APCO 1P50 Wednesday October 31, 2012
First Amendment Rights
Right to freedom of expression
o Guaranteed by First Ammendment – important right for free people everywhere.
Definition of free speech includes: non-verbal, visual, and symbolic forms of expression, right to speak
Canada: Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Censoring the internet – focus on censoring pornography from minors.
There is a trend toward less government restraint on printed word.
Broadcasted content is much more censored. CRTC start regulating the structure and content of the
industry – i.e. that we must have Canadian content and also Canadian ads in the Superbowl.
Not Protected by the First Amendment
Perjury Incitement of panic/to crime
Fraud “Fighting words”
Allows some restrictions on advertising (e.g.
we don’t see TV ads on cigarettes or people
Case study: Italy & Google Executives
o Video of Autistic kid being bullied on YouTube.
Speech is considered obscene when:
Average person finds the work appeals to the prurient interest
Work depicts or describes sexual conduct in an offensive way
Lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value
George Carlin records “Filthy Words” in 1973 – swears at 2:00 p.m. (accessible to kids)
o Led to obscene adult content being aired only after 9:00 p.m.
Some oral or written statement of alleged fact that is false and harms another person. Harm is often
of a financial nature.
Slander – oral defamatory statement
Libel – written defamatory statement
o Not when you target a general group, rather a specific individual.
Where are court cases heard? If it originates in one place but heard in another?
Freedom of Expression: Key Issues
Controlling access to information on the internet
Anonymity on the internet Corporate blogging
Hate speech Openmedia.ca APCO 1P50 Wednesday October 31, 2012 APCO 1P50 Wednesday October 31, 2012
Controlling Access to Information on the Internet
Freedom of speech on the Internet is complicated by the ease by which children can access the
Communications Decency Agency
Child Online Protection Act (COPA)
o Applies to communication for commercial purposes
o Imposes penalties for exposing minors to harmful material on the Web
o Found unconstitutional in 2004
o Software installed with a web browser
o Blocks access to certain web sites that contain inappropriate or offensive material
e.g. Google’s SafeSearch
URL Filtering – blocks objectionable URLs or domain names
Keyword filtering – blocks key words or phrases
Dynamic content filtering – websites contented evaluated before being displayed
o Uses object analysis and image recognition
ICRA rating system – now discontinued
o Websites would present a self-rating of their website, whether or not their content was
offensive – most websites wouldn’t describe their content as offensive.
US – Federally financed schools and libraries must block computer access to: obscene material,
pornography, anything considered harmful to minors.
Schools and libraries subject to CIPA do not receive internet access discounts unless they:
o Filter obscene, child pornographic, harmful images to minors
o Adopt a policy to monitor minors’ online activities.
o Adopt a policy restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.
CIPA doesn’t require the tracking of Internet use by minors or adults.
Acceptable use policy agreement is an essential element of successful program in schools
Signed by: students, parents, employees.
Global Impact of Censorship
Global nature of the Internet protects against censorship (banned in one country, move to another)
May impose more restrictive censorship (block everything in an attempt to block one thing)
Companies who do business in countries that control Internet access must comply with the local laws
o Google argued that some access is better than no access (Fundamental Human Right?)
Some people believe that Internet access is a fundamental right – it’s a