Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blog Harrasment: Ticket to Jail

This year, a new, quietly passed federal law apparently makes it a crime to anonymously post messages online that "annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass." In other words--as first pointed out by CNET's Declan McCullagh earlier this week--anyone from bloggers to consumers venting their dissatisfaction on a message board is potentially subject to liability. Attempts to enforce this law would almost certainly violate the First Amendment. But such attempts could also lead to protracted and expensive battles, until the courts finally declare the law unconstitutional.


At 3:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can see both sides to this one. First off, it does, in fact, seem to violate our First Amendment rights. Anyone should be able to speak or write about his/her opinion on an issue without getting scrutinized. There are several topics and issues that are personal to people. An example is if someone is a rape victim and doesn't want anyone to know who she is. However, this woman wants to support and let others know how strongly she feels that rapists should get larger sentences if convicted. This new law is saying that she cannot anonymously speak her mind to others if it annoys anyone.
However, the flip side is that some people do get out of control and abuse the word "anonymous" to speak their angered minds. I get annoyed when people comment on topics that they obviously have no clue about. Most of the time they are just bitter about something and using the internet to blow off some steam.
The glitch in this law is that everyone's definition of "annoying" is different. Some might have a higher tolerance than others, but who is to judge? Blogging in an online journal and journals do not have a limit on them. They are simply one's thoughts and feelings about a subject. The government should not be able to take away our ability to express our minds on the internet. There are so many more corrupt things on the internet than blogs. Why doesn't the government take control of the real problems on the internet, such as porn and sexual predators, and leave the bloggers alone!


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