Monday, August 19, 2019

Censorship Will Destroy the Internet Essay -- Argumentative Persuasive

Censorship Will Destroy the Internet Depending on whether or not you're a net geek like me, you probably know either everything or nothing about Senate bill 314, the Communications Decency Act. (I'm a huge net geek: I've already received at least three copies of an on-line petition against it.) Senate bill 314, proposed by Senator Exon and currently under consideration in the Senate, would ban obscenity on-line, making it a federal crime to transmit or make available over the internet anything determined to be "obscene...regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the communication." This ban includes all forms of electronic communication, from telephone calls to file transfer protocol sites (computers on the internet that contain files available to the public for copying) to private e-mail messages. In the original version of the bill, penalties also applied to internet service providers (including universities) whose facilities were used for "obscene" communications; however, aft er heavy lobbying by CompuServe, America On-Line, and other large internet services, those portions of the bill were stricken. Even in its weakened form, though, Senate bill 314 poses a significant threat to the continued growth of the internet and to constitutional rights. Perhaps the first problem with the law is that it is completely unnecessary, and its authorship clearly indicates that its authors are unfamiliar with the nature of the internet. Pornography on the internet is accessible, but only to those who go looking for it. Images do not appear unsolicited on the personal computers of internet users, so this law will not do anything at all for the user who does not actively seek pornographic mate... ...among other things, an experiment in anarchism: a group of independent, free individuals acting without coercion and defining their own rules. The internet is exciting because there is no central authority to decide what is and is not allowed, who can talk and who cannot. This freedom is one of the intangible features that makes the internet a wonder of the modern world. Senate bill 314 seeks to destroy that freedom with artificially imposed guidelines; it seeks to impose an authority where there has been none and where the citizens do not want or need one. This is perhaps the most destructive feature of Senator Exon's proposal: it would corrupt the atmosphere of freedom that many net users find so enticing. If Senator Exon spent some time on-line, perhaps he could understand how precious this experiment really this, and perhaps he would not be so quick to end it.

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