Monday, October 20, 2003

There have been a number of interesting articles published recently on the subject of protecting children from inappropriate content on the Internet. Angela M. Xenakis argues in the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology that the answer is in technology and not regulation.

Christopher Scott Maravilla in the West Virginia Journal of Law & Technology also suggests the answer might be in zoning and filtering technologies. But, for example, that these should be mandated by government regulation requiring virtual red light district domain names to be used for pornography.

Edgar Burch looks at censoring hate speech also in the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology. He argues that hate speech on the Net presents real dangers in the wake of the tragedy of 11th September 2001. He concludes:

"The First Amendment and the peripheral rights that it embodies severely restrict the government’s ability to regulate hate speech... calls for implementation of legislation (regulation of Internet-based hate speech) or private procedures
(use of filtering systems) to protect youth who lack the sophistication to truly carry out the marketplace of ideas concept...
If the September 11th attacks on America have not conveyed any other message, they have reminded
people that some rights we have come to value may have to be limited to maintain safety and order in this nation."

I disagree on many fronts but probably most importantly in relation to his notion that young people are incapable of negotiating the marketplace of ideas. Give young people freedom and responsibility and they will amaze you.

Dawn S. Conrad in the Richmond Journal of Law & Technology says that "joint efforts by the government, consumers, parents, law
enforcement, the technology industry, and the adult Internet industry will be required."

Robert Chalmers argues for education not censorship in the Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law.

Finally (for now) the BBC are highlighting an LSE report on Children on the Internet

"While the industry, government, schools and parents should continue to
highlight risks, there are also some exciting opportunities being missed for
engaging with young people online. "

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