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Internet Censorship – Just Say No

Internet Censorship: Just Say No

In December of 1994, a young college student named Jake Baker posted one of his fiction pieces in an alt.sex newsgroup. Usually, his contributions to this widely-read site consisted of short stories about rape, torture, and murder of women. In this particular newsgroup post, he continued with his usual contributions; however, he took it a bit further by writing about one of his fellow classmates, using her name and identity in the piece. Faculty members at the University of Michigan discovered his story and later expelled him from school. Federal agents then raided his house, arrested him, and discovered copies of e-mail Baker had exchanged with a Canadian, mapping out his and the Canadian’s plan to meet in Ann Arbor the following summer to commit rapes and murders together. Baker was indicted in federal court for threatening his classmate, but the indictment was later revised to drop the charges based on the newsgroup posting and to rely on the threats to unspecified “victims” made in the e-mails Baker exchanged with the Canadian. Late in June, a federal judge dismissed charges against Baker, holding that his acts were not a federal crime (http://www.spectacle.org/).

Now, four years later, the questions still remain: Did Baker cross the line when he used the victim’s name and personal description? Did he violate the free speech/free press rights? Did Baker abuse his posting privileges, and did he commit a crime via the Internet? My answer is no, that his newsgroup posts didn’t constitute a real threat. Baker may have written hard-core pornography and offensively viscious articles, but he had the freedom to do so. Many would disagree with me, arguing that Baker was way out of line when …

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…the Internet: Allow people to publish their own work on the Internet and in newsgroup posts. Don’t try to regulate something that’s almost impossible to regulate. And if you’re a concerned parent, get Surfwatch or some other kind of Netfiltering program — it’s up to you to protect your own child’s innocence. If you’re offended by something you read on the Internet, keep going and don’t look back. And finally, I’d leave the person with a statement that I read on the Internet itself: “Censor yourself, not others….The internet is the largest gathering of human beings ever assembled….One of the ground rules is that there is No-One-In-Charge, which means there is no censorship….This freedom is the prime reason that the Internet has become so important and why there are so many diverse resources” (http://www.trifectanet.com/safety.html). What a powerful statement.

Classrooms Must Access the Internet

Classrooms Must Access the Internet

Times are changing. Only ten years ago, the average family could not afford a personal computer for the home. Over the last decade, prices have fallen causing the availability of computers to rise. Computers have made their way into almost every business and school. Functioning without them seems somewhat difficult to most people. Schools are especially interested in investing in the technology of tomorrow. Computer classes have been created along with typing courses to aid students in every way possible in preparing them for the world of tomorrow. Not knowing how to use a computer will be like not knowing how to drive a car. There are ways of getting around the absence of a computer, but most of society will depend on them. The use of computers makes numerous tasks easier and quicker to accomplish. One advantage all children should have in the writing room is access to the World Wide Web, also know as the “Web,” or, WWW.

Technology is changing and so should classrooms. The World Wide Web is an important tool. It offers a vast amount of valuable information to children of all ages across the world. According to Pedroni Guillermo who holds a Master of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University, “We need to encourage students to become familiar with the different tools and resources that would enable them to compete in the 21st century. The students of the suture need to know how to use the Internet in an efficient manner as a communication, research, and business medium. As the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, mentioned during an Endorsement of Technology, ‘technology is reshaping our world at an outstanding speed’ (WHPR 1995). We need to prepare chil…

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…t Century Classrooms Act, children across America will receive a brighter education. The possibilities are endless. Children will be given access to mediums like the World Wide Web that will enhance their education beyond the walls of the classroom. Traditional education has been expanded. It is time that we allow the youth of America to catch up.

Works Cited

Detwiler Foundation. “New Law Gives Enhanced Tax Benefits For Donating Computers To Schools.” Net. 1997. http://wwwnt.thegroup.net/detwiler/deduct.html

(2 Mar. 1998).

Detwiler Foundation. “The Computers For Schools Program Is Expanding Nationwide.” Net. 1997. http://wwwnt.thegroup.net/detwiler/natl.html (2 Mar. 1998).

Guillermo, Pedroni E. “The Importance of The World Wide Web In Education K-12.”

Geocites. 1996 http://www.geocites.com/Athens/5461/paper1.html (2 Mar. 1998).

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