In response to the worst person on the internet (Lori Drew) who used MySpace to get a 13-year old to kill herself, Linda Sanchez (D-CA) is introducing a bill to outlaw provocative internet ramblings with a whole slew of unintended consequences. Law Professor Volokh gives one such example:
I try to coerce a politician into voting a particular way, by repeatedly blogging (using a hostile tone) about what a hypocrite / campaign promise breaker / fool / etc. he would be if he voted the other way. I am transmitting in interstate commerce a communication with the intent to coerce using electronic means (a blog) "to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior" -- unless, of course, my statements aren't seen as "severe," a term that is entirely undefined and unclear. Result: I am a felon, unless somehow my "behavior" isn't "severe."The bill calls for a 2-year sentence for anyone classified as "hostile", which I suppose would characterize any commenter who disagrees with a post and doesn't sugar-coat words. Maybe it's part of the big conspiracy to turn the internet into a stupid den of LOLCatz as opposed to any political discussion.
Wired criticizes the bill as setting up "gulags" for malcontent bloggers, and with rhetoric like that, they're setting themselves up for an extended stint in the box like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape if this law goes into effect.