Encyclopedia of Cybercrime

By Samuel C. McQuade III | Go to book overview

L

LAWS, CHILDREN ONLINE

We often find ourselves experiencing controversy that frames individual rights against the need to establish and enforce some method of policing the Internet. What is all of the fuss about? Should people not be able to decide for themselves what is appropriate to consume online? Where should society draw the line of censorship, either with laws derived over time through the establishment of social norms, as the result of what is considered morale and decent, or today via the ability of parents and schools to install Internet blocking and filtering software on computers? At what point should adolescents, who naturally begin to explore and experience human sexuality and are often formally taught about such things in school, be allowed to experience online content of a sexual nature? In the United States, viewing of pornographic Web sites by persons less than 18 years of age is culturally discouraged and illegal in many states. Creating, distributing, or storing child pornography is strictly illegal even for adults. Legal issues having to do with pornography are nothing new and in the United States date back to at least the Victorian era (1837–1901).

In the late nineteenth century U.S. Postmaster General Anthony Comstock was successful in having the federal government criminalize sending obscene materials through the U.S. Postal Service. Until America amended its tarifflaws in 1930, several classical literature readings like Ulysses authored by James Joyce were banned because they contained content that was considered indecent in that period of American history. Prohibitions against the creation, distribution, or possession of pornography were relaxed throughout America in the years amidst considerable social and political controversy. During the 1960s publishers of sexually liberal magazines such as Playboy, Hustler, and Eros were indicted for violating federal or state-level indecency laws after publishing what was then considered obscene content. “In 1973 and again in 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state and local courts could restrict materials that were patently offensive, appealed to prurient interests, and were without serious

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Encyclopedia of Cybercrime
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chronology of Selected Cybercrime­ Related Events xv
  • A 1
  • B 11
  • C 15
  • D 61
  • E 67
  • F 73
  • G 79
  • H 87
  • I 91
  • L 105
  • M 121
  • N 129
  • O 135
  • P 139
  • R 157
  • S 163
  • T 173
  • U 183
  • V 187
  • W 191
  • Resource Guide 195
  • Index 201
  • About the Editor and Contributors 205
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