless they have a credit card number. I think that this will lower the chances of children getting access to the porn sites. The government wouldn't be able to have resrictions for all the porn sites like the ones that are from out of the country, but they can try to block those sites so that they are harder to get access to. They can also block some of the pron sites that are from inside the country and only limit the number of porn sites that are being publisjed onthe internet. There should be something done about this because porn sites are easy to get access to that anybody can do it and when some children know more about computers than some adults, they will be able to do every time that they get on a computer.

    Eric Murphy

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  17. There are many ways to control the internet. Many may say that it is too big or too powerful to be controlled, but if our government were to really try to control the web then it would. The reason why it is not fully controlled now is because the first amendment takes precedence. However, individual would give up some of their rights in order for their kids to have a better view on the internet and not pornography. Pornography can easily be seen through the internet. The government should have stronger regulation on all of the porn sites on the net. Specific software should be made specifically for blocking pornographic sites from the net. It should definitely not be left alone because children at any point should see those type of images.

    -Reuben Negron

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