07 May 2009

New Democrat Sponsored Bill To Kill Blogging

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.

3 comments:

Dillinger737 said...

I always wondered what it was like to live in communist China. I guess they're working on showing us all.

Lisa said...

We already have laws prohibiting internet stalking, so this seems an effort to clamp down on Cyber bullying.

The internet is the Wild West as far as latitude in what one may say. Already the cyber stalking stalking laws are almost impossible to enforce. I can't see where this will affect bloggers.

It is a feel-good measure for her constituents so they'll remember her come re-election time.

LogicallyLocked said...

"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."Dear Gawd the amount of people in prison would be staggering! I had a corporation come after me once for badmouthing them (rightfully I might add) in my blog. If I could have afforded the legal costs I would have continued, but in the end I had to change the corporation's name in my blog. It was a bunch of bullshit.