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Freedom of Speech Censorship on the Internet Introduction With more and more frequency the newspapers are reporting instances of school children distributing disks of pornographic images which they have downloaded from the net and recently a university student was found to be operating such a site for material On November 11 an Associated Press release Phillips1994 reported that Carnegie Mellon University had decided to block its users from accessing sexually explicit materials through the Internet the universitys president feared that the university could be prosecuted under state pornography laws if it did not control the access Within the last week Towson State has prevented access to all of the alt groups on the Usenet which include altbinariespictures which has sexually explicit pictures Towson State has also included a warning on their home page that there may be pornographic material on the Internet Pornographic material is not the only material to be found on the net which can raise questions of censorship and control discussion of racial political religious and sexual topics all run the risk of offending someone somewhere leading to demands for control of the Internet The question of censorship may also be raised in some unexpected places one newsgroup is the rechumor list which is a collection of jokes submitted to subscribers There are straightforwardly rude jokes but others are politically incorrect focusing on sexual stereotypes mothers-in-law women and so on It has been suggested Interpersonal Computing and Technology 1994 that discretionary warning labels could be attached to potentially offensive material With warning labels like those on records this may serve to whet appetites Warning labels involve some sort of judging and then the question is raised as to who shall be the judge The Internet is world-wide so would the First Amendment apply in Germany The material on the Internet which is grossly offensive by any standards such as paedophile material is extremely difficult to find because of its small
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