Thursday, May 07, 2009

Congress Hopes to Jail Bloggers Who Cause Emotional Distress

If Democrats have their way, bloggers could face years in prison if their electronic speech was meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person. David Kravets reports:

The proposal by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Los Angeles, would never pass First Amendment muster, unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing. So Sanchez, and the 14 other lawmakers who signed on to the proposal, are grandstanding to show the public they care about children and are opposed to cyberbullying.

The meaasure,
H.R. 1966, is labeled the Megan Meier Cyberbullying
Prevention Act. It’s designed to target the behavior that led to last year’s suicide of the 13-year-old Meier.

Sanchez’s bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to making it a federal offense to log onto the Internet or use the telephone. The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages
Wired can’t say what they think of Sanchez’s proposal, claiming that doing so would clearly get them two years in solitary confinement. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

I’m going to wash my eyes out with soap right now.