…should states be allowed to put any restrictions on what can be said or expressed on the Internet, and/or who has access to it?
I think there are some things that can/should be restricted. Hate speech, slander/libel, and others would be examples of those things.
Now, I don’t think those can be reasonably policed, but I don’t see the Internet as being special in terms of communication media. If you can’t harass a person “IRL” then why should you be able to online?
There is a bit of a difference there though. You can ignore people on the Internet, whereas you can’t ignore a mob of people marching up and down the street calling you a faggot or a nigger. But I think that focused and intentional attempts to harass and/or unreasonably discredit a person should be punishable on the Internet.
In terms of access to the World Wide Web, I don’t think there should be any restrictions on an International basis (and perhaps even on a more domestic basis.) A person could legitimately be visiting a CP site with the intentions of studying it. Scientists very often go into areas where illegal activities are being conducted. They even produce studies on the matter.
Again, if these sorts of studies are allow offline, then why shouldn’t they be allowedonline?
But that leads to the matter of viewing illegal activities such as CP and voyeur pornography (and borderline pornography like bestial pornography and lolicon.) At what point do you police and hold the consumer responsible and punishable for viewing such things?
Do you have to have IRB approval to go to such sites? Can it be for entertainment if you’re not perpetuating it/can there be lesser penalties for merely viewing and not perpetuating it?
On matters such as that, I can’t believe that a person could frequent a bar that somehow allows minors to dancing on-stage naked without (and rightfully) reporting the activities there. Applying the same logic, if a consumer knows that the people on-screen are underage, then they should report that site…to whom though? And how?
The way I see it is pretty clear cut. In terms of communication, I think posting something in a public forum such as Facebook or a public blog should be held to similar standards such as a protest. If you can call for the death of Muslims in a town square, then it should be allowed on a blog.
Now if the communication is private and no threats are being made (as sites like Google and Skype probably have access to these communications,) then I’d say that’s the equivalent of speaking to your friend over the phone, and any restrictions (i.e., very few, if any) should be placed upon participating parties.
For what a person can consume without creating or perpetuating, I think rules with the well-being of others should be kept in mind.
- Does CP hurt anyone?
- Yes, the minors are being exposed to the public without being able to properly consent.
- Does lolicon hurt anyone?
- I believe the UK and other countries explicitly prohibit consuming such art. The US (with fewer federal laws and varied state laws) isn’t as clear cut on the matter (according to Wikipedia,) but it seems like at least one man was convicted of a crime for possessing the drawn depiction of underage characters in sexual situations. It may be argued that it doesn’t hurt anyone, but I don’t believe the Internet should be different from other mediums for this instance.
Those sorts of things need to be discussed, defended, and argued so that rules and laws can be properly informed (and subsequently, attempted to be enforced.)
Or more to the point:
- I believe there is some room for negative rights, but only as much as it is offline.
- I believe that the Internet is not a crucial medium for most humans as of yet to live a healthy and happy life, and most public libraries offer access to the Web for adults anyway.
- Communication should only be restricted in similar ways as it is offline.
- Consumption of materials should only be restricted in similar ways as it is offline.
I hope that makes sense. I didn’t really have an outline.