ACLU Blasts ‘Electronic Harassment’ Bill; Says It Criminalizes Free Speech … The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is blasting a bill proposed by state prosecutors that would make “electronic harassment” a crime — including such acts as posting information on the Internet that “has the effect of causing substantial embarrassment or humiliation to [a] person within an academic or professional community.”
The bill, which comes up for a public hearing by the legislature’s judiciary committee Thursday, “criminalizes speech that is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution,” said Sandra Staub, legal director for the state ACLU. “It’s vague. It’s overbroad.” For example, Staub said, it contains “no standards for substantially interfering with someone’s academic performance.” – N Hartford Courant
Dominant Social Theme: Now SOPA moves to the states. Good.
Free-Market Analysis: These bills are all about the criminalizing of the Internet. Now that SOPA has been pushed back on the federal front, the action is turning to the states. The idea, in our view, is to whittle away at the Internet bit by bit. Create precedent at the state level and then move in again at the federal level.
The powers-that-be don’t like the Internet or what we call the Internet Reformation that has changed the context of the power debate in the US and throughout the world.
The Internet has exposed the memes of the elite, the dominant social themes that are used to promote world government by scaring people into cooperating with internationalist facilities like the UN.
The powers-that-be are using the same strategies as regards the Internet. They are trying to convince people that a series of organized electrons are as a dangerous as a dark alley on a bad side of town. The Internet needs to be seriously policed and criminalized.
SOPA itself was an attempt at this criminalization. Here’s something from Wikipedia on the bill, which has not passed thus far:
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Provisions include the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and search engines from linking to the sites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the sites. The law would expand existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A similar bill in the U.S. Senate is titled the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
Whether or not these bills are being written by well-meaning people, they have the result of turning a free-speech arena into a criminally patrolled environment. As a result, communication will suffer and the ability of people to explain to each other the Way the World Works will also degrade. Here’s more from the article excerpted above:
As the bill is written, someone could be charged with electronic harassment — and, theoretically, jailed for up to a year and fined $2,000 because the crime would be a “class A” misdemeanor — if he or she posted information about a person that was true, Staub said. For example, she said, even if a student posted accurate information on Facebook saying that a certain professor had committed misconduct in the past, and that professor found it embarrassing or humiliating, the professor could ask the police to arrest the student.
Civil statutes and long-established case law already deal with allegations of defamation — a person can sue for slander or libel if his or her reputation is damaged by untrue information — and there’s no need to criminalize the issue, Staub said.
The virtue of civil defamation law is that a person cannot be held liable for defamation if the offending statement is true, Staub said, noting that the “electronic harassment” bill, as written, even removes truth as a defense.
Besides, Staub said, in a free society citizens should be able to offer negative opinions that may not even be absolute fact. Students should be allowed to rate the performance of professors, for example, by offering criticisms that they are inept or seem to take their lectures right out of some textbook, Staub said. “We have a constitutional right to annoy, bother, and offend, basically.”
Whatever else the ACLU may be, they have moments when they perform a real service, as in this case. There is nothing on the Internet that needs another law to confront it, as Staub herself notes. “Moreover, there are already criminal laws under which people are arrested for threatening and harassing others, she said. These existing criminal statutes contain well-established standards for what constitutes a crime — such as making statements to a person that cause him or her to fear physical harm.”
Perhaps a key point made in the article is a statement by Staub that the bill, Senate Bill 456, “has emerged seemingly out of nowhere, relatively far into the legislative session … ‘I have no idea why this bill is here.'”
We think we do, though. The US is apparently in the grip of directed history. A small criminal clique has grasped control of the US and is driving the country and the world toward global government. The Internet stands in their way and they will destroy it if they can.
Who knows if the Connecticut bill will go anywhere. It is “overly broad,” to say the least. But its introduction in Connecticut – a fascist mess of a state – is notable.
It does seem, in our humble view, to mark another expansion of the elite’s war against the Internet in the US. Perhaps there are similar initiatives being pursued in other states as well.
They begin at the federal level. That’s the first and simplest option. But now they are likely starting to work their way down to state and even municipal levels if necessary. This is how the dialectic is pursued.
SOURCE: The Daily Bell
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