15-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 4 - due February 10, 2005

Reading assignment:
PICS: Internet access controls without censorship,
Online and Unidentifiable?,
See No Evil (Executive Summary),
Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?,
National borders emerge in cyberspace,
Debating (what once was) the CDA

1. Write a short summary of each article in the reading assignment (2-5 sentences each). After each summary (in a separate paragraph) provide a "highlight" for that article. This can be something new you learned that you found particularly interesting, a point you would like to discuss further in class, a question the article did not fully answer, something you found confusing, a point you disagree with, or anything else you found noteworthy. Prepare a works cited list for all the articles in the reading assignment.

2. What do you believe is the proper role of Internet content filters? Write a short essay (roughly 500 words) in which you argue your position and support it with appropriate citations to the assigned readings or other materials. You essay should address some (but not necessarily all) of the following questions: Are there any situations in which you believe filters should be mandated by law? Even if not mandated by law, should they be permitted to be used on public computers, and if so, who should decide what filters to use? Should parents use filters in their own homes to protect their children? Should employers use filters to block access to material inappropriate in a workplace? Should ISPs or search engines use filters? Should web sites be required to rate themselves to facilitate easier filtering? Are filters effective?