On the INTERNET REGULATION front, in late October Congress passed a new law that would make it a crime to “knowingly” communicate “for commercial purposes” material considered “harmful to minors.” Penalties include jail time and fines of up to $50,000 for each day of violation. Within hours, a coalition of civil rights and Internet groups including the American Civil Liberties Union had contested the law in federal court. Many of the groups were involved in the suit that successfully contested Congress’ previous Internet regulation effort, the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The Supreme Court found that law unconstitutional in 1997.
If the courts allow censorship of material that is “harmful to minors” (however that phrase may ultimately be defined), this case this case could have an impact on the high school student media as well. For more details, check out the ACLU Web site at: http://www.aclu.org.