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Free Speech and Child Protection on the Web

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1 Author(s)
Weitzner, D.J. ; Artificial Intelligence Lab., MIT Comput. Sci., Cambridge, MA

Since the Web first became widely used in the mid 1990s, it's been impossible to regulate all, or even most, of its content according to a single substantive standard. Instead, diversity and decentralization rule. To protect children or anyone else from content regarded as inappropriate or harmful, we must find user-centered alternatives that leverage the Web's decentralized social organization, rather than trying to fight it. Around the world, while regulators have struggled with laws that seek to restrict children's access to material that is otherwise legal for adults, Web technology developers have been building increasingly accurate and powerful content filters. These filtering approaches can be either the basis of parental empowerment technologies or tools for repression and censorship by authoritarian regimes. What should be clear by now, though, is that attempts at national or culturally narrow content regulation simply won't work in democratic societies

Published in:

Internet Computing, IEEE  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

May-June 2007

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