First Amendment Rights of Free Speech have perhaps never been under discussion more vehemently than recently, with respect to the Internet and to the accessibility of what some feel is inappropropriate to be viewed by minors. The objective of this class is to examine the applicability of a 200+ year right to the Internet and to computing in general.
Censorship of the Internet has been a hot topic for several years and is likely to continue to be of current interest for some time. For this reason we have started keeping a collection of links to recent publications. In the fall of 1999 perhaps one of the hottest topics in this area was the decision of the Kansas Board of Education earlier this month: to delete virtually any mention of evolution from the state's recommended science curriculum and its standardized tests. Is this a form of censorship?
Congress has attempted to place some controls over the Internet through several bills - starting with the Computer Decency Act and in 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, each of which has been challenged and either overturned or restricted in application. In the Spring of 1999 the Virginia legislature passed its own version of the Computer Decency Act by amending the Virginia Computer Crime Act. This (99/10/10) is now being challenged by a number of ISPs. The Roanoke Times had its own commentary (99/10/10)
See also the section on Privacy which includes information on Encryption.