The Internet in Transition

Preserving Free Speech and Protecting Children Online

In order to preserve free speech and protect children online, President Obama and Congress should take specific steps, including the following:

The President and Congress should follow and support the Supreme Court’s ruling that speech on the Internet deserves the highest level of constitutional protection.

  • The Supreme Court, in striking down the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), recognized that the Internet was different from all other electronic media such as radio and television because of its low barriers to entry, abundance of speakers, and lack of gatekeepers. The decision in the CDA case paved the way for making the Internet the innovative global medium it is today.
  • Congress should reject legislative proposals to limit access to content online in ways that are at odds with the CDA decision.
  • In the courts, the Administration should defend the Internet’s highest level of free speech protection.
  • Useful links:

President Obama and Congress should make Internet education and parental empowerment tools the centerpiece of federal government efforts to protect children online.

President Obama and Congress should endorse the current policy that protects Internet websites and communications intermediaries from liability for the postings of others and should oppose burdensome and ineffective technology mandates.

President Obama and Congress should ensure that bloggers and all individual American citizens can engage in robust political speech online without the need to comply with burdensome campaign finance limitations and reporting requirements.

  • The President should oppose, and Congress should reject, any proposals that would impose on individuals and small speakers  ”including bloggers”  limitations on their right and ability to express their political views online, or that would require such speakers to file reports about their speech or online expenditures with the Federal Election Commission.
  • The President should nominate to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and Congress should confirm, individuals who are committed to maintaining the FEC rules that exclude most online activities from the limitations and reporting requirements contained in the campaign finance laws.
  • Useful links:

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