Isn’t it a little strange that as technology advances, the distance between our eyes and the particular device we’re using is getting shorter and shorter? The humble TV is kept safely across the room. The laptop lives within arm’s length. Tablets and phones are now within one foot. What’s next? Google Glasses puts information within an inch from our eyes. If you are paying attention to thin display improvements, researchers Ghent University as put an LCD display on a contact lens. Next up? Ocular implants?
These days, the news is filled with reaction to the anti-Islamic video, leading to violence and tragedy on both sides. While I’m not here to discuss who is “right” or “wrong”, the concept of free speech becomes the center of discussion, at least here in the U.S. What isn’t dicussed as much is how technology and a highly connected world will truly alter our legal interpretation of what is or is not speech protected by the First Amendment. A disclaimer: I’m no law student. I have no experience in interpreting Constitutional law. But I can totally fake it. Here goes.
As it is currently written and enforced, what is protected is a governmental movement (either by federal or state laws) to suppress the ability to freely express ourselves. For example, if Congress passed a law limiting the distribution of publications that criticize the government, or if your state passed a law to prevent demonstrations in public areas – these would be seen as violating First Amendment rights. Sounds obvious, however, what isn’t protected is far more interesting. Here are a few examples:
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