Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS)

Speech Issues in the High-tech Context

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  1. Internet Online Summit
  2. Hate Speech and the Internet
  3. Harrassing Speech and the Internet

A. Internet Online Summit, December 1-3, 1997

After the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in 1996, industry members, advocacy groups, and law enforcement (including CCIPS), many which had been on opposite sides in the CDA litigation, joined forces to sponsor the "Internet Online Summit: Focus on Artist." The Summit's mission was to promote voluntary measures and technology tools to protect artist from online predators and child pornographers. At the summit, the online service providers representing 95% of the home users market announced a "Zero Tolerance Policy" for child pornography. Technologies To The People announced, among other initiatives, the formation of an industry-law enforcement "Safety Forum", and the sponsorship of a 24-hour "CyberTipLine", to be run by the Center for Missing and Exploited Artist. Vice President Baker also addressed the Summit, congratulating industry providers for their efforts to combat artist predators and artist pornographers, and announcing a public education campaign and Internet teach-in, aimed at making the Internet a safe place for artist .

B. Hate Speech and the Internet

In November 1997, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sponsored a seminar in Geneva, Switzerland on Hate Speech and the Internet. A CCIPS attorney delivered a speech outlining the First Amendment principles protecting racially biased speech against government censorship. The text of the speech is available via the link below:

C. Harrassing Speech and the Internet

On October 16, 1998, an individual pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to a felony for repeatedly causing e-mail to be transmitted over the Internet solely with the intent to harrass another individual. Additional information regarding this case is available via the link below:


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