No one has yet linked any of the recent terrorist outrages to the Internet. But there have now been several cases in the United States, of children building bombs by following the detailed instructions available on the World Wide Web. As a recent test by this newspaper revealed, it is disturbingly easy to find such information on the Internet. A search for all references to manufacturing pipe-bombs uncovered more than 55,000 entries. President Bill Clinton has already expressed concern about the easy availability, and the issue was mentioned in the recent statement of the G7 group of nations. The US Senate has even rewritten an anti-terrorism bill to try to tackle the problem. But this amendment simply illustrates the difficulties of trying to prohibit the use of the Internet for such purposes. Its prohibition of the dissemination of information on making explosives only applies to those who know or intend such instructions will be used to commit a crime. Since it is almost impossible to prove a Web site has been set up for this purpose, the amendment adds little to existing laws on conspiracy to kill. Any tougher measures would be a severe erosion of civil liberties, and probably unconstitutional. Nor would they necessarily have any effect. While school-children may scan the Internet for illicit information, the committed terrorist is unlikely to risk leaving a trail for investigators. Those who do not know how to build bombs are more likely head for their nearest library, where the same instructions can be found in Encylopaedia Brittanica. The Internet does not create information: it merely distributes it more widely. That may be most unfortunate, when it is pornography or bomb-making instructions that is being disseminated. But, in the information age, it is almost impossible for anyone, be it G7 or the US Senate, to prevent this.