Supreme Court refuses Internet Content Law

A final failure came last week in the decade-long attempt to establish a child-friendly federal law intended to limit Internet access to sexual material and other objectionable content.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the Child Online Protection Act, which lower courts had already struck down as unconstitutional. The law, tied up in court challenges since it passed in 1998, never took effect.

The legislation would have barred Web sites from making harmful content available to minors over the Internet. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that the legislation would violate the First Amendment, because filtering technologies and other parental control tools are a less restrictive way to protect children from inappropriate content online.

The outgoing Bush administration had pressed the high court to take the case. The court offered no comment on its decision to reject the government’s appeal.