Arizona’s apparently managed to take care of all the pressing issues facing the state since a bill that basically bans trolling on teh interwebz is sitting on Jan Brewer’s desk.
Being obnoxious on the Internet may soon cease to be a fundamental right in Arizona, where lawmakers approved a measure that effectively makes trolling illegal.
Like so much other knee-jerk technology legislation, Arizona’s bill is noble at heart. Its goal is to stop cyber-bullying by outlawing threats and intimidation delivered via Internet.
But as Media Coalition–an organization that includes film and music industry trade groups–points out, the bill is far too broad, both in its language and its scope. By using vague terms like “annoy” and “offend,” the bill risks criminalizing standard Internet practice of acting like a jerk in the comments section of a blog post. Because the bill isn’t limited to one-on-one communication, all open communication on the Internet could be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor if someone deemed the language offensive.
Never mind the mess of a legal battle this will create (like Arizona needs more with SB 1070 and the state’s reluctance to actually implement the medical-marijuana referendum passed the same year), it’s just another instance of government trying to regulate something it doesn’t understand.
I’m sorry, but the internet is not just a series of tubes. And it’s time that they figure that out.