CFP96 Plenary Session

Special Evening session: Thursday, March 28, 9:30-11:00 PM

Update and Commentary on the Court Challenge to the Communications Decency Act

Organizer: Danny Weitzner
Panelists: Jill Lesser
Barry Steinhardt
Bruce Taylor

The "Communications Decency Act of 1996" (part of the recently enacted Telecommuncations Bill) includes provisons imposing imposes criminal penalties for "indecent" telecommunications to individuals under the age of 18, and also criminalizes the use of any "interactive computer service" to "send" or "display in a manner available" to a person under 18 any communication that "depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs."

This law is directed at Internet activity, so has significant implications for all Internet users. Several organizations have filed Constitutional challenges to the Act.

We expect that these challenges will be in process during the time of CFP96: Initial briefs will have been presented on both sides, and some live hearings will have taken place. At this CFP96 special session, people involved in the proceedings will review the status of the case and comment on the legal issues being raised.

Moderator: Daniel J. Weitzner is Deputy Director at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Contact: / (202) 637-9800


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Last updated April 6, 1996