Electrifying Speech

New Communications Technologies and Traditional Civil Liberties

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Since the personal computer ushered in a communication revolution about 15 years ago, the accompanying technology has been likened to everything from the printing press to Hyde Park Corner, from the postal system to talk radio. Pungent as these analogies are, their limitations point up the essential uniqueness of computer-mediated communication. While the printing press made possible the mass dissemination of information, computers can individualize information and increase its flow a thousandfold. In the process, they change the nature of communication itself.

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