Internet content filters -- promising a technological solution to the uniquely social problem of widespread availability of adults-only content on the Internet -- appear to shift the debate over control of "cyberporn" from the legislative to the technical. Yet a growing number of commentators are expressing serious reservations about the free speech implications of filters. In this Article, I note that the ever-changing relationship between technology, network economics, and legal doctrine in the new economic and ideological marketplace of Cyberspace will fundamentally impact any constitutional analysis. I argue that the existing literature's analytic reliance on expansive concepts of state action is ill-founded: both vulnerable to technological and legislative manipulation and finding little doctrinal support. Instead, I outline an approach based on First Amendment theories of association, arguing that this "associative" approach -- supported by current precedent -- is the most promising among several alternatives for providing an adaptive and powerful constitutional framework for evaluating indirect government regulation of the Internet.
Minnesota Law Review
Wagner, R. Polk, "Filters and the First Amendment" (1999). All Faculty Scholarship. 1280.
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