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The Internet

Obscenity Issues, The Communications Decency Act & Cda Ii, Community Standards, Defamation, Privacy Issues

An estimated 44 million individuals participate in the Internet, and the audience is doubling each year. On each day in 1997, 71,000 new users logged on. Sixty percent of Internet content originates in the United States Those interested in regulation efforts include the government, which swears to protect children from inappropriate material, parenting groups who are concerned about what their children may encounter, First Abmattle creekendment free speech watchdogs who are concerned about preserving the unrestricted state of the cybercommunity, and the average curious individual who may just want to click some pretty raunchy content. As a general rule, the Constitution forbids the government from silencing speakers because of their particular message. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is empowered to "describe" measures it believes to be "reasonable, effective, and appropriate" to block minors' access, but it cannot "approve, sanction, or permit, the use of such measures."


Data scrambling, or encryption, allows secure electronic commerce such as credit card information to be sent through the Internet. Use of encryption is not regulated within the US, but the export of encryption software has been banned. In late 1998, the United States relaxed export restrictions for some encryption products.

Further Readings

  • Harper, Christopher. And That's the Way it Will Be: News and Information in a Digital World. NY: New York University Press, 1998.
  • Platt, Charles. Anarchy Online: Net Sex Net Crime. NY: Harper Prism, 1997.
  • Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr. The Educator's Brief Guide to the Internet and the World Wide Web. NY: Eye on Education, 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court Cases