Internet Trolls Face Jail in Arizona

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
1
0
Internet Trolls Face Jail in Arizona


The state of Arizona is enacting legislation that will make trolling a crime.

The internet can be a pretty ugly place, especially for those unprepared for its rough-and-tumble ways. The reasons are many and varied, but they can all be boiled down to one essential component of the human condition: people are jerks. If you've been playing online for more than, say, a couple of weeks, I can pretty much guarantee that you've trolled and been trolled. It's the nature of the game.

But the state of Arizona is looking to change all that with House Bill 2549 [http://www.azleg.gov//FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/50leg/2r/bills/hb2549s.htm&Session_ID=107], an update to its telecommunications harassment law intended to bring it into the digital age by replacing the word "telephone" with the phrase "any electronic or digital device." The net result is this:

"It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a telephone 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."

It doesn't sound too terribly unreasonable at first glance - it probably should be illegal to terrify or threaten people with violence, after all - but the trouble lies in its overly vague and wide-reaching language. It'll be illegal to annoy someone on the internet? We've all done that; I do it pretty much every day. I'm probably doing it right now.

Yet under the terms of this amendment that will be a class one misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $2500 fine and up to six months in jail. And don't think that simply not living in Arizona will protect you from its legal clutches, as under the terms of the law offenses "are deemed to have been committed at either the place where the communications originated or at the place where the communications were received."

There's a huge gulf between an ongoing campaign of harassment and terror and the occasional f-bomb or "goatse surprise," but this law appears to make no distinction. And while it may be comforting to say that law enforcement can make the distinction for itself, do we rely want to rely on the discretion of the police for such things, especially in Arizona?

via: Gizmodo [http://gizmodo.com/5898585/itll-soon-be-illegal-to-troll-in-arizona]


Permalink
 

ResonanceGames

New member
Feb 25, 2011
732
0
0
Pretty soon Arizona will just be Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio because everyone else will be in prison. I guess it'll be up to those two to repopulate the state.

Try to get that image out of your heads.
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
Legacy
Apr 1, 2009
14,451
3,416
118
Gender
Whatever, just wash your hands.
I can see it now, arizona will be attempting to get someone from europe extradited so they can face justice in arizona because they called someone a dick online.
 

kayisking

New member
Sep 14, 2010
676
0
0
Worgen said:
I can see it now, arizona will be attempting to get someone from europe extradited so they can face justice in arizona because they called someone a dick online.
Well, they are part of the US... Wouldn't be the first time they tried to pull something like that.
 

viranimus

Thread killer
Nov 20, 2009
4,952
0
0
Wow. I guess in Arizona its not really the heat, its the stupidity.

Im starting to wonder if the internet should be its own separated entity that is devoid of any one governments leadership, and then force the internet to govern and police itself in matters like this because there are entirely too many "old men with money" trying to tinker with things that they not only do not understand have no interest in seeing as anything other than a lawless series of tubes.
 

Daemascus

WAAAAAAAAAGHHH!!!!
Mar 6, 2010
792
0
0
I don't see how they could possibly enforce this. How do you define "annoy or offend" in a legal sense? Besides, unless they get the website it happens on to cooperate, there's no way they can know who's who. Its just another misguided governmental attempt to control the net. A waste of time and tax payers money.
 

DugMachine

New member
Apr 5, 2010
2,566
0
0
I feel sorry for you Arizon..ians or whatever you're called. While i'm not to big a fan of trolling of being trolled, it's part of the interwebz. You can't take it away :(
 

NezumiiroKitsune

New member
Mar 29, 2008
979
0
0
Being offended should not give you any ability to take up legal recourse. If I've heard of anything that more of a waste of the court time, I can't remember it. Oh wait, it came one sentence later when they suggested that swearing or being lascivious on the booping internet was a criminal offence.

Clearly the state of Arizona are two days behind, so bravo, very wry.

If they are being serious, that's adorable. I do hope they thoroughly enjoy trying to enforce this.
 

Baby Tea

Just Ask Frankie
Sep 18, 2008
4,687
0
0
This will be impossible to enforce. I can just imagine European trolls rushing to Arizona government pages to eff things up, and laugh at the impotence of this ridiculous law. And on that day: I will laugh.
 

Versuvius

New member
Apr 30, 2008
803
0
0
Oooh i hope Anon defaces government websites front pages with offensive and annoying images. Like ED's Offended page? Bring on the tubgirl!
 

Loop Stricken

Covered in bees!
Jun 17, 2009
4,723
0
0
kayisking said:
Worgen said:
I can see it now, arizona will be attempting to get someone from europe extradited so they can face justice in arizona because they called someone a dick online.
Well, they are part of the US... Wouldn't be the first time they tried to pull something like that.
You sir have annoyed me. Over the Internet, no less!
We here in the UK are no part of the US and I am mightily offended.
Please provide me a mailing address so I know where my Arizona-based lawyers can send the details of your trial.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
1
0
poiumty said:
You shitting me? "We arrest people for offending someone over the internet" is not too unreasonable?
Did you just decide to stop reading at that point?
 

Loop Stricken

Covered in bees!
Jun 17, 2009
4,723
0
0
Andy Chalk said:
poiumty said:
You shitting me? "We arrest people for offending someone over the internet" is not too unreasonable?
Did you just decide to stop reading at that point?
The article boils down to essentially that, however.
 

Worgen

Follower of the Glorious Sun Butt.
Legacy
Apr 1, 2009
14,451
3,416
118
Gender
Whatever, just wash your hands.
viranimus said:
Wow. I guess in Arizona its not really the heat, its the stupidity.

Im starting to wonder if the internet should be its own separated entity that is devoid of any one governments leadership, and then force the internet to govern and police itself in matters like this because there are entirely too many "old men with money" trying to tinker with things that they not only do not understand have no interest in seeing as anything other than a lawless series of tubes.
Check that out, arizona is amazingly stupid.
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-2-2012/tucson-s-mexican-american-studies-ban
 

Loop Stricken

Covered in bees!
Jun 17, 2009
4,723
0
0
Worgen said:
viranimus said:
Wow. I guess in Arizona its not really the heat, its the stupidity.

Im starting to wonder if the internet should be its own separated entity that is devoid of any one governments leadership, and then force the internet to govern and police itself in matters like this because there are entirely too many "old men with money" trying to tinker with things that they not only do not understand have no interest in seeing as anything other than a lawless series of tubes.
Check that out, arizona is amazingly stupid.
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-2-2012/tucson-s-mexican-american-studies-ban
Oh Lord, I saw that earlier. Felt like I'd glued my palm to my face.