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The Internet

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Essay title: The Internet

The Internet is a method of communication and a source of information that is becoming more popular among those who are interested in, and have the time to explore the information superhighway. The problem with this much information being accessible to this many people is that some of it is deemed inappropriate for minors. The government wants censorship, but a segment of the population does not. Legislative regulation of the Internet would be an appropriate function of the government. The Communications Decency Act is an amendment which prevents the information superhighway from becoming a "computer red light district." On June 14, 1995, by a vote of 84-16, the United States Senate passed the amendment. It is now being brought through the House of Representatives. The Internet is owned and operated by the government, which gives them the obligation to restrict the materials available through it. Though it appears to have sprung up overnight, the inspiration of free-spirited hackers, it in fact was born in Defense Department Cold War projects of the 1950's. The United States Government owns the Internet and has the responsibility to determine who uses it and how it is used. The government must control what information is accessible from its agencies. If this material is not lawfully available through the mail or over the telephone, why should it be allowed on the Internet? Since this initiative, the industry has commendably advanced some blocking devices, but they are not substitutes for well-reasoned law. Because the Internet has become one of the biggest sources of information in this world, legislative safeguards are imperative. The government gives citizens the privilege of using the Internet, but it has never given them the right to use it. They seem to rationalize that the framers of the constitution planned and plotted at great length to make certain that above all else, the profiteering pornographer, the pervert and the pedophile must be free to practice their pursuits in the presence of children on a taxpayer created and subsidized computer network. People like this are the ones in the wrong. Taxpayers' dollars are being spent bringing obscene text and graphics into the homes of people with children all over the world. The government must take control to prevent pornographers from using the Internet however they see fit because they are breaking laws that have existed for years. "Cyberpunks", those most popularly associated with the Internet, are members of a rebellious society that are polluting these networks with information containing pornography, racism, and other forms of explicit information. When they start rooting around for a crime, new "cybercops" are entering a very unfriendly environment. Cyberspace, especially the Internet, is full of those who embrace a frontier culture that is hostile to authority and fearful that any intrusions of police or government will destroy their self-regulating world. The self-regulating environment desired by the "cyberpunks" is an opportunity to do whatever they want. The Communications Decency Act is an attempt on part of the government to control their "free attitude" displayed in home pages such as "Sex, Adult Pictures, X-Rated Porn, Hot Sleazy Pictures and sex, sex, sex. Heck, it's even better than real sex" "What we are doing is simply making the same laws, held constitutional time and time again by the courts with regard to obscenity and indecency through the mail and telephones, applicable to the Internet." To keep these kinds of pictures off home computers, the government must control information on the Internet, just as it controls obscenity through the mail or on the phone. Legislative regulations must be made to control information on the Internet because the display or distribution of obscene material is illegal. The courts have generally held that obscenity is illegal under all circumstances for all ages, while "indecency" is generally allowable to adults, but that laws protecting children from this "lesser" form are acceptable. It's called protecting those among us who are children from the vagrancies of adults. The constitution of the United States has set regulations to determine what is categorized as obscenity and what is not. In Miller vs. California, 413 U.S. at 24-25, the court announced its "Miller Test" and held that its three part test constituted "concrete guidelines to isolate 'hard core' pornography from expression protected by the First Amendment." By laws previously set by the government, obscene pornography should not be accessible on the Internet. The government must police the Internet because people are breaking laws. "Right now, cyberspace is like a neighborhood without a police department." Currently anyone can put anything he wants on the Internet without penalty. "The

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