Wednesday, May 06, 2009

US cyberbully bill 'a threat to free speech'

Proposed law could threaten valid online criticism, say bloggers
Wednesday 6 May 2009

American bloggers have reacted angrily to proposals for a new law that could potentially make it illegal to criticise or make fun of somebody online.

Linda Sanchez, a Democratic congresswoman for California, is leading a bill intended to combat cyberbullying – but opponents say the law's limits are vague and threaten freedom of speech.

The bill, which is being submitted to Congress for the second time, proposes that any electronic communication intended to "coerce, intimidate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress" could be punished with a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

According the proposals, the new rules would cover email, blogs, instant messaging and texts.

Opponents are concerned that it could violate the US constitution's first amendment – which guarantees freedom of expression – and threatens valid online criticism, despite Sanchez's assertion that "ranting" would not become illegal.

But Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA school of law and one of the most high-profile political bloggers in the US, has attacked the proposals as "overbroad" and "constitutionally vague". the rest

Prison Awaiting Hostile Bloggers


Post a Comment

<< Home