The Toronto Sun.
Friday, June 27, 1997

Law Banning Intenet Smut Struck Down

by Ian Harvey iharvey@sunpub.com

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday, striking a controversial law that banned pornography on the Internet, has "lifted a cloud", says a Canadian group promoting an unfettered Net.

"It's the decision we expected and it has lifted a cloud from over the global Internet community", said Dr. David Jones of Electronic Frontier Canada.

The law was passed by Congress on February 1, 1996 and then signed by President Bill Clinton a week later but was struck down by a court panel almost immediately. Feb. 1 became known as Black Thursday with websites were painted black in protest.

Jones said the ruling serves as a warning to other western countries with similar free speech laws that regulating or censoring the Internet is going to be difficult.

"What killed this law was that is was unreasonable and to quote the judges, `wholly unprecedented'", said Jones noting Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy has been publicly calling for controls on Internet to combat terrorism, hate literature, and pornography for a year.

"My question is if it's so urgent, why hasn't he done anything about it? It's either a threat or it isn't."


Copyright © 1997 by The Toronto Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.