There have been many attempts to limit the exposure to Internet pornography on a larger scale then personal filters or content blockers. American lawmakers have tried numerous times to legislate and create online laws against the propagation of Internet pornography. Online laws limiting access to any legal content, as determined in America, have continuously been ruled unconstitutional in US federal court.
• Since the Internet is an international network and there are no international online laws that prevent the Internet publishing of pornography, each individual country chooses to address pornography differently. The general consensus is if an Internet publisher posts something that is legal in their country than online laws can not prosecute against them. However, access to Internet publications of content found to be illegal in the viewer’s nation is punishable.
• The trend of American online laws show the inability for lawmakers to address Internet pornography on any sort of large-scale measure. Publications that are otherwise legal in America have been shown to bypass continuous attempts at censorship. Many of these attempts tried to broaden the accepted scope of obscenity and thus make online pornography a possible target of online laws.
• One legislative attempt that illuminates the failings to clean up Internet pornography was the Child Online Protection Act. The Child Online Protection Act of 1998 attempted to institute new online laws that sought to make the Internet a safer place for minors. Although it was passed, the United States federal courts system has continuously struck it down as unconstitutional. The main reason for this determination is the wide-scope of the intended legislation. The Supreme Court felt that online laws can not block protection of free speech over the Internet regardless of the intent to protect minors. The Child Online Protection Act came as a part of a legislative effort to trim away the excess of Internet pornography and institute a series of online laws to block certain displays perceived as obscene.
National interest for the protection of children generally surpasses other forms of freedom and expression. The nature of the Internet renders this fact somewhat useless. Since viewing pornography is not illegal in America, as long as it displays legal actions, legislating against it poses a difficult problem. Online laws continue to be written, and conversely written-off, as unconstitutional due to their perceived limitation on freedom of speech. During the 21st century more pressure has been placed on families and computer owners to install software to block certain Internet publications in an attempt to prevent their children from accessing pornography.