April 6, 2003  ·  Lessig

So this story continues to amaze me. Pennsylvania has a law that gives the Pennsylvania Attorney General the power to order an ISP serving Pennsylvania citizens (read: any ISP anywhere) to block a site which the Pennsylvania Attorney General says serves child porn. There is no judicial review of the order, and as no ISP is likely to resist the order, the law results in unreviewed censorship of internet content. According to this report, the AG is now refusing to even reveal the list of sites his secret orders have blocked.

There are hard cases in the law of cyberspace, no doubt. But this should be a slamdunk easy case — if anyone would have the courage to challenge it. CDT is exploring a challenge. Good for them. If the First Amendment means anything, it must mean that the government can’t order the censoring of a publication without any judicial review at all. You might want to tell the Pennsylvania AG what you think. Here’s a form.

  • http://www.ninjatune.net Wendy K

    The Pennsylvania Firewall.
    There is no State of Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Act to get
    a copy of the blacklisted sites, either, is there?

    Wendy K,

  • scarhill

    Orin Kerr has a somewhat different take on this law over at the Volokh Conspiracy.


  • Mike

    Appropriately, the Attroney General’s feedback form is broken. (Mozilla 1.0rc1). So at least the AG isn’t hiding the fact that he doesn’t listen to the public.

  • http://www.yahoo.com matt

    The law works. Got a email that said it was kidde porn and had a link to a site. Sent it to the ag office and the site was blocked through my isp according to an email i got from the ag office. if it makes it harder for these guys to make money selling child porn then so be it. There is no law that says a website must be accessable to everyone. So if my isp blocks a kiddie porn site are my rights violated…heck no. The cdt had a link to this blog and it just goes to show how desperate they must be. Be proud of the fact that you are standing up for kiddie porn. It’s ok for gov’t not to police the internet you say but it’s ok for us to police the world and go after kiddie porn folks outside the US. Oh, well