This article examines the history of judicial and legislative responses to the issue of consumption of pornography and other harmful materials over the Internet by children. The article begins by giving a brief overview of free speech law in the US. Next, summaries of relevant U.S. legislation and corresponding litigation on Internet free speech are given. Highlighted are: 1) the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the U.S. Supreme Court’s response in Reno v. ACLU; 2) The Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) and Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition; 3) the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and United States v. American Library Association; and 4) the Child online Protection Act (COPA) and Ashcroft v. ACLU. The article concludes with an analysis of the issues raised by the legislation and litigation, and comes to the conclusion that the best way to currently protect both children and freedom of speech is to use technology to help control the problems of technology and to use government resources to help empower parents and educators to better protect and supervise children when they use the Internet.
Anne Dupre, John Dayton, and Christine Kiracofe,
Protecting Children From the Dark Side of the Internet
, 212 Educ. L. Rep. 553
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/876