Teaching Examples

U.S. Congress slashes free speech (again)
July 28, 2006, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yelvington calls it a “war on social networking,” and he’s not exaggerating.

A total of 410 of our elected Representatives in Congress voted for this bill (H.R. 5319), which undercuts two vital elements of the First Amendment: freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble. (Thanks to Cory’s public records blog for the link to that excellent Congressional votes database!)

People who were online 10 years ago will remember the CDA and COPA laws, which were passed but ultimately declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court — thank goodness. Like this current bill, those two laws were ostensibly crafted to “protect children” from all the evil that lurks on the big bad Internet. And like the current bill, they too attempted to do so by treating all U.S. citizens and residents like children — stripping us of the very rights that the Bush administration claims our military is fighting to bring to others in, for example, Iraq.

The right to think as we will and to speak as we think, to speak (and that must include posting messages online) freely without fear of censure, and to meet (online or off) with others to discuss what we want to — without these rights, we are not a democracy. Without these rights, we are as repressed and downtrodden as any undemocratic country you care to name.

No child is physically harmed while sitting at the computer. The threat comes when they go out unsupervised, when they meet up with strangers in the real, physical world. Remember the question “Do you know where your children are right now?” That’s the issue here. Not the Internet.

This bill (called the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006) is a direct attack on those rights, which generations of Americans have fought and died to defend.

Update (11:14 a.m.): Here’s a librarian’s view of the bill, which — I forgot to mention — is known as DOPA (pronounced DOPE-ah).

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1 Comment so far
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When I first saw this I flipped out. One of the interesting things in of the 15 who voted nay to it all of them were democrats. I am trying to get comment from them on it and I have been unsucessful so far.

Comment by David Newberger

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