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communications decency act



Communications Decency Act

(legal)   (CDA) An amendment to the U.S. 1996 Telecommunications Bill that went into effect on 1996-02-08. The law, originally proposed by Senator James Exon to protect children from obscenity on the Internet, ended up making it punishable by fines of up to $250,000 to post indecent language on the Internet anywhere that a minor could read it.

Thousands of outraged Internet users turned their web pages black in protest or displayed the Electronic Frontier Foundation's special icons.

On 1996-06-12, a three-judge panel in Philadelphia ruled the CDA unconstitutional and issued an injunction against the United States Justice Department forbidding them to enforce the "indecency" provisions of the law. Internet users celebrated by displaying an animated "Free Speech" fireworks icon to their web pages, courtesy of the Voters Telecommunications Watch. The Justice Department appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last updated: 1996-11-03




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