The Communications Decency Act has been publicly criticised by a member of President Bill Clinton's own team.
Senior White House aide Ira Magaziner last week said he thought the CDA "was not a good act" and elaborated his reasons.
Magaziner made his views public during the annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in San Francisco. The timing of his outburst will embarrass the Clinton administration, as the Supreme Court is due to decide whether to uphold an appeal against the CDA this week.
Magaziner said if the CDA is overturned and Congress looks to create another law to restrict freedom of speech on the Net, he would recommend it be vetoed.
He assured the assembled audience of journalists, poets and philosophers that the government had rejected the "telecommunications model of heavy government regulation for the Net". Explaining his stance to a puzzled audience, he said: "Notwithstand-ing the CDA, which for now is the law of the land, we are making it very clear that we oppose government censorship of the Internet."
Magaziner also introduced a new draft policy at the conference, which can be found at http://www.iitf.nist. gov/. It outlines opposition to Net censorship and calls for a single international commercial code to oversee online transactions.
Clinton's efforts to gag the Internet have met with criticism, but this latest attack, coming as it does from within his own team, is one of the most damning.
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