Background

The goal of the Internet Online Summit is to bring together public interest groups, the computer and communications industries, government, and citizens to address ways to help ensure that the Internet online experience is safe, educational, and entertaining for Children. Participants in the summit include a broad cross section of the Internet Industry, public interest and parents groups, librarians, and many others.

The Summit emerged out of a commitment made during a public meeting with President Clinton and Vice President Gore on July 16, 1997 in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in June of 1997.

The CDA, though a well intentioned effort to protect children from inappropriate material on the Internet, was declared unconstitutional on the grounds that broadcast style content regulations, when applied to the Internet, violate constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.

Supporters and opponents of the CDA agree that children should not have access to inappropriate material on the Internet or in any other medium. The real question is, how best to do it.

The summit is designed to highlight the current technological, legal, and educational options, and challenges, to ensuring that children can enjoy a safe and educational online experience in a way that is consistent with the open, decentralized nature of the Internet and the first amendment.

Vice President Gore, along with other leaders from government, industry, and non-profit and advocacy groups, are expected to participate in the event to be held in Washington DC on December 1-3, 1997. The Summit is chaired by Executive Director Christine Varney, and is being organized by a diverse steering committee representing all sides of this controversial issue.