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Science, Technology, and the First Amendment

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Citation Edit

8835 T

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Science, Technology, and the First Amendment (OTA-CIT-369) (Jan. 1988) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This was one of a series of studies prepared by the OTA on "Science, Technology, and the Constitution." Freedom of speech and press, embodied in the First Amendment, are among the most cherished of those protections. As the first of a series of special reports, this document considers challenges to freedom of speech and press that come from the advance of science and technology.

Part I of the report discusses how the meaning of "the press" has expanded from printed material to include a wide range of broadcast and electronic media. Satellites, computers, electronic bulletin boards, teletex, videotext, and other new ways of gathering, editing, and delivering news are blurring legal and regulatory distinctions between common carriers and "the press," thus changing arguments about the constitutional rights that they have each enjoyed.

Part II addresses freedom of speech and press as they apply to scientific communications and technological know-how. As science and technology become ever more important to our economy and our military strength, the delicate balance between individual rights and the national interest becomes both more important and more difficult to maintain.

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