It’s a good thing I had put my coffee down before reading Scott Greenfield’s blog this morning. It seems that some legislators in my state held a press conference to unveil their new approach to dealing with online bullying. Their approach? Ignore the First Amendment and Section 230 of the CDA. Scott points us to a post by Eugene Volokh:
1. Definitions. As used in this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) [“]Anonymous poster[“] is any individual who posts a message on a web site including social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.
(b) “Web site administrator” means any person or entity that is responsible for maintaining a web site or managing the content or development of information provided on a web site including social networks, blogs forums, message boards or any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages, accessible via a network such as the internet or a private local area network.
2. A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.
Posh tish, you think? This can never pass? As Scott notes:
Eventually, a judge somewhere is going to hold some misbegotten anti-cyberbullying law constitutional. What? You thought only Fourth Amendment rights could be eviscerated? And the applause may be deafening. Even you may find your hands involuntarily clapping. You never know, the meek may still inherit the earth, and when they do, they will shut up every person who ever hurt their feelings
Instead of trampling the First Amendment, might I humbly suggest to the legislators that they ask what regulations have been passed that would prevent some problems by early intervention and education? If you’re really “for the children,” what have you done to ensure that they get early training and indoctrination in a culture of non-bullying?
To adapt a line from A Few Good Men: You fuckin’ people… you have no idea how to defend our Constitution. All you did was weaken a country today.