Cyber-Censorship - The Virginia Professor's Case
1996 onwards

Background:

This pertains to a civil case concerning the constitutionality of Va. Code §2.1-804 et seq., entitled "Restrictions on State Employee Access to Information Infrastructure" ("the Act"), which restricts the ability of state employees to access sexually explicit material on state-owned or leased computers.

The plaintiffs are professors at various Virginia state colleges and universities, who allege that the Act unconstitutionally interferes with their research and teaching. For example, plaintiff Urofsky has been reluctant to assign students on-line research assignments on "indecency" law because of the Act; Smith's website containing materials on gender roles and sexuality has been censored as a result of the Act; Meyers is concerned about his ability to access the Commonwealth's own database of sexually explicit poetry to continue his studies on the "fleshy school" of Victorian poets; Heller has stopped using the Internet to continue her research on lesbian and gay studies; and Levin and Delaney are reluctant to use the Internet to continue their psychological research on human sexual experience. Plaintiffs contend that the Act, which became effective on July 1, 1996, violates their First Amendment right to free speech, and ask this Court to grant them summary judgment invalidating the Act. Defendant argues in response that the Act is a legitimate limitation of the speech of government employees, and asks the Court for summary judgment affirming the Act's validity. (From http://www.aclu.org/court/urofskyvallendec.html, the first decision.)

The Status:


The ACLU page on Cyber-Censorship covering more than just the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Last updated 99/08/23
© J.A.N. Lee, 1999.