Internet Regulation: Policing Cyberspace


The Internet is a method of communication and a source of information that is
becoming more popular among those who are interested in, and have the time to
surf the information superhighway. The problem with this much information
being accessible to this many people is that some of it is deemed inappropriate
for minors. The government wants censorship, but a segment of the population
does not. Legislative regulation of the Internet would be an appropriate
function of the government.

The Communications Decency Act is an amendment which prevents the information
superhighway from becoming a computer "red light district." On June 14, 1995,
by a vote of 84-16, the United States Senate passed the amendment. It is now
being brought through the House of Representatives.1 The Internet is owned and
operated by the government, which gives them the obligation to restrict the
materials available through it. Though it appears to have sprung up overnight,
the inspiration of free-spirited hackers, it in fact was born in Defense
Department Cold War projects of the 1950s.2 The United States Government owns
the Internet and has the responsibility to determine who uses it and how it is
used. The government must control what information is accessible from its
agencies.

This material is not lawfully available through the mail or over the telephone,
there is no valid reason these perverts should be allowed unimpeded on the
Internet. Since our initiative, the industry has commendably advanced some
blocking devices, but they are not a substitute for well-reasoned law.4 Because
the Internet has become one of the biggest sources of information in this
world, legislative safeguards are imperative.

The government gives citizens the privilege of using the Internet, but it has
never given them the right to use it.

They seem to rationalize that the framers of the constitution planned & plotted
at great length to make certain that above all else, the profiteering
pornographer, the pervert and the pedophile must be free to practice their
pursuits in the presence of children on a taxpayer created and subsidized
computer network.3 People like this are the ones in the wrong. Taxpayer\'s
dollars are being spent bringing obscene text and graphics into the homes of
people all over the world.

The government must take control to prevent pornographers from using the
Internet however they see fit because they are breaking laws that have existed
for years. Cyberpunks, those most popularly associated with the Internet, are
members of a rebellious society that are polluting these networks with
information containing pornography, racism, and other forms of explicit
information.

When they start rooting around for a crime, new cybercops are entering a pretty
unfriendly environment. Cyberspace, especially the Internet, is full of those
who embrace a frontier culture that is hostile to authority and fearful that
any intrusions of police or government will destroy their self-regulating
world.5 The self-regulating environment desired by the cyberpunks is an
opportunity to do whatever they want. The Communications Decency Act is an
attempt on part of the government to control their "free attitude" displayed in
homepages such as "Sex, Adult Pictures, X-Rated Porn", "Hot Sleazy Pictures
(Cum again + again)" and "sex, sex, sex. heck, it\'s better even better than
real sex"6. "What we are doing is simply making the same laws, held
constitutional time and time again by the courts with regard to obscenity and
indecency through the mail and telephones, applicable to the Internet."7 To
keep these kinds of pictures off home computers, the government must control
information on the Internet, just as it controls obscenity through the mail or
on the phone.

Legislative regulations must be made to control information on the Internet
because the displaying or distribution of obscene material is illegal.

The courts have generally held that obscenity is illegal under all
circumstances for all ages, while "indecency" is generally allowable to adults,
but that laws protecting children from this "lesser" form are acceptable. It\'s
called protecting those among us who are children from the vagrancies of
adults.8 The constitution of the United States has set regulations to determine
what is categorized as obscenity and what is not.

In Miller vs. California, 413 U.S. at 24-25, the court announced its "Miller
Test" and held, at 29, that its three part test constituted "concrete
guidelines to isolate \'hard core\' pornography from expression protected by the
First Amendment.9 By laws previously set by the government, obscene pornography
should not be accessible on the Internet.

The government must police the Internet because people are breaking laws.
"Right now, cyberspace is like a neighborhood without a police department."10
Currently anyone can put anything he wants on the Internet with no penalties.
"The Communications Decency Act gives