Current Internet Censorship Efforts
In a sweeping victory for free speech rights
in cyberspace, the Supreme Court struck
down the Communications Decency Act (CDA)
in Reno v. ACLU in June 1997, and granted
the highest level of First Amendment protection
to the Internet.
In December 2000, the United States Congress
passed legislation requiring Internet blocking
technology to block pornographic materials
in all public schools and libraries funded
through certain federal programs. See EPIC's
Page for materials on Ashcroft v. ACLU,
the current challenge to Internet censorship
now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also, see EPIC's Censorware
Page for information about the problems
raised by technological censorship.
In addition to these sweeping bills, other
less restrictive censorship legislation
has been proposed on Capitol Hill.
- 1996 Senate Defense Appropriations bill
with a provision
introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein
to ban bomb makering material from the
Internet. The provision was later removed
before passage of the bill.
- Congressional testimony of EPIC
Advisory Board member Frank Tuerkheimer
before the U.S. Senate on banning
bomb making instructions on the Internet.
Amendment to the counterterrorism
bill on banning "bomb making instructions"
on the Internet.
- Interactive Services Association
testimony on the Feinstein Amendment.
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, states
are busy crafting censorship laws at home.
At least thirteen states have passed legislation
since 1995. This year, New Mexico has already
passed a draconian censorship law, and bills
are pending in 10 other states.
The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit in United States v.
Thomas, a case involving the Tennessee obscenity
prosecution of the California operator of
an adult bulletin board system. The case
raised important issues concerning "community
standards" in cyberspace--an issue currently
under review by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft
Efforts on Net Censorship
Other On-Line Censorship Issues
- America Online withdraws its ban on
of Spanish in its chat discussion
rooms. C|Net story on the incident.
- America Online's controversial efforts
to set content standards on its public
boards (from the ACLU Cyber-Rights Alert).
An archive of poetry banned from AOL,
and a discussion area devoted to the issue.
We support the
Free Speech Page | EPIC
Updated: February 01, 2002
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/free_speech/censorship/default.html