The Electric Commentary

Monday, January 09, 2006

What Free Speech?

Apparently, several of my friends are going to wind up in the pokey:

It's no joke. Last Thursday, 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. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.


(Hat tip, Ace)


  • The use of the word "annoy" seems completely unnecessary, unwarranted, and therefore unconstitutionally broad to me.

    The article you link to seems to completely miss the impact of the intent requirement and thus somewhat overblows the whole thing: "In each of those three cases, someone's probably going to be annoyed. That's enough to make the action a crime."

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 2:36 PM  

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