Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Computer Science

First Advisor

Zenia Bahorski Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Krish Narayanan

Third Advisor

Gus Ikeji


Freedom of speech is one of the most basic rights given to citizens of the United States. Over the years, courts have defined what is considered speech and what speech and forms of expression are protected and from whom. These definitions have evolved with each new form of media, from print to radio to television, however the Internet has presented a unique challenge to regulate given its international nature. Using the legal definitions of protected and unprotected speech, this paper will explore the different perceptions of freedom of speech online and offline, how these definitions have evolved to encompass the Internet, and the unique issues that the Internet presents to protecting and regulating speech. Using the evolving legal definition this paper will attempt to illustrate how communication has changed in the United States and what this change will mean for freedom of speech as the Internet becomes a larger part of our lives.