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Fw: AOL Censors 2nd Amendment Rights

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  • jail4judges
    ... From: Scott Johnson To: mailto:Undisclosed-Recipient:;@mindspring.com Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 6:38 AM Subject: AOL Censors 2nd Amendment Rights
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 23, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 6:38 AM
      Subject: AOL Censors 2nd Amendment Rights

      Date: 9/7/2000 11:53:00 PM Written By:
      AOL Censors Out 2nd Amendment Rights
      by Lisa Dean

       NewsMax.com - The Internet is the only free uncensored system of
      communication in this country. Talk radio would come in a close second
      but there are many restrictions on the types of topics that can be
      covered, limitations on the number of times individuals can participate,
      restrictions from government on the radio stations
      themselves. And, of course, at any moment a talk station today carrying
      Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura and a host of popular local talk show folks
      can tomorrow turn into an acid rocker station with 24 hours of
      head-banging or what some claim is
      music.
          That is why knowing who controls the Internet and what their
      policies are becomes very important. For the last year or so, the
      800-pound gorilla of the Internet in the US is America On Line. With 22
      million subscribers it dominates everyone else in the field. That is why
      it is extremely disturbing that AOL has adopted a policy that treats
      guns and ammunition the same as child pornography and pedophilia. If you
      try to buy or sell live ammo from your AOL account you will be
      monitored and eventually you will be warned and if you don't cease and
      desist, then your account will be closed.
          Last year AOL sent an email to one of its customers, a licensed
      firearms dealer saying:
           "We have become aware of a web page site that is part of your
      account. This web page violates Hometown AOL's Community Standards,
      which prohibits sexually explicit graphics, links to other sites which
      Hometown deems offensive, harassment, the use of vulgar or sexually
      oriented language, discussion of illegal activities, and/or other
      activities that may impair the enjoyment of our community's members.
           "We have placed a note of this incident on your account history and
      consider this a first warning. We have removed all the file(s) from your
      web page/ftp site. A second occurrence will result in termination of
      your account with no chance of reactivation."
          AOL has made this policy arbitrarily and yet will not explain it to
      its subscribers. Child pornography is illegal. Guns and ammunition are
      protected under the Second Amendment. Yet AOL chooses to treat the two
      identically by refusing to allow any one of its subscribers to engage in
      his Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In
      doing so, of course, AOL has followed in the path of a host of smaller
      Internet Service Providers who have the same policy.
          When the Constitution provides that a practice is legal and yet
      someone hinders our ability to exercise that practice, that someone is
      setting himself up as an arbiter of our rights. From whom does AOL get
      this authority? Well, of course, they are a private business and they
      can adopt whatever practice they wish. But when you look at  what
      companies AOL has swallowed up in the past year and those few that are
      left that don't have such arbitrary policies, it is truly frightening.
          Unless someone with a lot of capital is willing to come in to start
      a new ISP and is going to be open to keeping the Second Amendment alive
      and well, there may come a time very soon when gun owners are simply
      shut out of every medium of communication.
          They have no television sympathetic to them. Radio, with the
      exception of short wave, is very restricted. Now many newspapers and
      magazines will not take ads for guns and ammunition and if they do,
      gun-grabbing organizations are encouraging readers to tear them out. The
      Internet was one place, for a short time, gun owners could go to
      exercise their freedom.
          Yes, AOL is a business free to make its own policies. But customers
      are also free to make their own decisions as well. No person who
      respects the Second Amendment should subscribe to AOL unless they change
      their policies.
          There are millions of gun owners and other online services that will
      gladly accept new customers and the cost is in dollar amounts, not in
      freedoms.
          If computer users take their freedom seriously and switch to another
      provider, AOL will feel it in the bottom line. At that point perhaps
      they may be willing to discuss the matter with their subscribers. At
      that point perhaps AOL will respect and preserve the rights of Americans
      to practice the right to keep and bear arms in practical terms.
          If not, perhaps AOL should find a more comfortable home elsewhere .
      . . say . . . in Havana or Beijing.

      Lisa Dean is Vice President for Technology Policy at the Free Congress
      Foundation. Reproduced with the permission of NewsMax.com. All rights
      reserved.


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