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•Free speech in the United States
•Technology and the public network of information
•A fine line between aggression and expression
•Strengthening the first amendment Finding a balance
•Expansion of technology has enabled new kinds of
•Along with each new kind of communication comes new
opportunities for free speech and new methods for restricting
free speech:
• Examples:
Telephone Wiretapping
Controlling who can access the Internet
Controlling what can be accessed on the Internet
•Each new type of communication is initially a blank slate – no
regulations of any kind
•Free speech slowly becomes more regulated as a result of a
struggle between those who want unfettered free speech and
those who want more control
•To strengthen the laws.
• Governments begin to realize that the rights for free speech have to be
protected, but free speech can not be the excuse for moral loss and crime.
• Governments never stop setting a relatively fair law to judge if the speech is
criminal. In US, since The Alien and Sedition act of 1798, there have been
many laws/tests avoiding malicious and inflammatory speech.
• 1. Hate Speech
• 2. Internet defamation
• 3. Commercial speech
• 4. Campaign Finance Reform
•Governments try to find some other assistant ways.
• Governments recommend parents to use filter software to protect children.
• Governments have asked ISPs to filter out Web sites they deem offensive
and child porn.
•Our responsibility as citizens is to ensure that our 1st amendment rights are
not impeded on but in the same breadth, guaranteeing that each individual
is protected from any hatred others may want to express.
•In this comes the challenge: how do we walk the fine line between free
expression and aggression/hatred? How do we handle the ambiguity? (art &
pornography) When do we stop? How does the government handle the
situation and how far can they go?
•Solutions to solving this problem are difficult to implement because the
lines of what is acceptable and what is not are blurred especially when it
comes to art. A painting like La Source by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
depicts a young female in the nude. Is this art? Or child pornography?
Should it be removed from the web for indecency?
•A big factor of free speech centers on the protection of children and
their innocence.
• COPA (child online protection act): attempt to establish criminal penalties
for online material harmful to minors.
• Problem: As the Appeals Court realized – unconstitutional because it
forces web communication providers abide by the most restrictive
community's standards.
•So what can the government do?
• In Australia the government uses ISPs to filter “objectionable material” and
block access for users.
• Problem: Plan has met with a large deal of public criticism and multiple
petitions created in an effort to block it.
• What is the US government doing?
• In one instance regarding health care the government set up an e-mail
account to collect disinformation on the health care plan.
• It is asks people to report anything “fishy” they see online, in an e-mail, or
even in casual conversation.
• Positive result: allows government to remove objectionable material without
impeding on the citizen’s rights.
•The protection of free speech is guaranteed to every American
by the 1st Amendment, and this includes speech via more
technological methods like the internet
•Abuses of free speech are clearly possible: child pornography,
planning terrorist attacks, etc
•These abuses are the exception and not the rule; laws and
controls should not be implemented that assume a large
percentage of people using communication technology are
abusing it
•Free speech must be respected in all cases.
•Evolution of free speech to new mediums like the internet is
the topic of the disputing parties that argue over the degree to
which we should have regulation
•Means by which we can improve the current situation of free
speech in the United States is to further strengthen the first
amendment while providing means by which microorganization of free speech can occur such as in a family
environment where parents can filter what their children can
•Continuing to pursue a better balance between the censorship
of inappropriate materials without impeding on an individual’s
first amendment rights