Punishing the Transmission of Pornography on the Internet

TitlePunishing the Transmission of Pornography on the Internet
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published02/1996
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsFREEDOM of speech , Library and Information Science , Public Policy
AbstractFor the past several years Congress has been considering measures that would impose fines and prison sentences upon people who transmit pornography over the Internet. In December of 1995 A House-Senate conference committee agreed upon a bill including tough new laws providing for fines of up to $100,000 and prison terms of up to five years for transmitting "indecent" material over computer networks. The agreed upon bill would also offer protection to on-line services using new technologies designed to keep pornography away from children. In this connection, the computer industry is working on a labeling system under which sexual material transmitted over the internet would have a standard tag, thereby enabling parents to program their computers to block the material. Civil liberties groups are strongly opposed to the recently agreed upon bill, and predict they will challenge it in court, if enacted by Congress. Does the newly agreed upon bill concerning transmittal of pornography over the Internet unjustifiably violate the right of free speech? If so, why? If not, why not?
NotesCase from the February 24, 1996 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1996.
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