L.A. Lawmaker Seeks to Punish Intimidating Bloggers
|Rep. Linda Sanchez is going after "cyberbullying." If we keep criticizing her for doing this, she might come after us.|
One can imagine the Bradbury-esque nightmare created if the government could begin fining and imprisoning people for hostile emails.
First Amendment advocates and internet experts are furious that the cyberbullying law, H.R. 1966, is even on the table. Wired magazine says:
"Sanchez's bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to make it a federal offense to log onto the internet or use the telephone. The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages."
Political bloggers from Mayor Sam to the Latino Politics Blog are deeply worried that Sanchez's proposed law, as written, could end up censoring criticism of public officials. Even if it's amended to target only genuinely harmful communication, who's to determine what qualifies as genuinely harmful communication?
What is Sanchez thinking? It's hard to say, but if she's trying to confirm that Democrats will turn virtually any concern into a piece of impossible-to-legally-enforce legislation, she's doing a great job.