Arizona vs Internet Trolls

The legislature for the state of Arizona has passed a bill that would make it a Class 1 Misdemeanor to basically be a forum troll. According to the proposed bill, “It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”

The bill comes about as part of the anti-cyber-bullying campaign, and anyone charged with this proposed crime could spend a minimum of six months in jail. If charged with stalking (Class 3 felony) while using an electronic device, jail time could be anywhere between 2.5 years to 25 years. The law is still waiting for Governor Brewer’s decision.

Although laughable, I do appreciate the effort to curb cyber-bullying. There have been far too many stories going around about kids and even parents harassing kids so much that they have made them attempt suicide (and too often succeed). However, this is too broad in scope, and nearly impossible to enforce. Plus, it comes way too close to stepping on the toes of Free Speech, if it doesn’t already stomp all over them. This just continues to show how much of a Wild West that the Internet still is.


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