Banning Internet Censorship

4 April 2015
An argument advocating the full right to free speech on the Internet, with a focus on pornography.

This paper explores both sides of the internet censorship debate and settles upon the advocacy of unbridled free speech. The following topics are discussed in detail– the presence of child pornography on the internet; the unique global audience that the internet attracts; the subsequent inconsistent standards for “indecent material;” the efforts of conservatives and liberals to enact internet-related legislation; and the possible consequences of curtailing the internet’s voice. The paper ends with the notion that silencing indecent material on the internet would silence a world-wide web of voices that is still growing as we speak.
Harmful objects are kept from children by locks on doors and tabs on cupboards. Now, right-wing Conservatives wish to apply this same child-proofing strategy to the Internet. The Communications Decency Act backed by such groups as the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition would have made it illegal to transmit indecent material to children online, had it not been struck down by the Supreme Court. The similarly themed Child Online Protection Act sought to demand ID verification from those that visit adult sites. The problem with such legislation is that the Internet unlike television, radio, or print is trafficked by a global audience unaffected by the strength of broadcast signals or the location of paper routes. For this very reason, provincial definitions of pornography or indecent material cannot be applied to the Internet without abridging First Amendment protection. To ban pornography from the Internet would be to curtail a medium that is fully deserving of the right to free speech.

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