Electronic Privacy Information Center  

Internet Censorship

Current Internet Censorship Efforts

Federal Censorship

In a sweeping victory for free speech rights in cyberspace, the Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in Reno v. ACLU in June 1997, and granted the highest level of First Amendment protection to the Internet.

In December 2000, the United States Congress passed legislation requiring Internet blocking technology to block pornographic materials in all public schools and libraries funded through certain federal programs. See EPIC's COPA Page for materials on Ashcroft v. ACLU, the current challenge to Internet censorship now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, see EPIC's Censorware Page for information about the problems raised by technological censorship.

In addition to these sweeping bills, other less restrictive censorship legislation has been proposed on Capitol Hill.

State Censorship

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, states are busy crafting censorship laws at home. At least thirteen states have passed legislation since 1995. This year, New Mexico has already passed a draconian censorship law, and bills are pending in 10 other states.

The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in United States v. Thomas, a case involving the Tennessee obscenity prosecution of the California operator of an adult bulletin board system. The case raised important issues concerning "community standards" in cyberspace--an issue currently under review by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. ACLU.

International Censorship

International Efforts on Net Censorship

Other On-Line Censorship Issues

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Last Updated: February 01, 2002
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/free_speech/censorship/default.html