CFP96 Plenary Session

The Struggle To Control Controversial Content On The Global Net

Moderator:Daniel Weitzner
Panelists: Herbert Burkert
Gara LaMarche
Kate Martin

As the net becomes more popular and accessible around the world, some societies are taking steps to censor controversial material. The U.S. Congress as well as many state legislatures are considering severe criminal penalties for making indecent material available on the net. Newly emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are weighing various approaches to free expression online. Germany has sought to extend its strict laws against neo-Nazi propaganda and hate speech to the World Wide Web, and the UK is considering censorship of sexually-explicit material. Meanwhile, many other Western Europeans and others from more permissive cultures marvel at the lengths to which some will go to control sexual expression.

This panel will consider issues such as the impact on the global network when censorship policies vary among countries, whether the US and other countries with strong free speech protections should export their political philosophies, whether the assertion of domestic sovereignty over parts of the global network is even possible, and the feasibility of technological solutions for controlling access to content.

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