The Pervert Tax and Free Speech

P> Germany last month fired the first shot in what promises to be a long and lawyer-filled battle over defining the limits of free speech in cyberspace. That shot came in the form of pressure to limit access through CompuServe to -- shall we say -- "spicy" news groups.

Most press accounts made scant reference to what actually goes on in these chat sessions. So we note them here, confident that readers will gain sufficient understanding of their content from the titles listed.

Following this listing we print a guest editorial from Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in which she outlines the free-speech position on censorship in cyberspace.

WT, for its part, offers this suggestion. Any individual on an on-line service who wishes to exercise free speech by joining one of these news groups should pay a special subscription fee. Congress should then insert a clause in the telecommunications bill mandating the collection of these fees into a special fund to promote the study of perversion and its impact on society.

We call it the pervert tax. In the meantime, let's reserve the debate on free speech for more important issues.

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