Your First Amendment right to free speech has been threatened.


You might be thinking, "Free speech? Threatened? What?" It's the Communications Decency Act, a provision of the Telecommunications Reform Bill President Clinton signed in 1996, about a year and a half ago. Something that almost restricted the free speech we value in a new medium just beginning to grow: the Internet.

Since it's old news, you probably haven't heard much about it recently. And, because it's old news, you probably haven't thought much about it either. But maybe you should.

While I was researching the CDA my opinions swung from the far left to the far right and all about in the middle. Unless you're truly passionate about freedom of speech in every sense or about family values in a very traditional sense, your opinion might waver too.

There's so many questions to answer and so many issues to sort out. Should it be legal to post pornographic or racist web sites? To promote the use of all kinds of illegal drugs or give out directions on how to make bombs capable of killing people? I think the most important issue is that children, little kids who know more about the Web than their own parents, can access this information accidentally or purposely out of natural curiosity.

I know. There's another side, an equally important one. Who can decide what I'm able to write on my own page when the Constitution of the United States of America says I'M the one to decide? The freedom of speech is one of the ideas this country is founded on. Fortunately the Supreme Court knows that. The CDA was challenged one week after it was signed. It was overturned, and peace returned to the World Wide Web.

Wait...you're not done yet. If you're going to believe in something you have to know a little about it! Don't worry, it's not too painful. Just click.