INTERNET FREE EXPRESSION ALLIANCE
Feminists for Free Expression Statement for the
"Indecency on the Internet" Hearing
Feminists for Free Expression wishes to add its voice to those opposing the adoption of Senator McCain's proposed legislation that ties federal Internet subsidies to the adoption by schools of policies restricting student access to indecent Internet material. This is an unconscionable restriction of First Amendment rights.
Although the requirements have been described as relying on local standards, we see this as a move similar to legislating the V-chip. Senator McCain and his policy director have issued contradictory statements as to what level of compliance will be asked for, but that really doesn't matter. Even if all that may be mandated at the beginning is the capacity to censor, we can expect it to be followed rapidly with more and more restrictive requirements if schools don't adopt the exact "voluntary" policy that those supporting the legislation have in mind. We have already had a seemingly simple hardware requirement for a v-chip lead inexorably to threats made by Senator McCain against the FCC licenses of NBC affiliates.
Students and their teachers have First Amendment rights in the classroom. We submit that any interference by Congress of what is accessed in those classrooms, on or off the Internet, is a violation of those rights.
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