The First Amendment: Freedom of Petition and Assembly on the Net
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
In the first amendment of the United States Constitution, the framers of America created a two headed monster. While the country has been free as a whole, America has also been left at stalemate with what can and cannot be restricted. In the digital age we have evolved into, the medium that the first amendment has poked its two heads into is the Internet.So what can be restricted? It would appear by the number of spam advertisements and pornography sites that no restriction has been put on our grandiose world wide web. Some censorship and enforcing has been implemented, but not enough say some. The following quotations from Joseph Reagle's article "Why the Internet is Good" show the support of lax Internet regulation.
"In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance." John Perry Barlow [(co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation).]
"The single unifying force is what we don't want government running things." Joe Simms (ICANN counsel.)
"The private sector should lead. Governments should avoid undue restrictions on electronic commerce." Ira Magaziner, (Former point man for electronic commerce within the Clinton Administration.)
The single most important factor in regulation (or lack thereof) is who is regulating. The fact that many claim to not want government involved means that the First Amendment, is not just a "local ordinance", but also web-wide. People do not want to have censorship on their websites, nor do they want their opinions to be shut down. The First Amendment on the Internet has now taken form of petition and assembly. While people do not actively assemble online, they do choose to petition (Reagle).