USA: "Annoying" Web Postings, e-Mail Made Felonious

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Not_Whistlin_Dixie, Jan 10, 2006.

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  1. "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.


    "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.


    "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."

    "Create An e-Annoyance, Go To Jail" by Declar McCullagh. 9 January 2006

    "The new law rewrites existing telephone harassment laws and says that '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.'"

    I don't know what position the administration takes as to extra-territorial effect of this law. For instance, I'd like to know whether it is claimed that persons making "annoying" postings from outside the USA are subject to extradition and prosecution here.

    I don't know whether the administration views it as material that the "annoying" message is stored on a server located outside the physical boundaries of the USA.
  2. Great, next time the boss sends me an e mail telling me to do some work, I'll have him arrested by the Feds!
  3. More scope for 'extraordinary rendition' perhaps?

    Really though, how it this going to be enforcable? How are they defining 'annoying', for example?

    Mind you, if the definition includes unsolicited spam I'd love it to work. No more emails about 'small caps stocks investment opportunity' from Hiram P Heckleberger for a start.
  4. I'll miss the Penis Enlargement ones though.......
  5. I hope Crabtastic sees this...

    The Bush may choose call out the Feds if he gets "annoyed" by the 'shaved chimp' moniker... :wink:
  6. We should have that over here. It would keep that loon blondebint from bothering me. Nucking futter.
  7. It is illegal to spam over here. I t was made illegal last year.

    However in true Stupid style, they only made it a civil crime.

    On the plus side something like 98% of all spamming is done by 2% of the spammers, and most of those are in Spam land...

    Everyone got that?
  8. The statute may not be quite as bad as first appears. The reason it was initially included was to deal with VOIP technology. Making harrassing/annoying telephone calls has long been an offence, but using VOIP to do it has not been, because it's a different technology.

    There have also been a few court cases on similar matters, and if the speech in question is protected by the first ammendment, claims of being 'annoying' are not sufficient grounds for prosecution. Basically, it's to cover harassment, not trolling.

  9. To be fair you have exhausted the possibilities of that technology HB, any further would just be ridiculous!
  10. Never mind annoying e-mails. Some people annoy me just by existing.