New US law ban anonymous annoying!

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
ANONYMOUS POSTERS, BEWARE!

Cloaked Internet annoying could be a federal offence....

Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com's Washington, D.C., correspondent caused a flurry this week with an interesting article on new American legislation signed into law last week and addressing the problem of annoying Internet behaviour by message board posting or email (spam).

According to the respected writer, annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime after President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

"In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name," says McCullagh.

The offences are apparently buried in the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and up to two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union is quoted as saying. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."

The new federal law states that when US citizens annoy someone on the Internet, they must eschew the anonymous cloak of a "handle" and disclose their identity. Here's the relevant language.

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Buried deep in the new law is Section 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "...without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."

Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors included the law in an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16, passing it to the President for signing.

McCullagh argues that there are perfectly legitimate reasons to set up a Web site or write something incendiary without telling everyone exactly who you are.

He gives as an example the hypothetical case of a woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors who wants to blog about it without divulging her full name, or a frustrated citizen who wants to send an e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

He points to the First Amendment that protects the right of Americans to write something that annoys someone else, and even shields the right to do it anonymously.

In a U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Justice Clarence Thomas defended this principle in a 1995 case involving an Ohio woman who was punished for distributing anonymous political pamphlets.

McCullagh concludes by suggesting that President Bush follow a course of action taken by his predecessor President Clinton a decade ago. Compelled to sign a massive telecommunications law, Clinton realised that the section of the law punishing abortion-related material on the Internet was unconstitutional, and he directed the Justice Department not to enforce it.
 

Casinomeister

Forum Cheermeister
Staff member
Joined
Jun 30, 1998
Location
Bierland
This has got to be one of the stupidest laws this president has signed. What a dweeb.

First, the American government thinks it owns the Internet - now it thinks it can define "annoying". Sheesh!

Good going! I bet the Americans at home feel much safer now. :thumbsup:
 

kwblue

Webmaster
webmeister
Joined
Jun 22, 2005
Location
USA
Casinomeister said:
This has got to be one of the stupidest laws this president has signed. What a dweeb.

First, the American government thinks it owns the Internet - now it thinks it can define "annoying". Sheesh!

Good going! I bet the Americans at home feel much safer now. :thumbsup:


Hail King Bush and all his kronies! :notworthy

j/k. Funny and stupid all at the same time, this 'law'
 

paul1

Dormant account
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Casinomeister said:
This has got to be one of the stupidest laws this president has signed. What a dweeb.


I don't think our leaders are stupid. I think they know EXACTLY what they are doing.

Frightening.
 

Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
First, the American government thinks it owns the Internet

Well, according to that speech Bush made a couple or few years ago, it's Internet(s), like there's more than one.

Occ took the words right outta my mouth, Bush is annoying to the extreme.
 

suzecat

Dormant account
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Location
California
"The new federal law states that when US citizens annoy someone on the Internet, they must eschew the anonymous cloak of a "handle" and disclose their identity."

Maybe I am missing the part where the US has claimed ownership of the internet? All I recall is Al Gore saying he invented it........funny, I have been surfing for years have never come across his mark.......

My guess is this sort of crapola would not have been necessary if not for a bunch of idiots doing their thang on September 11 (and many subsequent dates).
 
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