Bush makes anonymous flaming illegal!
Look out flamers trollers and wind-up merchants – President Bush has made it a crime to post annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity!
The law is designed to prevent cyberstalking, but an over-zealous lawyer could have fun with this:
The law makes it illegal for anyone who: “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.” So getting a good conviction is dependant on people agreeing on what is the meaning of the word annoying.
Some comments from my bulletin board:
Fridgemagnet: “It’s a daft law, completely unworkable, and it’s almost certainly unconstitutional as well – the First Amendment makes no mention of how “annoying” free speech is, and there have been legal decisions setting the precedent that one can exercise it anonymously.”
BMD: “The US would love to completely regulate the internet, instead they have to settle for stuff like this but I do wonder if this is their way of bringing in regulation gradually, first it’s the cyberstalkers, which is fair enough (if they actually exist in meaningful enough numbers to have a law for) but I wonder who’s next.”