A4 - Nate Neroni P Geng Writ 140 Should The Internet be...

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Nate Neroni 11/18/07 P. Geng Writ. 140 Should The Internet be Regulated? Although the internet has been a useful tool for communication since its conception in the early 1990’s, it has also raised many questions among concerned viewers. Overtime, hate sites such as the KKK have used the internet to portray their views to the millions of people who have access to the internet. Now an innocent child can log on to the internet and accidentally end up at a hate site advocating for the persecution of for instance black people. This could potentially have a profound effect upon the child and it raises the question of whether or not the internet needs to be regulated? The first and fourteenth amendments prohibit hate groups from posting signs in public that advocate for the persecution of a certain race, so why should they be able to essentially do the same on the internet? Since the internet can be so easily accessed by so many people, yes the internet does need to be regulated. The notion that free speech on the internet can perpetuate hatred and provoke violence is a very real threat. Young internet users who may be easily influenced are exposed to hate filled ideas and values, often without censorship. In addition, there have been studies done that allude to hate speech and witnessing forms of violence leading to violent acts like for instance Columbine. Again, this evidence leads me to believe that the internet or more specifically internet hate sites need to be regulated. The first amendment clearly supports the use of free speech and this idea is a value held so dearly by so many Americans. Based on this, one might think that the government should not censor hate sites, but the issue is not that simple. Firstly, the U.S. constitution was written 230 years ago during a time when people simply did not have anywhere near the technology that we have today, and secondly, in the late 1700’s hate groups hardly existed. In addition, the
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constitution also states that no right is absolute if it infringes upon other rights guaranteed in the constitution. One of the other rights guaranteed in the constitution is the fourteenth amendment. The fourteenth amendment is essentially an antidiscrimination principle. Based on this, anything that supports and perpetuates racial or social discrimination should be regulated, like hate. Going back to the first amendment, people who argue that free speech applies to internet hate site regulation do not have much of an argument. This is because the fourteenth amendment negates any basis for free speech if it is discriminatory. Now the fourteenth amendment has oftentimes been ignored when it comes to internet free speech, but recently, or after the September 11 attacks it has played a greater role in terms of regulating content. After the attacks several websites by Azzam Publications , which were sponsored by Dr. Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, who
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