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Impact of Computers on Society 5. Freedom of Speech.

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Presentation on theme: "Impact of Computers on Society 5. Freedom of Speech."— Presentation transcript:

1 Impact of Computers on Society 5. Freedom of Speech

2 A Historic View of Modern Communications Print media – can be purchased and/or read by anyone Newspapers Magazines and pamphlets Books Broadcast media – broadcast through the air so that anyone can tune in Radio Television A regulated monopoly

3 More History Common carriers – carried over wires or by individual delivery to patrons Postal and delivery services Telephone Traditionally, the First Amendment protects print media, broadcast media, and common carriers

4 How Do Computers Fit In? The blind men and the elephant Somewhat like print – anyone can log on at home, in a library, or in an internet cafe Somewhat like a broadcast medium – information on the web is generally available to all Somewhat like a common carrier – individual subscribers to a service

5 Content on the Internet News Information (both accurate and inaccurate) Entertainment Web sites for a cause (noble, anti-government, silly, etc.) Personal and group communication What if the colonists had had email during the American Revolution! Pornography

6 The P-word Protected by the First Amendment Purpose of 1 st Amendment is to protect points of view that may be controversial 1 st Amendment applies to government censorship, not individuals Individuals and organizations are free not to promote ideas they disagree with Not a new problem Not delivered to your doorstep Most people choose to ignore pornography

7 Censorship There is a strong urge to censor what we dont like The Attorney General draped a nude statue On what basis do we censor? Remember that the computer is an enabling technology, not the basic cause of the problem

8 Children Easy access to adult websites Browser hijacking and pop-ups Some sites push pornography at end users Child pornography made much easier Some complications Adults portraying children in porno Virtual drawings or animations

9 What is the risk to a child? Books – Peyton Place, Tropic of Cancer, Ulysses Magazines – Playboy, Penthouse, etc. Perhaps a picture or two Most of us saw these things or at least heard about them when we were growing up We all (I think!) turned out OK

10 An efficient delivery system Offensive material is… Easy to find In great quantity Thrust at you A private setting – little or no adult supervision Anonymous for both publisher and viewer

11 Computer Decency Act of 1996 Too broad Prevented many legitimate uses of the net Struck down in court As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion. The court decision hasnt prevented multiple subsequent attempts at regulation and censorship.

12 Some questions What is offensive? Nudity Sexual acts Violence Hate speech Since the Internet uses public bandwidth (somewhat like a broadcast medium), to what extent can it be regulated?

13 Additional Questions To what extent should standards for children differ from those for adults? How do you set standards anyway? Does censorship actually protect children? Notice that these questions are not really computer questions, they are social questions.

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