Be careful if you live in Arizona…

Arizona Passes Sweeping Internet Censorship Bill…

TeaParty.org (Info Wars) – The state legislature of Arizona has passed a bill that vastly broadens telephone harassment laws and applies them to the Internet and other means of electronic communication.

The law, which is being pushed under the guise of an anti-bullying campaign, would mean that anything communicated or published online that was deemed to be “offensive” by the state, including editorials, illustrations, and even satire could be criminally punished.

Text from the bill:

A. It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a telephone any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person. It is also unlawful to otherwise disturb by repeated anonymous telephone calls electronic or digital communications the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person at the place where the telephone call or calls communications were received.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund breaks down Arizona House Bill 2549:

The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to ‘annoy,’ ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’ as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying.”

First Amendment activist group Media Coalition has written to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, urging her not to sign the legislation into law. The letter notes that the terms used in the bill are not defined in the statute or by reference, and thereby the law could be broadly applied to almost any statement.

“H.B. 2549 would make it a crime to use any electronic or digital device to communicate using obscene, lewd or profane language or to suggest a lewd or lascivious act if done with intent to ‘annoy,’ ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’” the letter notes. … ‘Lewd’ and ‘profane’ are not defined in the statute or by reference. ‘Lewd’ is generally understood to mean lusty or sexual in nature and ‘profane’ is generally defined as disrespectful or irreverent about religion or religious practices.”

“H.B. 2549 is not limited to a one to one conversation between two specific people. The communication does not need to be repetitive or even unwanted. There is no requirement that the recipient or subject of the speech actually feel offended, annoyed or scared. Nor does the legislation make clear that the communication must be intended to offend or annoy the reader, the subject or even any specific person.” the letter continues.

In this respect the law could even technically be applied to someone posting a status update on Facebook. “Speech protected by the First Amendment is often intended to offend, annoy or scare but could be prosecuted under this law.” The Media Coalition letter continues.

“A Danish newspaper posted pictures of Muhammad that were intended to be offensive to make a point about religious tolerance. If a Muslim in Arizona considers the images profane and is offended, the paper could be prosecuted. Some Arizona residents may consider Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments about a Georgetown law student lewd. He could be prosecuted if he intended his comments to be offensive. Similarly, much general content available in the media uses racy or profane language and is intended to offend, annoy or even terrify.”

“Bill Maher’s stand up routines and Jon Stewart’s nightly comedy program, Ann Coulter’s books criticizing liberals and Christopher Hitchens’ expressions of his disdain for religion, Stephen King’s novels or the Halloween films all could be subject to this legislation. Even common taunting about sports between rival fans done online is frequently meant to offend or annoy, and is often done using salty and profane language.”

Just WHO will define “offensive”, “annoy”, “lewd”, and “obscene”? Dangerous path Arizona is heading down. Let’s hope Governor Brewer vetos this legislation.

DCG

Advertisements

7 responses to “Be careful if you live in Arizona…

  1. I just posted yesterday about Draconian “hate speech” laws in the UK and Europe (in the context of being used against everybody the powers-that-be want to censor EXCEPT Islamic hate speech – which IS directly responsible for terrorism and violence on many occasions.) And here it is cropping up here…again. Why do we, as Americans continually try to vote away our freedoms? It’s always a threat. ALWAYS. Some do-gooder watchdog baby-sitter for adults group, whether it be the left “defending” political correctness and pushing multicultural and socialist agendas, as well as attempting to strip us of our second ammendment rights OR be it the right trying to ram down our throats their version of “decency” and “morality” especially when it comes to language and sex, our liberty and freedoms, our INALIENABLE RIGHTS to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are ALWAYS under fire.
    Constantly having to defend and worry about these freedoms itself negates the concepts of liberty and especially the pursuit of happiness. If I spend all of my time and energy defending the mere concept and fretting about it’s imminent demise, what time is left to actually freely pursue happiness? When will we pass a law that cements these freedoms so we can move on and tackle new horizons instead of defending infinite and ad nauseum attacks on already established rights?

    Like

  2. Maybe why Sheriff Joe is backing away…
    good that he’s being careful but it proves the chilling effect
    of censorship on civil discourse.

    Like

  3. Amazing. This, from Sheriff’s Arpaio’s state.
    I hope Arizonians will challenge this bill, on the grounds of it being anti-Constitutional (1st Amendment free speech, free press rights) all the way up to the Supreme Court.

    Like

  4. kiss my ass Arizona and Brewer and everyone in Government for their stupid laws!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s