The invention and popularity of the Internet has forced us to reconsider several important underlying principles that our country is known for. One of the primary focuses of this debate has been in regards to the Internet and the First Amendment, with many American’s wondering just how much protection, offered under the First Amendment, is applicable to the Internet.
The First Amendment, which protects our freedom of speech, among other things, has been a guiding principle since its inception. It has directed law makers, news professionals and authors in their quest to write, or to speak, their minds. It is this same law that, theoretically, should protect American ‘speech’ when utilizing the Internet.
The law, when it was written, was not written for digital media. Its framers had no way of knowing how powerful technology would become. The Supreme Court and other law makers were faced with a question – did the First Amendment afford Americans the same degree of protection when utilizing the Internet. Luckily, they have come down solidly on the side of the First Amendment. It has consistently been ruled that technology does not change the heart of our laws and amendments. In other words, the First Amendment absolutely protects American’s who utilize the Internet.
The meaning of this is simple: As American’s, we are free to express ourselves on the Internet just as we would in ‘real life.’ Whether we are participating in a political debate on a forum or discussion board, sending an email regarding our religious beliefs or discussing an extreme dislike of the latest movie via a social media site, the First Amendment protects us.
How lucky are we that our forefather crafted an amendment that has stood not only the test of time, but also the test of technology.