In an historic ruling, freedom of speech has won over censorship on the Internet.
The US Supreme Court last Thursday ruled that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) 1996 was unconstitutional.
CDA was an attempt by the US government to prevent cyberporn reaching children by regulating computers and the Internet. It made distribution of offensive words or images to children a criminal offence and imposed maximum fines of $250,000 (#151,500) and up to two years in prison.
However, the CDA went against US constitution's First Amendment which protected freedom of speech of the individual.
The decision is a blow to President Bill Clinton, who strongly backed the CDA during his re-election campaign last year as part of his reforms to protect the family.
The Supreme Court ruling is a major victory for freedom of speech on the Internet. Jonah Seiger, communications director for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a US freedom of speech group, said: "Based on our initial analysis, (the ruling) does not appear to leave much room for a son of CDA."
Jeremy Gittins, senior product manager for Internet and tools at Microsoft, said: "We believe this is a wise decision. Freedom of speech is important if we want the Net to develop further."
Sam Sethi, marketing manager at Netscape, agreed: "This is a victory for the Internet. Adults should be able to make a decision about what they wish to see on the Net. But parents should be able to prevent their children from accessing particular sites."
Both Microsoft and Netscape support W3C consortium standard for rating Web sites.
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