Internet

FCC chief apparently at odds with CDA

The head of the Federal Communications Commission took a stand on Internet free speech that apparently conflicts with the Communications Decency Act.

In an apparent conflict with federal law, Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt advocated free speech on the Net and more spending on technology in schools at a Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles, Reuters reported today.

When asked how legislators might ensure freedom of speech on the Net, Hundt replied that the best guarantee is to have no rules at all.

He didn't elaborate on his ideas about the regulation of online content, but that opinion would appear to conflict with the White House's position.

In his position as head of the FCC, Hundt is critical to the implementation of the Communications Decency Act and many other technology-related issues. President Clinton signed the law, which criminalizes the posting of obscene material to the Net, as part of the overall federal Telecommunications Act in February.

Hundt also estimated that Clinton's plans to install a computer in every U.S. classroom would cost somewhere between $3 billion and $9 billion over the next 10 years, a figure that would account for 1 percent to 3 percent of the total education budget. Hundt recommended that some funds already being spent on education be redirected toward investments in new computer technology. "Our children are trapped in the 19th century," Hundt was quoted as saying.

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