Constitutional to impose legal filtering duty on airlines that offer Internet access?
rs at robertsheridan.com
Mon Feb 11 12:10:13 PST 2008
Adding to the complexity is the fact that international airlines, by
definition, enter foreign air and ground-space, creating questions of
local restrictions on internet use. China, for example, restricts
social, pictorial, and discussion sites such as MySpace, YouTube, and
Flickr, according to recent news reports to the effect that users call
this effort the Great Firewall of China. Someone noted that the earth
and rock Great Wall of China didn't work, either.
In a similar vein, the NYT has been reporting on several U.S.
universities opening branches in the Muslim world. I wonder what
academic freedom looks like in such ventures and locales. Does Saudi,
for example, assure NYU that free speech lives, or does NYU offer to
trim its expressive sails so as not to offend local sensibilities?
Airlines and universities perhaps shouldn't have the duty to censor
their offerings, but where do you think local governments will look
first when wishing to crack down.
I don't recall seeing reports, outside of the E.U., of international
treaty provisions supporting free expression internationally.
On Feb 11, 2008, at 11:27 AM, Volokh, Eugene wrote:
> A newspaper article about airlines' plans to offer Internet
> access includes this quote:
> "Allowing porn could subject an airline to harassment complaints
> much like an employer that refuses to clamp down, said John Palfrey, a
> Harvard Law School professor."
> Prof. Palfrey argues (rightly, in my view), that airlines
> shouldn't have the responsibility to filter the material. But would
> they have such a responsibility under current hostile public
> accommodations environment law, not only as to porn but also to
> that reasonable other passengers could find to be religiously,
> etc. offensive? And, if so, would such a legal responsibility be
> consistent with the First Amendment?
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