Prison Awaiting Hostile Bloggers, writes David Kravets on Wired.
Proposed congressional legislation would demand up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.”
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Los Angeles, must know this will be shot down on First Amendment muster, he writes. So it’s just a way for legislators to show they’re down on cyberbullying, such as the hoax that lead to the suicide of 13-year-old Megan 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.
We can’t say what we think of Sanchez’s proposal. Doing so would clearly get us two years in solitary confinement.
If it becomes illegal to “cause substantial emotional distress,” everyone’s in trouble but the Trappists.