Internet Filters

Study Guide

  1. Internet filtration software is often used to prevent children from accessing pornography. Given the effectiveness of current internet filters, do you think parents should install these tools on their children's computers? Even with filters in place, should children be allowed to use a computer without adult supervision?
  2. Google has recently launched a regional version of their search engine for use in China. On this site google will censor the search results to comply with requirements from the Chinese government. Google has stated that it is better to provide censored information than no information at all. Do search engines have an ethical responsibility to return uncensored results?
  3. The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires the use of internet filters by libraries and schools which recieve federal funds for internet access. Marjorie Heins compares the CIPA to book banning. Is it ethical for the US government to restrict access to some content if it pays for the internet access? How does this legislation compare to China's policy of blocking objectionable material from internet users?
  4. CIPA only requires filters be in place when children are using computers. An adult may request that the filter be disabled while they use the computer. Does this alleviate concerns that CIPA retricts first ammendment rights? Should registered sex offenders be allowed unfiltered internet access from library computers? How about from their home computers?
  5. Makers of internet filter technology stand to benefit from government regulations which require them. Should these companies be held liable for objectionable material they fail to block? What about legitimate material they incorrectly block?