Freedom of Speech Online- A Fallacy?

The United States of America has founded itself on the basis of being a place of freedom - Freedom of speech, of religion, of press, and more.

The First Amendment states the freedom of religion and expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or interfering the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for an amendment of grievances.

Particularly in November 2017, a debate has been sparked on net neutrality, regarding a concept which would take away the guarantee of free speech online, as conducted by the Obama Administration.

The progressive activists who want a government-run internet will continue to suggest that a market-based approach to internet governance will destroy the web, while others like the Federal Communications Commission Chairman are fighting back that the best way to preserve a free and open internet is to put consumers, not government, in control. These rules will intervene with our freedom of expression, press, and much more on the internet, which is unconstitutional according to our civil liberties.

Uri Rivner, head of cyber strategy at biometrics firm BioCatch, says told Newsweek that Trump will take such threats seriously and combating them will be a high priority by the Trump Administration. “Cyber threats to both critical infrastructure and financial systems are just the sort of clear and present danger that requires decisive action—the likes of which the president elect has been advocating...This in turn may lead to more aggressive cyber security policies, faster response to cyber attack campaigns, and greater investment in cyber security defenses.”

Donald Trump tweeted back on November 12, 2014 his opinion on net neutrality, saying “Obama's attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.”

Junior at HF, Michela Eivers, claims, “I don’t agree with this policy as the internet is the one place where anyone and everyone has the equal right to knowledge online, as long as they have access to internet, which the majority of our nation does have.”

People use the internet as a way to express their thoughts, to learn of significant news in a timely manner, for work purposes, and as a way to connect and communicate efficiently with people all around the world.

Having a government-run internet is not only violating the first amendment, but it also is detrimental to our freedom on the internet, which would disconnect society in the U.S. as a whole.

This debate over net neutrality is an discussion in America today of the slim balance between the civil rights of the individual’s freedom of expression and online knowledge with the security, welfare and needs of American society as a whole.

Sarah-Elizabeth Leveque