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Posted: 1/9/2006 8:05:43 AM EDT
news.com.com/Create+an+e-annoyance%2C+go+to%20+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html?part=rss&tag=602249%201&subj=news

Thanks again to president GWB and the republicans in congress.


It's illegal to annoy

A new federal law states that when you annoy someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Here's the relevant language.

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."


Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

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.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."

Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."

To grease the rails for this idea, Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors slipped it into an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The plan: to make it politically infeasible for politicians to oppose the measure.

The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16.

There's an interesting side note. An earlier version that the House approved in September had radically different wording. It was reasonable by comparison, and criminalized only using an "interactive computer service" to cause someone "substantial emotional harm."

That kind of prohibition might make sense. But why should merely annoying someone be illegal?

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to set up a Web site or write something incendiary without telling everyone exactly who you are.

Think about it: A woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors wants to blog about it without divulging her full name. An aspiring pundit hopes to set up the next Suck.com. A frustrated citizen wants to send e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

In each of those three cases, someone's probably going to be annoyed. That's enough to make the action a crime. (The Justice Department won't file charges in every case, of course, but trusting prosecutorial discretion is hardly reassuring.)

Clinton Fein, a San Francisco resident who runs the Annoy.com site, says a feature permitting visitors to send obnoxious and profane postcards through e-mail could be imperiled.

"Who decides what's annoying? That's the ultimate question," Fein said. He added: "If you send an annoying message via the United States Post Office, do you have to reveal your identity?"

Fein once sued to overturn part of the Communications Decency Act that outlawed transmitting indecent material "with intent to annoy." But the courts ruled the law applied only to obscene material, so Annoy.com didn't have to worry.

"I'm certainly not going to close the site down," Fein said on Friday. "I would fight it on First Amendment grounds."

He's right. Our esteemed politicians can't seem to grasp this simple point, but the First Amendment protects our right to write something that annoys someone else.

It even shields our right to do it anonymously. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas defended this principle magnificently in a 1995 case involving an Ohio woman who was punished for distributing anonymous political pamphlets.

If President Bush truly believed in the principle of limited government (it is in his official bio), he'd realize that the law he signed cannot be squared with the Constitution he swore to uphold.

And then he'd repeat what President Clinton did a decade ago when he felt compelled to sign a massive telecommunications law. Clinton realized that the section of the law punishing abortion-related material on the Internet was unconstitutional, and he directed the Justice Department not to enforce it.

Bush has the chance to show his respect for what he calls Americans' personal freedoms. Now we'll see if the president rises to the occasion.





Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:09:01 AM EDT
Great!

Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:10:49 AM EDT
Most of arfcom is going to jail. DUH will be all over that.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:11:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By XDBACKUPGUN:
Great!




So now whenever someone flames me on this site, it is a felony... wtf
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:11:43 AM EDT
That ought to take care of web forum trolling.

Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:12:54 AM EDT
What is your "identity"?

Is your screen name your "identity?

Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:13:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
That ought to take care of web forum trolling.




and web forums altogether.

Imagine both the board members and the trolls complaining about each other.

Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:14:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
What is your "identity"?

Is your screen name your "identity?




No, it's your "true identity" you have to disclose.

Hey, screw the fact that it's blatantly unconstitutional.

Sure glad GWB campaigned for arlen specter.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:15:42 AM EDT
The "pisses me off" to "makes me happy" ratio of the President and the Republican party in general is starting to take a real dive.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:16:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
What is your "identity"?

Is your screen name your "identity?




No, it's your "true identity" you have to disclose.

Hey, screw the fact that it's blatantly unconstitutional.

Sure glad GWB campaigned for arlen specter.



So do all you guys think someone would come and kill me or beat me up if they knew who I really was?
Or do you think I'm pretty safe and they would go after someone else?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:19:18 AM EDT
everyone here is annoying me. I demand your personal info, or I am reporting ARFcom to the feds.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:24:13 AM EDT
Gee whiz, that kind of sucks. I hope I am not annoying anyone by saying that.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:24:49 AM EDT
tag - this is pretty disturbing. It'll be interesting to see if/how this is enforced and, if it is, how the courts handle it. If the ACLU files suit to have this overturned, I'll be supporting them. I hope that doesn't annoy you.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:25:14 AM EDT
Am I annoying you yet?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:25:44 AM EDT
Am I annoying you yet?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:26:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kill-9:
tag - this is pretty disturbing. It'll be interesting to see if/how this is enforced and, if it is, how the courts handle it. If the ACLU files suit to have this overturned, I'll be supporting them. I hope that doesn't annoy you.



Your support of the ACLU annoys me. Disclose your true identity or I'm tellin' the feds!
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:26:17 AM EDT
This post is annoying me.

YOU ARE UNDER ARREST, DIRTBAG.

Book 'em, Danno.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:28:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 8:29:10 AM EDT by USGI_45]
hahahaha....felons are bad....they should be shot.....scumbags......no guns.......no vote......hahaha.....dont like the law change it........hahaha.....I fucking hate people.......hahaha......The government better not have posted this on any website.......hahaha.......because it annoys me.......hahaha



STUPID MOTHERFUCKERS!!!



Oh yeah I forgot to add my thanks
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:28:49 AM EDT
The CoC needs to be amended to reflect the fact that jail time is one possible punishment for trolling.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:30:50 AM EDT
Un-fucking-constitutional. SCOTUS will lay waste to it after the ACLU files suit. It would be the best thing the ACLU has done in a long time.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:31:33 AM EDT
man, good thing EdSr closed the Bear Pit, or ARFCOM would be prosecuted under RICO!
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:32:23 AM EDT
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:32:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
Un-fucking-constitutional. SCOTUS will lay waste to it after the ACLU files suit. It would be the best thing the ACLU has done in a long time.



Sure SCOTUS will, right after they give Susette Kelo her home back, and right after they declare the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act unconstitutional, and......
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:32:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By USGI_45:
hahahaha....felons are bad....they should be shot.....scumbags......no guns.......no vote......hahaha.....dont like the law change it........hahaha.....I fucking hate people.......hahaha......The government better not have posted this on any website.......hahaha.......because it annoys me.......hahaha

STUPID MOTHERFUCKERS!!!


Some of us have been saying for a long time that the system is set up so we are all lawbreakers in one form or another. That will make it easier for the .gov to silence/remove those who it wants to...for political purposes.

This may or may not be happening now...but you can rest assured the next Democratic administration will make good use of this tactic.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:33:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
Un-fucking-constitutional. SCOTUS will lay waste to it after the ACLU files suit.


That's precisely what we said about CFR (Campaign Finance Reform). And the AWB before that. And 1986 before that. And 1968 before that.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:34:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 8:36:04 AM EDT by PreMed_Gunner]

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



where does it say that in the constitution?

I can say anything I want to, whether or not I sign "PreMed_Gunner" to it or my real name, the rights of that entity, real or not, to free speech should be unquestioned.


P.S. I would like to thank the Republican party, and the President of the United States for this most fucked up incident, I think all of them should hang.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:35:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PreMed_Gunner:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



where does it say that in the constitution?

I can say anything I want to, whether or not I sign "PreMed_Gunner" to it or my real name, the rights of that entity, real or not, to free speech should be unquestioned.



But there is no constitutional guarantee of anonymity.

Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:36:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Some of us have been saying for a long time that the system is set up so we are all lawbreakers in one form or another.



+1. they (the politicians) want to make EVERYONE a criminal, then selective choose who to actually punish so they can get rid of the people they don't like.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:37:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 8:39:06 AM EDT by PreMed_Gunner]

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

Originally Posted By PreMed_Gunner:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



where does it say that in the constitution?

I can say anything I want to, whether or not I sign "PreMed_Gunner" to it or my real name, the rights of that entity, real or not, to free speech should be unquestioned.



But there is no constitutional guarantee of anonymity.




Yes there is, does the first amendment say that you have the right to free speech... except you must disclose your name? No, and all of anonymous contributions and letters to the editors of newspapers over the years have shown that there is a precedent for that.

EDIT: Think of it this way, if Deep Throat had released his info anonymously on the internet today, he would be a felon.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:41:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 8:42:50 AM EDT by NimmerMehr]

Originally Posted By PreMed_Gunner:
P.S. I would like to thank the Republican party, and the President of the United States for this most fucked up incident, I think all of them should hang.



Be carefull, you might annoy them.



But there is no constitutional guarantee of anonymity.



However the 'Federalist Papers' were published anonymously. Now, I've never read them, but once heard someone say they were important.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:44:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



Of course it's abridging free speech. Sometimes you need to remain anonymous in order to be able to speak freely.

Read the opinion by clarence thomas on a similar case:

straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/93-986.ZC1.html
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:44:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

Originally Posted By PreMed_Gunner:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



where does it say that in the constitution?

I can say anything I want to, whether or not I sign "PreMed_Gunner" to it or my real name, the rights of that entity, real or not, to free speech should be unquestioned.



But there is no constitutional guarantee of anonymity.





The Constitution also doesn't explicitly say that a woman has the right to an abortion either, but the Supreme Court has said abortion is protected conduct.

A right of free speech is chilled when anonymity is required to avoid retribution or scorn but there is no guarantee of anonymity--or worse, when it is unlawful by statute.

Moreover, the law is vague and should be challenged on that point. To "annoy" is pretty open for interpretation, and is facially vague enough to not withstand scrutiny.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:47:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



Of course it's abridging free speech. Sometimes you need to remain anonymous in order to be able to speak freely.

Read the opinion by clarence thomas on a similar case:

straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/93-986.ZC1.html



Great link, thanks.

I hope they interpret it similarly in this matter.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:48:59 AM EDT
Of course if you actually read the act, it is merely amending the Communications Act of 1934 to include more modern technology such as say the inernet.

Here is the relevant text - which needs to be read in connjunction with other relevant acts and in the context of the overall Act -

SEC. 113. PREVENTING CYBERSTALKING.

(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 223(h) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1)) is amended--

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `and' at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).'.

(b) Rule of Construction- This section and the amendment made by this section may not be construed to affect the meaning given the term `telecommunications device' in section 223(h)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as in effect before the date of the enactment of this section.

SEC. 114. CRIMINAL PROVISION RELATING TO STALKING.

(a) Interstate Stalking- Section 2261A of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

`Sec. 2261A. Stalking

`Whoever--

`(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115) of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person; or

`(2) with the intent--

`(A) to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or

`(B) to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to--

`(i) that person;

`(ii) a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115 of that person; or

`(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person;

uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B);

shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.'.

(b) Enhanced Penalties for Stalking- Section 2261(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(6) Whoever commits the crime of stalking in violation of a temporary or permanent civil or criminal injunction, restraining order, no-contact order, or other order described in section 2266 of title 18, United States Code, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 1 year.'.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:52:21 AM EDT
Thank GOD the .gov is going after law-abiding citizens, instead of the baby rapers, corporate mafia, and terrorist sleeper cells.

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart." Anne Frank

We all know how it ended for her. Do we want to get on the cattle car? I for one, REFUSE.

"What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure." Thomas Jefferson
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:52:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OrionSix:
Of course if you actually read the act, it is merely amending the Communications Act of 1934 to include more modern technology such as say the inernet.



'merely' is such a wonderful word.

So do you think this is a good thing, or a bad thing?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:57:43 AM EDT
This may work in our favor....
The BATF's website annoys me, with all their BS rules and regs.
I am sure it "annoys" everyone here.
hummmmmmmmmmm........
Maybe we can do a class action lwasuit and have everylast BATF employee put in fed. prison.
No one to make or enforce laws.......
yeeeeee haaaawwwwwww.
Who's with me?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:58:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Outsider_10fp:
This may work in our favor....
The BATF's website annoys me, with all their BS rules and regs.
I am sure it "annoys" everyone here.
hummmmmmmmmmm........
Maybe we can do a class action lwasuit and have everylast BATF employee put in fed. prison.
No one to make or enforce laws.......
yeeeeee haaaawwwwwww.
Who's with me?



Well, I'm sure none of their "machineguns" had transfer taxes paid on them so why would they have to follow any other rules we do? They would just be exempt.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 8:59:16 AM EDT
GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:01:31 AM EDT
"All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others." Orwell
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:04:14 AM EDT
So all those emails from Cha Cha Hooter promising my husband he'll leave me breathless after trying their magical penis "enlarge to the size of Kong" are now punishable by law?

Cool.


Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:04:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PreMed_Gunner:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:
Is it really unconstitutional though? Is there a constitutional guarantee of anonymity?

I mean, it's not abridging free speech...just saying you have to disclose your identity.



where does it say that in the constitution?

I can say anything I want to, whether or not I sign "PreMed_Gunner" to it or my real name, the rights of that entity, real or not, to free speech should be unquestioned.


P.S. I would like to thank the Republican party, and the President of the United States for this most fucked up incident, I think all of them should hang.



I'd like to go on record to say the above does not annoy me.

WE NEED AN OFFICIAL "I AM ANNOYED" EMOTICON
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:06:28 AM EDT
So, if I change my name to some squiggly line like Prince did....that's not available in any font group...how am I supposed to "identify" myself?

Maybe > " The artist formerly known as GoVol" ?



....and about that Annoyance part......PayPal is gonna be sooooo busted.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:08:23 AM EDT
Why in the hell can't we attach national CCW or a repeal of the machine gun ban to a "must-pass" appropriations bill?
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:11:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rugerp345:
"What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure." Thomas Jefferson



Fuck that, I'm watching Fear Factor!
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:12:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Grivo_Mak:
Un-fucking-constitutional. SCOTUS will lay waste to it after the ACLU files suit. It would be the best thing the ACLU has done in a long time.



What were the other good things? I forget.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:13:50 AM EDT
The next motherfucker who posts the banana phone song had better brush up on his hair braiding and salad tossing skills.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:14:25 AM EDT
This is the kind of crap that goes on in congress, and in many state legistlatures. Florida has a "single issue" requirement for all legislation that prevents this crap. I would love to see responsible politicians enact a "single issue" requirement for all federal legislation.



Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."

To grease the rails for this idea, Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors slipped it into an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The plan: to make it politically infeasible for politicians to oppose the measure.

The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16.


Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:15:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mr_camera_man:
Why in the hell can't we attach national CCW or a repeal of the machine gun ban to a "must-pass" appropriations bill?




Because it would make sense to do so.
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:16:27 AM EDT
Fuck everybody online



Rusty Shackleburg 123 Fake street irakuranastan 000-937-2775 extension 911
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 9:17:22 AM EDT
What, they didn't work for your husband? That's weird... they worked for J. Thompson of Ohio, and R. Carter of Texas, and N. Rogers of Iowa, and...


Originally Posted By PlaymoreMinds:
So all those emails from Cha Cha Hooter promising my husband he'll leave me breathless after trying their magical penis "enlarge to the size of Kong" are now punishable by law?

Cool.



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