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Censorship is a word that breeds strong emotions in many people. Whether they are opponents or proponents. Censorship has been around since before the time of the bible. It has produced wars and revolutions. During the time of the Romans censorship was not a problem and they came up with many different types of inventions that during the dark ages were lost and invented again. Not all of this was due to censorship but it was a factor. Much of the knowledge of the Romans would have been completely lost if it were not for munks who's only job was to copy books. Censorship has always been a staple of Dictatorships and Toleration leaderships. Censorship is great when wanting to take over a nation and put restraints on it. Media has always been the link between government and the people, and if you control that outlet then you have a chance of making people think the way you want them to. These are some of the dangers of censorship.
The Internet is a wonderful place of entertainment and education, but like all places used by millions of people, it has some murky corners people would prefer children not to explore. In the physical world, society as a whole wants to protect children, but there are no social or physical constraints to Internet surfing. With the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the American Congress has prepared to turn the Internet from one of the greatest resources of cultural, social, and scientific information into the online equivalent of a children's reading room. By invoking the overboard and vague term "indecent" as the standard by which electronic communication should be censored, Congress has insured that information providers seeking to avoid criminal prosecution will close the gates on anything but the most tame information and discussions. The Internet Censorship Bill of 1995, also known as the Exon/Coats Communications Decency Act, would make it a criminal offense to make available to children anything that is indecent, or to send anything indecent with "intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass"1. The goal of this bill is to try to make all public discourse on the Internet suitable for young children. The Communications Decency Act calls for two years of jail time for anyone caught using "indecent" language over the net; as if reading profanities online affects us more dramatically than reading them on paper. Also, a person breaks the law if he/she puts a purity test on a web page without making sure children cannot access the page. In addition, if a person verbally assaults someone, he/she breaks the law. If a university, where some students may be under 18 years old, carries the alt.sex*. newsgroups, which contains adult material, it breaks the law. According to George Melloan from the Wall Street Journal, a censorship bill was passed by the Senate 84-16 in July, and an anticensorship bill was passed by the House 420-4 in August. There are now four different sets of censorship and anticensorship language in the House and Senate versions of the Telecomm reform bill, which contradict each other and will have to be reconciled 2.
It is not necessary for the government to patrol fruitlessly on the Internet when parents can simply install software like Net Nanny or Surf Watch. These programs block all "sensitive" material from entering one's modem line. What's more, legislators have alrea
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Technology referenced in this report
Names referenced in this report
Kevin Mitnick, munks, George Melloan, Senator Exon, Howard Rheingold, a computer science graduate student, Frances Hentoff, Pope,
Organizations included in this report
American Congress, Wall Street Journal, Senate, House,
Locations mentioned in this paper
Webster, California, United States,
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internet, censorship, the internet, internet censorship, free expression, credit card numbers, porn, Communications Decency Act, government censorship, computer, information, Internet crime, censored, indecent, authority figure, web pages, Net Nanny, 1996 telecommunications act, chief operating officer, little people, these things, Wall Street Journal, Ordinary people, World Wide Web, to not, computer fraud, many ways, American Congress, purity test, computer science, Tenth Edition, cyberspace, child pornography, public discourse, criminal prosecution, bad taste, dark ages, criminal offense, reading room, Kevin Mitnick, Howard Rheingold, Mike Godwin, physical world, waived, civil liberties, content providers, Village Voice, Information Superhighway, graduate student, staff writer,