Freedom Of Speech And The Internet The United States of America was founded over two hundred years ago on the basis of freedom. Freedoms, which were wrote into, and are yet a part of the Constitution of the United States. Under the First Amendment of the Constitution, many freedoms are granted to the citizens of this great nation. Such freedoms as those of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly are granted to all free citizens. But, where do our freedoms begin and end when it comes to the Internet? How can a small group of individuals regulate an entity that is much larger than its jurisdiction? Who is responsible for deciding what is considered proper for viewing to users? With so many regulations and rules governing the Internet, what happened to that right granted to us in the First Amendment? With all these rules and codes of conduct, one begins to wonder if the First Amendment gives us the freedoms it so justly states, or if we are just too ignorant to stand up and fight for the rights granted to us by the Constitution (Constitution).
Freedom of speech, on the Internet, has endured several battles throughout its recent history. In 1997, the Supreme Court has once already ruled in favor of freedom of speech in cyberspace. This ruling was in response to charges, which were brought up to a federal judge, involving the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The federal judge found for the defendant, stating that the CDA was unconstitutional. After appealing to the Supreme Court, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took to the defense once again, fighting for the freedom of speech in the matter at hand. With their primary defense centered on the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled the act unconstitutional by a majority vote.
This landmark decision sets the stage for future fights for the freedom of speech on and off of the Internet (Supreme Court). The Internet has also been of controversy when it comes to monitoring or blocking sites, which are deemed dangerous to minors. In another recent court case, a public library offering public Internet access had blocking software installed, restricting sites considered harmful to minors, limiting perfectly good.