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Federal Judge Blocks Online Pornography Law

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2007
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
Ian Urbina

This article discusses the ruling by a federal judge striking down a law from 1998 making it a crime to put things on the internet that might be "harmful" to children. Professor Lessig is quoted here:

Professor Lawrence Lessig, a constitutional law professor at Stanford University, said the case decided today indicates the shifting stances that civil libertarians have taken regarding controls placed on the Internet.

"Civil libertarians have long had a ‘love-hate’ relationship with filters," he said, adding that while the A.C.L.U. argued in this case that filters are preferable, the organization has also voiced concerns about them.

"People buy filters worried about pornography, but then they see they can also block sports, politics and lots of other things, so they block those, too," Professor Lessig said. "The result is to reinforce this infrastructure of filters." That, he said, may lead to "less free speech than we would have if the government could only get it right in their approach to limiting pornography."