Friday, November 16, 2012

Ten threats to the 1st Amendment

There have been and always will be threats to the Constitution, most especially the 1st Amendment, be it is usually because a person doesn't know, or doesn't care, what is and is not protected by the 1st Amendment.

Here are what I consider to be ten threats to the 1st Amendment:

Anti-Obscenity Groups

There are some groups of people who take it amongst themselves to try to force us to not use any type of language, or dress in certain ways that many of them consider obscene, even going so far as to trying to force (sometimes with success) local governments to create ordinances and laws banning the use of language in public and the wearing of clothing that they feel is obscene.

These groups are also partially responsible the creation of the rating system on television, parental advisory stickers on music CDs, and the anti-pornography laws.


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA for short, was originally intended to keep people from using copyrighted materials. The problem with this law is that often times it is also abused, usually by people (or businesses and corporations) wanting to get certain content that might be critical of them removed, regardless of the fair use laws, and regardless if it contains any copyrighted materials at all. These are usually called DMCA attacks, and happen quite a bit on controversial Vlogs Youtube.

Sometimes people will send out DMCA reports on certain Youtube sites simply because they don't like the content, or because they're trying to find out the true identity of a certain user.

Defamation, Libel, and Slander

While defamation, libel, and slander laws can great laws and force a person to stop lying about you in which the only intent is to hurt you, unfortunately these laws are also some abused.

Normally when these laws are abused it's usually someone or some group who want to hide something, or to try to force someone to stop being critical of them. Even the threat of a defamation lawsuit can sometimes be enough to back someone down, even if what they're is the truth.


There are a lot of people on the internet who's only purpose is to cause trouble. Sometimes these people take what they do to far and they get booted off the site they're trolling on. Sometimes this also results in sites changing their policies and becoming more and more restrictive, such as lessening what is considered acceptable speech and behavior, to ending anonymity. Some states are even creating laws to try stop people from being trollz, but these laws are highly questionable and possible illegal due to the 1st Amendment.


Most free blogs, user uploaded video sites, online forums, and social media sites have ways to report inappropriate or possibly illegal content.

While some sites actually require you to email them, most sites have special icons under each person's posts and all that you're just require to do is that you click on that icon and tell the site why you did that. This may sound good and all to some people, but the problem is that this is often times overly used and abused by others concerning content that they feel is offensive just to them.

Other Countries

With the increase of people making their views known on the internet, these views can sometimes conflict with the laws of other countries.

While most of the time these laws wouldn't effect us at all, sometimes it does, because usually the law enforcement agencies in those countries will contact the host websites to get the content removed. While most of the time this doesn't happen because the content doesn't actually violate the Terms of Standards agreement that the user accepted, sometimes they can get the content removed.


We all know that teachers tend to tell students to be quiet when they are trying to teach something, some schools are becoming more and more restrictive about not only what students can say while on school grounds, but also what they can say off school grounds as well.

Many schools now have rules for students about what a student can and cannot post on the internet. Most of the time what students are restricted from posting is criticism of their school and the school system itself. Also, many schools not only try to restrict in school speech, but also the right to protest as well, often times threatening to punish any students who take part in a protest that happens near their school, or during school time.

Hate Groups

While most hate groups tend to be just a bunch of annoying people at best, sometimes they will use threats and even violence as a way to try to silence their critics, or just something they don't like.

Other less hostile hate groups try to use other forms of intimidation (such as boycotts) to try to get companies to stop certain advertisement campaigns, or sponsorship of certain groups. While these boycotts were sometimes effective in the past (especially when it concerned homosexuality), these boycotts have been proven to be less and less ineffective as most people tend to ignore the calls for boycott (the American Family Association's largely forgotten boycott of Disney proves this).


While some hackers destroy and/or disrupt content on the internet simply because they can, sometimes they do this to remove content that they don't like (regardless if the content is offensive or not) or they will send that person a virus to disrupt that person's ability to post new content.

Sometimes people who don't actually have the hacking skills needed to disrupt and/or destroy content on the internet that they disagree with will actually either try to get other hackers to do their dirty work, even hiring them sometimes, or they'll just learn new hacking skills and try to do it themselves.

Oversensitive People

Sometimes we ourselves can be the biggest threat to the 1st Amendment. If an oversensitive person sees something that they do not like, they sometimes do whatever it takes to get that which has offended them removed, be it flagging attacks, false DMCA attacks, hacking attacks, and whatever else they can think of.

Other times it's trying to get new laws created to in order to place restrictions on things that they find offensive.

Regardless of what they do, oversensitive people are often the biggest threat to the 1st Amendment, because they tend to believe that their senses are more important then the Constitution.

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