This essay has a total of 707 words and 4 pages.


Refutation Paper

Most Internet users are enjoying their freedom of speech on the Net, which is supposed to
be protected by the First Amendment of the United States. However there are many
organizations who are trying to strip americans of their rights. Their main argument is
that of pornographic access to childrin via the web. Only a very small portion of the Net
contains offensive material, most people do not use the Net for pornography. Caragata from
Maclean's magazine observes that, "it is pornography that stirs the most controversy. But
while there is no doubt that pornography is popular, it amounts to a trickle compared with
everything else available on the Net" (Caragata 51). The Net is mostly being used for
communication and information exchange, and only a tiny portion of the Net contains
pornography and other offensive material.

It must be understood that censoring the Net is technically impossible. According to
Allison and Baxter, "in principle, it is impossible to monitor all material being
transmitted on the Internet. Considering the difficulties with international boundaries, a
licensing system faces many obvious practical hurdles" (Allison and Baxter 6). As
described by Allison and Baxter, "Any good Computer Science graduate can create a
completely secure encryption system for concealment purposes. The material can even be
disguised, for example hidden 'inside' a perfectly innocuous picture" (Allison and Baxter
6). Therefore, if a person wants to publish offensive material, he/she can design a
formula to change the material with respect to a key, and secretly tell other users what
the key is. In this way, they can retrieve the same material and pass through the
government censorship.

While people are concerned about Internet pornography, it should be recognized that
pornography is sometimes legal; for example, pornography is legal in video and magazines.
Therefore, it is inconsistent to ban the Internet equivalents. According to Rheingold,
"Citizens should have the right to restrict the information-flow into their homes. They
should be able to exclude from their home any subject matter that they do not want their
children to see. But sooner or later, their children will be exposed to everything from
which they have shielded them , and then they will have left to deal with these shocking
sights and sound in the moral fiber they helped them cultivate" (Rheingold n.p.). The
Internet is definitely not the only medium for teenagers to find inappropriate material.
Even if the Net does not have any, teenagers could also be exposed to indecorous material
in many other places. For example, Allison and Baxter say that, "most authors using
electronic media do not produce material that is any 'worse' than that available from news
agents, video shops, or mail-order sources" (Allison and Baxter 8). On that account, if
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