US Supreme Court kills online porn Act

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US Supreme Court kills online porn Act

Ian Grant

The US Supreme Court yesterday killed a Bush Administration attempt to stop online pornography from reaching children.

The court refused to hear a Justice Department appeal against a lower court ruling that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) violated free speech rights guaranteed under the US constitution's first amendment. The Act has never come into force.

The lower court had ruled that the law failed strict scrutiny, was vague and overbroad. It said the state had failed to show that filters and parental controls provided by internet service providers and security software firms were ineffective at protecting children from "unwanted material".

It said: "It is apparent that COPA, like the Communications Decency Act before it, effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another."

A Reuters report quoted government experts who said COPA might have criminalised up to 700 million web pages.


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