Zoning the Internet: A New Approach to Protecting Children Online

54 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2008

See all articles by Cheryl B. Preston

Cheryl B. Preston

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Date Written: 2007


This Article considers how Internet architecture can be harnessed to create an online environment where government regulation of material harmful to minors can be effective but not unreasonably burdensome. It proposes a solution that engages technology in refocusing the point of regulation, thereby reducing the burden on speech and increasing the ability to achieve constitutionally recognized governmental objectives.

This Article briefly examines failed congressional attempts to restrict children's access to sexually explicit content online, and then introduces the Internet Community Ports Concept, which relies on channeling technology to divide kinds of content among various Internet ports. After briefly outlining the technological workings of the Internet, this Article describes the Internet Community Ports Act (ICPA), which supports and enforces the zoning divisions. Together technology and legislation can create safe places for children and families on the Internet.

The bulk of the Article discusses the constitutional implications of ICPA and how it will survive even strict scrutiny. Finally, it responds to a variety of other issues, such as market disincentives to separating content, the failed Dot Kids approach, the risk of chilled speech, stigma, and over-blocking, and the problems with filters.

Keywords: Internet Community Ports Act, Internet pornography, Internet ports, Communications Decency Act (CDA), Child Online Protection Act (COPA), Internet regulation, Dawn C. Nunziato, children, First Amendment, obscenity, cyberspace law

Suggested Citation

Preston, Cheryl B., Zoning the Internet: A New Approach to Protecting Children Online (2007). Brigham Young University Law Review, pp. 1417-1467, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1147163

Cheryl B. Preston (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

430 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States

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